Hilltoppers Strengthen Hold on No. 1 Spot

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After roaring out of the blocks with five straight double-digit wins, the West Liberty University men’s basketball team strengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot in the nation on Tuesday when the National Association of Basketball Coaches released its initial NCAA Division II Top 25 rankings of the regular season.

Coach Jim Crutchfield’s high-octane Hilltoppers (5-0), who were ranked No. 1 in the Preseason Top 25 after making it to last season’s national championship game, received 12 of the 16 first-place votes and 392 points to build a comfortable margin in this week’s voting.

Southern Connecticut State (5-0) was No. 2 with 375 points with perennial power Metro State, Colo. (4-0) picking up three first-place votes and 372 points at No. 3. Drury, Mo. (2-0) and Bellarmine, Ky. (3-0) complete the top five, followed by Florida Southern (2-0), Indiana, Pa. (4-0), Tarleton State, Texas (3-0), Colorado-Colorado Springs (4-0) and defending national champion Central Missouri (4-0).

The Hilltoppers are averaging more than 104 points per game and have outscored their first five opponents by an average of more than 30 points a game, including Monday night’s 113-73 romp at West Virginia State.

The Black and Gold have now been ranked No. 1 in the NABC Top 25 at some point in each of the past five years. Its current run of five consecutive conference championships and four straight regional titles has made the Hilltoppers a familiar presence in the poll.

West Liberty has appeared in every Top 25 poll since Feb. 2, 2010 and has been ranked in the Top 10 since Dec. 13, 2011. Those two streaks – 67 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 and 45 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 – are the longest active streaks in the nation. They’re also the fourth-longest streaks since the first poll was taken during the 1960-61 season.

The Hilltoppers are idle this weekend but return to action on Dec. 4 when they host Notre Dame (Ohio) in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at the ASRC.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

AFCA NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll

(November 25, 2014)

Team (FPV) Rec Pts Pvs

  1. WEST LIBERTY (12) 4-0 392 1

  2. Southern Connecticut State 5-0 375 2

  3. Metropolitan State, Colo. (3) 4-0 372 3

  4. Drury, Mo. 2-0 336 7

  5. Bellarmine, Ky. 3-0 330 10

  6. Florida Southern 2-0 322 9

  7. Indiana, Pa. 4-0 268 15

  8. Tarleton State, Texas 3-0 266 12

  9. Colo.-Colorado Springs 4-0 232 18

10. Central Missouri 4-0 206 NR

11. California Baptist (1) 4-0 192 24

12. Chico State, Calif. 2-0 182 19

13. Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. 4-0 176 23

14. Minnesota State 3-1 151 7

15. East Stroudsburg, Pa. 3-1 148 4

16. Cal Poly-Pomona 2-1 141 8

17. Dixie State, Utah 1-0 110 25

18. Christian Brothers, Tenn. 2-0 99 NR

19. Augustana, S.D. 5-0 95 NR

20. GRU-Augusta 3-0 89 NR

21. Delta State, Miss. 2-1 83 13

22. Findlay, Ohio 1-1 76 16

23. Angelo State, Texas 4-0 57 NR

24. Barry, Fla. 2-0 53 NR

25. Alabama-Huntsville 5-0 50 NR

Others receiving votes: Lewis (Ill.) 47, Western Washington 43, Michigan Tech 31, Indianapolis (Ind.) 29, Minnesota State-Moorhead 27, BYU-Hawaii 22, Newberry (S.C.) 20, UC San Diego 18, Mount Olive (N.C.) 14, Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 14, Stonehill (Mass.) 14, Fort Lewis (Colo.) 12, Colorado School of Mines 11, Northern State (S.D.) 11, Saint Anselm (N.H.) 11, Cal State-Stanislaus 10, Midwestern State (Texas) 10, Florida Tech 8, Grand Valley State (Mich.) 8, Chaminade (Hawaii) 6, South Carolina-Aiken 5, NW Missouri State 4, UNC-Pembroke 3, Seattle Pacific (Wash.) 2, Wisconsin-Parkside 2, Columbus State (Ga.) 3, Fort Hays State (Kan.) 1, LeMoyne (N.Y.) 1, Tuskegee (Ala.) 1, Walsh (Ohio) 1.

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