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WLU Still At No. 1

Toppers at top for 25th week

January 8, 2014
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The unbeaten West Liberty men's basketball team held down the No. 1 spot for the fifth straight week Tuesday afternoon when the National Association of Basketball Coaches released its weekly NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.

This is WLU's 25th No. 1 national ranking in the last four seasons and the 32nd consecutive poll with the Hilltoppers in the Top 5, a streak which began Jan. 10, 2012.

The Black and Gold's 32 consecutive weeks in the Top 5 is the longest streak in nearly 50 years and is tied with Kentucky Wesleyan - Dec. 29, 1966 to Jan. 23, 1969 - for the third-longest run in NCAA Division II history.

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West Liberty's current streak of 58 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 is the longest active streak in the nation.

There was little change at the top of the poll as the first 10 spots remained unchanged from last week's rankings. This week's poll includes games played through Sunday.

Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (9-0) again received 14 of the 16 first-place votes for 396 points, easily outdistancing No. 2 Bellarmine, Ky. (10-0), which picked up the remaining two first-place votes and is solidly entrenched at No. 2 with 386 points.

Defending national champion Drury, Mo. (11-0), Florida Southern (13-0) and Metro State, Colo. (10-1) round out the top five followed by Indiana, Pa. (12-0), Dixie State, Utah (11-0), Southern Indiana (10-0), Tarleton State, Texas (11-0) and East Stroudsburg, Pa. (13-0).

Indiana and East Stroudsburg join West Liberty to give the Atlantic Region three teams in the national Top 10 for the second consecutive week.

West Liberty, which padded its national scoring lead with a 116-79 thrashing of UVA- Wise on Monday, is the only Mountain East Conference team receiving votes this week after Shepherd (9-2) was upset at Notre Dame, Ohio. on Saturday.

The Hilltoppers travel to Shepherdstown for a showdown with the Rams on Thursday night. Also on Thursday, No. 2 Bellarmine plays host to No. 3 Drury in a key Great Lakes Valley Conference tilt.

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