Rio men receive votes in latest NAIA poll

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

KANSAS CITY Mo. – One week after disappearing from the list of schools who received consideration for the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the University of Rio Grande was back among the schools receiving votes in the second regular season poll released late Tuesday.

The RedStorm received three points in the balloting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions, tying Indiana Tech for the equivalent of 39th place.

Head coach Ken French’s club will take a 7-4 record and a two-game winning streak into Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Wilberforce University as part of the Newt Oliver Coaches Classic. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Newt Oliver Arena.

For the second straight week, Indiana Wesleyan was the top-ranked team in the poll, receiving all 12 first-place votes and 312 points. The top billing was IWU’s 17th all-time No. 1 ranking.

St. Francis (Ill.) (8-0) is No. 2 after receiving 295 total points. The Fighting Saints’ No. 2 ranking is the highest in school history.

No. 3 Davenport (Mich.) (11-2) (283 points), No. 4 Marian (Ind.) (11-0) (278 points) No. 5 Cornerstone (Mich.) (9-2) (276 points) round out the top five.

Four new teams joined the Top 25 this week – No. 19 Valley City State (N.D.), No. 22 Keiser (Fla.), No. 24 Aquinas (Mich.) and No. 25 Indiana East. Marian and No. 15 Tabor (Mich.) (10-2) moved up six positions each, which highlighted the positive movement.

Cornerstone had the biggest fall as it dropped three positions.

Oregon Tech, Southeastern (Fla.), Waldorf (Iowa) and Hastings (Neb.) were the four teams who dropped out of the Top 25.

All 12 conferences are represented in the Top 25 poll. The Crossroads League leads all leagues with four teams represented. The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference both have three teams represented.

In addition to Indiana-East and Rio Grande, the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is also represented by No. 19 West Virginia University-Tech.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing