Hilltoppers Rise to No. 3 in National Top 25 - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Hilltoppers Rise to No. 3 in National Top 25

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The West Liberty University men's basketball team jumped up to No. 3 on Tuesday when the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) released its weekly NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.

Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers, who spent eight straight weeks at No. 1 before being knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in an upset loss to Notre Dame (OH), took advantage of losses by the remaining two unbeaten teams last week to move up from No. 5 to No. 3.
West Liberty reeled off three straight double-digit road wins last week to improve to 20-1. The Hilltoppers, who are coming off three straight 30-win seasons, have never failed to reach the 20-win mark in Crutchfield's 10 years at the helm. West Liberty had enjoyed just two 20-win seasons in the 75 years before Crutchfield took the reins in 2004-05.
Metro State, Colo. (20-1), which beat the Hilltoppers in last year's Elite Eight national semifinal, held onto the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive week with 15 of the 16 first-place votes. Defending national champion Drury, Mo. (20-1) picked up the other first-place vote and moved into the No. 2 spot just ahead of West Liberty. 
Tarleton State, Texas (19-1) and East Stroudsburg, Pa. (21-1) each took their first loss of the season last week and slipped to No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, sandwiching No. 5 Indianapolis (19-2). Indiana, Pa. (19-2), California Baptist (20-1), Montevallo, Ala. (18-2) and Florida Southern (20-2) round out this week's Top 10.
This week's poll includes games played through Sunday.
This is West Liberty's 37th consecutive Top 5 ranking which is the second-longest run in the Top 5 since NCAA Division II polls began during the 1960-61 season. The NCAA Division II record for consecutive Top 5 rankings is held by Grambling, which stayed in the Top 5 for 40 consecutive polls from March 2, 1961 to Jan. 28, 1965. The Hilltoppers' 63 consecutive Top 25 appearances is the longest active streak in the nation.
West Liberty (20-1, 16-1) has a 4-game lead over second-place Shepherd (16-6, 12-5) in the Mountain East Conference standings with five regular season games remaining. The Hilltoppers can clinch the MEC title on Thursday when they host the Rams in a 7:30 p.m. game at the ASRC.
MEN'S BASKETBALL
NCAA Division II Top 25
(Through games of Sunday, Feb. 9)
Team (FPV) Rec Pts Pvs
  1. Metro State, Colo. (15) 20-1 399 1
  2. Drury, Mo. (1) 20-1 379 4
  3. WEST LIBERTY 20-1 367 5
  4. Tarleton State, Texas 19-1 331 2
  5. Indianapolis, Ind. 19-2 330 8
  6. East Stroudsburg, Pa. 21-1 324 3
  7. Indiana, Pa. 19-2 298 9
  8. California Baptist 20-1 283 13
  9. Montevallo, Ala. 18-2 276 10
10. Florida Southern 20-2 239 6
11. Southern Connecticut State 20-2 218 16
12. USC-Aiken 20-3 208 17
13. Colorado School of Mines 18-3 194 11
14. Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. 18-2 192 7
15. Seattle Pacific, Wash. 20-4 170 19
16. Wisconsin-Parkside 19-3 148 20
17. Cal State-San Bernardino 17-3 146 12
18. Minnesota State 21-4 114 21
19. Lewis, Ill. 18-3 113 22
20. Lake Superior State, Mich. 22-3 99 25
21. Delta State, Miss. 19-3 98 14
22. Southern Indiana 17-4 68 15
23. Walsh, Ohio 17-3 45 NR
24. Western Washington 16-4 42 NR
25. Cal Poly Pomona 16-4 36 18
Others receiving votes: NW Missouri State 18, Central Missouri 15, Winona State (Minn.) 13, Findlay (Ohio) 9, Truman State (Mo.) 7, Dixie State(Utah) 6, Fort Hays State (Kan.) 4, Georgia Regents 4, Angelo State (Texas) 3, Chico State (Calif.) 3, Michigan Tech 2, Arkansas-Fort Smith 1, Dowling (N.Y.) 1, Franklin Pierce (N.H.) 1, St. Michael's (Vt.) 1..