KANSAS CITY Mo. — For the first time this season, the University of Rio Grande finds itself in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
The RedStorm received 77 points in the poll and are 23rd in the latest rankings released Tuesday.
Rio Grande is currently 13-4 overall and 3-0 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following an 86-79 triumph over Indiana University-Kokomo Tuesday afternoon – the club’s eighth straight victory.
The poll was the result of the balloting of a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions
The RedStorm, who return to action on Saturday at Carlow University, had been among the teams receiving votes in the previous poll.
For the third consecutive time, Indiana Wesleyan was the top-ranked team in the poll, receiving 11 of the 12 first-place votes and 312 points. The top billing is the 18th all-time No. 1 ranking for the Wildcats (15-1).
St. Francis (Ill.) (13-1) garnered the remaining first place nod and remains No. 2 after receiving 299 total points.
No. 3 Marian (Ind.) (15-1) (288 pts.), No. 4 Union (Ky.) (13-3) (283 pts.) and No. 5 Davenport (Mich.) (13-3) (266 pts.) round out the top five.
In addition to Rio Grande, four new teams join the Top 25 – No. 18 Hastings (Neb.) (11-4), No. 19 Northwest Christian (Ore.) (11-4), No. 20 Indiana Tech (12-4) and No. 24 Warner Pacific (Ore.) (9-5).
Saint Francis (Ind.) (13-3) jumped up nine spots from No. 17 to No. 8, which highlighted the positive movement. No. 14 Keiser (Fla.) (14-1) moved up eight spots, while No. 6 Briar Cliff (Iowa) (15-2) jumped six spots.
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (7-5) had the biggest drop in the Top 25, as it fell nine positions from No. 8 to No. 17. Bellevue (Neb.) (12-7) plunged eight spots to No. 21.
Two KIAC teams – WVU Tech (No. 19) and Indiana East (No. 25) – were among the five teams who dropped out of the Top 25. The others were College of Idaho (No. 18), Rochester (Mich.) (No. 21) and Cal Maritime (No. 23).
Eleven of the 12 conferences/Association of Independent Institutions are represented in the Top 25. The Crossroads League and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference lead all leagues with four teams represented.