There was virtually no change in this week’s set of NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Men’s Basketball rankings and that was good news for West Liberty, which appears to have the inside track on hosting its fifth regional tournament in the past six years later this month.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s high-flying Hilltoppers (25-2) closed out the regular season on an 11-game winning streak to lock up their sixth conference title in style and cement their hold on the top rung of the regional ladder.
The top eight spots remained unchanged in this week’s regional ranking but every other team in the region has at least three more losses than West Liberty’s four-time defending regional champs.
Indiana, Pa. (22-5) stayed at No. 2 followed by Gannon, Mercyhurst, Bowie State, Fairmont State and Slippery Rock with Concord once again checking in at No. 8.
Glenville State moved up a spot to No. 9 while Charleston moved into the rankings at No. 10. Wheeling Jesuit, which had been No. 10 last week, is not listed in this week’s rankings.
These rankings do not include games played after so Slippery Rock’s PSAC Tournament loss to Gannon is not reflected.
The rankings are used to select the at-large teams to fill out the 8-team Atlantic Region Tournament field once the automatic bids to the PSAC and CIAA Tournament champions have been decided. As a second-year league, the MEC Tournament champion does not receive an automatic bid but MEC teams are eligible for at-large consideration.
Unranked Livingstone (19-9) knocked off No. 5 Bowie State in the CIAA Tournament semifinals and powered past unranked Winston-Salem State in the championship game to earn the CIAA’s automatic bid, effectively taking one of the potential at-large berths out of play.
The committee will compile its final set of rankings this weekend at the conclusion of the conference tournaments. The NCAA Division II regional tournament fields will be announced late night with the highest-seeded team in each region serving as regional hosts.
West Liberty begins its quest for an MEC Tournament championship night in Charleston when the Hilltoppers take on Shepherd in an MEC quarterfinal at
NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Rankings
(Through games of Sunday, March 1)
Div. II In-Region
Team Record Record
1 WEST LIBERTY 25-2 25-2
2 Indiana (PA) 24-5 24-5
3 Gannon 20-8 20-8
4 Mercyhurst 20-7 20-7
5 Bowie State 22-8 21-7
6 Fairmont State 19-9 19-9
7 Slippery Rock 18-9 18-9
8 Concord 20-8 20-7
9 Charleston 17-9 17-9
10 Glenville State 18-10 18-10