KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tennessee Wesleyan is the 17th-ranked team in the 2012-13 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the national office.
The Bulldogs (24-10 overall, 14-2 Appalachian Athletic Conference in 2011-12) won both the AAC regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. Tennessee Wesleyan 145 total voting points, coming in five back of No. 16 Embry-Riddle (Fla.).
Fellow AAC member Reinhardt (Ga.) also received five voting points.
By the slimmest of margins, Northwood (Fla.) earns the No. 1 ranking in the 2012 - 13 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the national office. Northwood holds the distinction by one vote (332-331) over second-ranked and defending national champion Oregon Tech. The Seahawks, who finished 34-4 last year with the final defeat coming in the national title game, gathered five first-place votes. Oregon Tech came away with six first-place nods after winning its third national championship a year ago.
Capturing the remaining two first-place votes, No. 3 Dordt (Iowa) tallied 327 total points. The Defenders made it to the round-of-eight in last year's national championship. No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan (21-12) and No. 5 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) both made the tournament last year. The Wildcats fell in the first round, while Cardinal Stritch lost in the quarterfinals.
There are eight newcomers when compared to the last poll released on March 19, 2012 (Postseason Top 25): No. 9 Eastern Oregon, No. 14 Saint Xavier (Ill.), No. 16 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), Tennessee Wesleyan, No. 19 William Penn (Iowa), No. 21 Spring Arbor (Mich.), No. 23 Southern Oregon and No. 24 Valley City State (N.D.).
Southern Oregon snaps the longest drought amongst the newcomers. The Raiders are listed for the first time since Feb. 22, 2006 when it was No. 13. For the first time since 2010, William Penn is mentioned in the Top 25. Saint Xavier is in its first season at the NAIA Division II level after it was previously a member of NAIA Division I. The Cougars were last ranked in Division I polls on Jan. 16, 2012.
Eastern Oregon, Embry-Riddle, Tennessee Wesleyan, Spring Arbor and Valley City State were all ranked at some point during the 2011 - 12 campaign.
2012 Fab Four participants, No. 11 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 18 McPherson (Kan.), fall out of the Top 10 after losing several starters from last year's squads.
The Cascade Collegiate Conference sends the most teams in the Top 25 with four: Oregon Tech, Eastern Oregon, No. 15 Warner Pacific (Ore.) and Southern Oregon. Three other conferences boast a trio of schools in the poll. Overall, all 14 conferences and independents are represented this week.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents.
The first regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be announced on Nov. 27, 2012.
To see the entire poll, click here.