KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With 10 first-place votes, Oregon Tech moves up to the No. 1 ranking in the ninth edition of the 2011 – 12 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced Monday by the national office. The Hustlin’ Owls have been back-and-forth with Northwood (Fla.) for the top spot since the Dec. 12 installment. This time, Oregon Tech tallied 371 points and boasted its second top ranking of the 2011 – 12 campaign. Winners in 11 of their last 12 games, the Hustlin’ Owls need one more victory to gain their fourth-straight Cascade Collegiate Conference regular-season title.
Second-ranked Northwood fell one position after dropping a 76-62 decision to then-No. 25 Warner (Fla.) on Feb. 11. That loss snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Seahawks, who have been No. 1 or 2 in all 10 polls this season. Northwood captured three first-place votes and 358 total points.
No. 3 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 4 Dordt (Iowa) both locked down their spots from last week after securing their respective regular-season conference championships. With a 72-48 victory over Madonna (Mich.) on Feb. 8, Davenport snatched the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference title. Dordt won the Great Plains Athletic Conference crown with an 85-68 win against Concordia (Neb.) on Feb. 11. The Defenders grabbed the remaining first-place vote in the poll this week.
Four other Cascade Conference teams remain in the national ranking with Northwest University slipping from No. 8 to the No. 10 spot, Warner Pacific stayed at No. 12 and Southern Oregon University and Eastern Oregon University each received votes.
Oregon Tech has hit the No. 1 ranking now twice this year with the other time coming on Jan. 23; Northwood (Fla.) has owned the No. 1 spot on six occasions… No. 14 Indiana Wesleyan was the third team this year on top of the polls (Nov. 28 & Dec. 5)… There are 12 teams to be ranked in all 10 polls this year (including preseason)… The top-five teams boast the most wins at 25… There have been 45 different teams to be ranked at least once this season… No. 7 Grace (Ind.) has been in the top 10 in all 10 polls this year – before this season, the Lancers had not reached the top 10 since the 1992-93 season… No. 10 Northwest (Wash.) was the last undefeated team to lose this year, with that setback coming on Jan. 6, 2012 after the Eagles started 14-0… Oregon Tech has spent 18-straight polls ranked in the top 10, dating back to Jan. 10, 2011… Embry-Riddle (Fla.) owns the most No. 1 rankings since 2000 with 17; Oregon Tech is next with 14, followed by Oklahoma Wesleyan and former NAIA member Walsh (Ohio) at 12 mentions each; Northwood is right behind with eight listings… Oregon Tech is listed with the longest active streak in the Top 25 at 85-straight weeks – the last time the Hustlin’ Owls were not ranked was on Jan. 11, 2005.