The West Liberty University men’s basketball team was ranked No. 10 in this week’s NCAA Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, tying the all-time NCAA Division II record for consecutive Top 25 appearances.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (18-2) have carved out a spot for themselves in every Top 25 poll since Feb. 2, 2010. The 76 consecutive appearances ties the record set by Grambling nearly a half-century ago (Jan. 5, 1961 to March 9, 1967) and tied by Salem International (Jan. 21, 1997 to March 11, 2003). Current West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey coached those Salem teams.
In addition to tying the consecutive Top 25 record, West Liberty extended its streak of consecutive Top 10 rankings to 54 weeks, dating back to Dec. 13, 2011. That’s the third-longest Top 10 streak in NCAA Division II annals, trailing only Kentucky Wesleyan (70 weeks) and Grambling (76 weeks).
Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. (20-0) moved up to No. 1 in this week’s poll, conducted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The Railsplitters are the nation’s lone remaining unbeaten team and also boast the second-longest active streak of consecutive Top 25 appearances at 68 weeks.
Last week’s No. 1-ranked team, Indianapolis (17-2), suffered back-to-back losses and dropped all the way to No. 9. As a result, Florida Southern (19-1) advanced to No. 2 with Barry, Fla. (17-1) at No. 3. Augustana, S.D. (21-1) and Bellarmine, Ky. (18-2) round out the top five followed by Minnesota State-Moorhead (24-1), Angelo State, Texas (19-1), Colorado-Colorado Springs (19-2), Indianapolis and the Hilltoppers.
West Liberty and No. 18 Indiana, Pa. (18-3) are the only two Atlantic Region teams receiving votes in this week’s poll, which included games played through Sunday, Feb. 1.
The Black and Gold, fresh off Monday night’s 119-82 rout of West Virginia State, host a fast-rising Concord team on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the ASRC.