West Liberty extends NCAA Record in Top 10

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Despite splitting a pair of road games on its annual southern swing through the Mountain East Conference, the West Liberty University men’s basketball team extended its lengthy stay in the Top 10 on Tuesday when the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) released this week’s NCAA Division II Top 25.

Losses by four of the top 10 teams in last week’s poll resulted in a major reshuffling at the top of the charts but when the votes were tallied, Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (22-2) had settled comfortably into the No. 7 spot among the nation’s NCAA Division II basketball elite.

After seeing its 14-game winning streak go by the boards in Thursday’s wild 107-104 shootout loss to a Concord squad that shot better than 60 percent from the floor, West Liberty rebounded with an 88-66 throttling of UVa-Wise on Saturday afternoon to keep its record run of Top 10 poll appearances intact.

This week’s No. 7 ranking marks the 88th consecutive Top 10 ranking for the WLU men’s program, by far the longest run of Top 10 success in the 50-plus year history of NCAA Division II men’s basketball polls. It’s also the 109th consecutive week the Hilltoppers have appeared in the Top 25, dating all the way back to the 2010 season.

The Hilltoppers, who have won or shared seven straight conference championships, are now tied with Fairmont State for the top spot in the MEC. They also extended a pair of impressive poll streaks with their 87th straight Top 10 ranking and 108th consecutive Top 25 appearance.

Northwest Missouri State (23-0) remained unbeaten and once again collected all 16 first-place votes as the unanimous No. 1 pick. Fairmont State (23-1) moved up to No. 2 followed by Indiana, Pa. (23-2) and Bellarmine, Ky. (22-3) with California Baptist (22-2) rounding out the top five. Kutztown, Pa. (20-2) squeezed past WLU for the No. 6 spot with Hawaii Pacific (22-2), Tarleton State, Texas (22-3) and Queens, N.C. (22-2) completing the Top 10.

Wheeling Jesuit (19-5) stayed in the Top 25 at No. 23 despite an upset loss at UVa-Wise on Thursday night.

Coach Crutchfield and his West Liberty squad wrap up the home portion of their regular season schedule with a pair of games this week. West Virginia Wesleyan comes to the ASRC on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. game while Glenville State will provide the opposition for Senior Day with a 4 p.m. tipoff on Saturday.
MEN’S BASKETBALL
National Association of Basketball Coaches | NCAA Division II Top 25
(Feb. 14, 2017)
Team (FPV) Rec Pts Pvs
1. NW Missouri State (16) 23-0 400 1
2. FAIRMONT STATE 23-1 374 5
3. Indiana, Pa. 23-2 370 4
4. Bellarmine, Ky. 22-3 341 7
5. California Baptist 22-2 334 8
6. Kutztown, Pa. 20-2 315 9
7. WEST LIBERTY 22-2 301 2
8. Hawai’i Pacific 22-2 285 3
9. Tarleton State, Texas 22-3 273 11
10. Queens, N.C. 22-2 248 6
11. Fort Lewis, Colo. 22-3 244 12
12. Shippensburg, Pa. 21-2 226 13
13. Kentucky Wesleyan 22-2 217 14
14. Southern Indiana 23-2 195 15
15. Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. 20-4 158 16
16. Arkansas-Monticello 19-2 142 17
17. San Francisco State, Calif. 20-3 132 21
18. Barry, Fla. 19-4 118 10
19. Alabama-Huntsville 19-5 100 22
20. Western Washington 19-5 84 23
21. MSU-Moorhead 22-4 78 24
22. Colorado School of Mines 20-4 70 25
23. WHEELING JESUIT 19-5 37 18
24. Ferris State, Mich. 21-4 33 20
25. Valdosta State, Ga. 20-4 28 NR

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