Oskaloosa–The Statesmen men’s basketball team earned a much-deserved bulls-eye as the Division I Preseason Top-25 Poll was released Tuesday.
A year after going 29-7 (17-5 Heart) and reaching the national quarterfinals in its inaugural Division I campaign, William Penn is #3 with 228 points. The Statesmen are only behind last year’s national championship participants Mid-America Christian (Okla.) and Georgetown (Ky.). It is the highest preseason ranking for the program (previous high was #7 to start 2013-2014) and the highest ranking since being #2 in the 12-13 postseason poll.
Defending national champion M-ACU is first with 247 points and six first-place votes, while GC is second with one first-place nod. Biola (Calif.) (two first-place votes) and LSU Alexandria round out the top five.
Fellow Heart of America Athletic Conference program MidAmerica Nazarene joins WPU in the top 10 at #8, while Central Methodist is also ranked at #23. Benedictine (#33) and Peru State (T-#34) are receiving votes as well.
WPU begins the season next Thursday in Oskaloosa by hosting Central Christian (Mo.) at 7 p.m.
NAIA Men’s Basketball Preseason Rating – October 25, 2016
(Number in parentheses in first-place votes)
1. Mid-America Christian (Okla.) (6)
2. Georgetown (Ky.) (1)
3. William Penn (2)
4. Biola (Calif.) (1)
5. LSU Alexandria
6. Columbia (Mo.)
7. Talladega (Ala.)
8. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)
9. Carroll (Mont.)
10. William Carey (Miss.)
11. Campbellsville (Ky.)
12. Westmont (Calif.)
12. Dillard (La.)
14. Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)
15. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
16. Park (Mo.)
17. Hope International (Calif.)
18. Oklahoma City
19. Pikeville (Ky.)
20. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
20. Texas Wesleyan
22. Faulkner (Ala.)
23. Central Methodist (Mo.)
24. LSU Shreveport
25. Xavier (La.)
Others receiving votes: SAGU (Texas) 38; Montana Western 36; Langston (Okla.) 29; William Woods (Mo.) 27; William Jessup (Calif.) 25; Cumberlands (Ky.) 22; Arizona Christian 12; Benedictine (Kan.) 8; Voorhees (S.C.) 6; Peru State (Neb.) 6; Science & Arts (Okla.) 5; Dalton State (Ga.) 3.
Story provided by Wade Steinalge