Tennessee Wesleyan jumped four spots in the ninth edition of the 2012-13 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll to crack the top 20, the national office announced on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (20-7 overall, 13-1 Appalachian Athletic Conference) collected 132 total voting points to land at No. 19.
William Penn (Iowa) captures its first-ever No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Coaches' Poll. After former No. 1 Eastern Oregon dropped a 83-82 decision to unranked College of Idaho Feb. 8, that opened the door for the Statesmen to move up one spot. With all 13 first-place votes, William Penn posted 343 total points.
On Feb. 27, the NAIA is providing a free live selection show with graphics to reveal the 32-team bracket for the 22nd Annual NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The men's bracket will be announced immediately after the women's at approximately 7:15 p.m. CST.
William Penn becomes the 36th different team all-time to hold the top spot in the Coaches' Poll. Behind 12-straight wins, the Statesmen are tied with the most victories in the NAIA (26-1). They stand No. 1 in nine different statistical team categories, including 3-pointers made per game (11.5), scoring offense (97.1) and scoring margin (+24.7). William Penn wraps up the Midwest Collegiate Conference regular season with a pair of road games at Viterbo (Wis.) Wednesday and Grand View (Iowa) Saturday.
Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) inches back towards the top spot with 324 points this week. Ranked No. 2, the Wolves were on top of the poll for two weeks earlier this season. At 26-3 overall and 22-1 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, they earned the regular-season conference championship.
Eastern Oregon falls back to No. 3 with 323 points. The Mountaineers had their 12-game win streak snapped with the loss to unranked College of Idaho. On Friday, Eastern Oregon will battle No. 12 Warner Pacific (Ore.) for the Cascade Collegiate Conference regular-season title.
No. 4 Northwood (Fla.) and No. 5 Northwestern (Iowa) hold their spots with 357 and 342 points, respectively.
With a five-spot improvement, No. 16 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and No. 17 Madonna (Mich.) make the best jump this week. Conversely, No. 22 St. Thomas (Fla.) falls 10 positions.
No. 23 Bellevue (Neb.) has won 13 of its last 14 contests to break into the Top 25 this week. The second-place Bruins have two remaining contests in Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference play against Waldorf (Iowa) Tuesday and No. 15 and first-place York (Neb.) Saturday. The last ranking for the Bruins was Dec. 11, 2012 (No. 19).
With two losses in its last four games, Grace (Ind.) (No. 25) drops out of the rankings this week. The Lancers had held the fourth longest active stretch of 34-straight weeks of being in the Top 25.
With four Top 25 teams, The Sun Conference boasts the most of any conference or independent. The Cascade Collegiate Conference, Crossroads League and Great Plains Athletic Conference each place a triplet of teams on the list. Overall, 12 of the 13 conferences and independents are represented this week in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The 10th regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be announced on Feb. 19.
To view the entire poll, click here.