INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 19-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team checked in at No. 4 on Wednesday when the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Ranking Committee released its first and only set of regional rankings prior to the final announcement of the NCAA post-season field.
Coach Ben Howlett’s Mountain East Conference North Division champion Hilltoppers (13-3) are one of four Mountain East Conference teams listed among the region’s top eight as conference tournament play gets under way.
Hillsdale, Mich. (19-1), regular season champion in the G-MAC, holds down the No. 1 spot with MEC South Division champion Charleston (13-2) next in line at No 2. Findlay (17-4), the G-MAC runnerup, edged out West Liberty for the No. 3 spot with unbeaten Mercyhurst (11-0) at No. 5 and Fairmont State (12-4) at No. 6. Glenville State (8-3) and Kentucky Wesleyan (9-5) complete the list.
The teams are vying for one of the six spots in this month’s Atlantic Region Tournament. Automatic bids will be awarded to the champions from this week’s MEC and G-MAC Tournaments with the top four remaining teams rounding out the regional field.
The Atlantic Region committee will submit its final set of rankings to the national committee this weekend at the conclusion of conference tournament play. Final rankings for all eight regions and the entire 2021 NCAA Division II Tournament field will be revealed Sunday at 10:30 p.m. via a live webcast at NCAA.com.
West Liberty was pre-selected to serve as host for the 2021 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament, which will be held March 13-16 at the ASRC. The 2021 NCAA Division II Elite Eight and Final Four will be played March 24-27 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.
The Hilltoppers open their MEC Tournament title defense on Friday when they take on Concord in a 2 p.m. quarterfinal at WesBanco Arena.
NCAA Division II Regional Rankings
(Through games of Sunday, Feb. 28)
In-Region Div. II
Team Record Record
1. Hillsdale 19-1 19-1
2. Charleston 13-2 13-2
3. Findlay 17-4 17-4
4. WEST LIBERTY 13-3 13-3
5. Mercyhurst 11-0 9-0
6. Fairmont State 12-4 12-4
7. Glenville State 8-3 8-3
8. Kentucky Wesleyan 9-5 9-5