Loyola (LA) 13-0
They Wolfpack will be the new #1 team in the NAIA in the Coaches Poll this week and rightfully so. While they have actually played in some much tighter contests as of late, they feature two of of the best players in the country in Zach Wrightsil and Myles Burns and the rest of the team are ultra talented as well. They play hard, they play together and they don’t take possessions off. If you don’t match their energy you’re in for a long, long night! They have earned their shot at #1!
Talladega (AL) 12-0
One of the best defensive teams in the NAIA. Dega has looked like a well oiled machine on that end of the floor and while they go through some offensive lapses, this is a team that has the star power to take over games late on the offensive end if needed. Right now though, Dega hasn’t needed much of that as they have been blowing teams out. The fact that the current best two teams in the NAIA reign from the same league should get you excited that these two will square off at least twice this season! Games that feature plenty of defense, plenty of talent and two teams who absolutely leave it all on the court!
Carroll (MT) 12-0
Carroll is another one of those teams that quitely goes about their business. They do have a couple fun ones coming up though as they head down to Arizona for the Cactus Classic this weekend! A week that will have them matched up against Arizona Christian in a Top 15 showdown that should have plenty of fireworks. Carroll has had a couple of close games here as of late, but Jovan Sjlinvancanin and Shamrock Campbell have put this Carroll squad right back into the list of serious National Title contenders. They don’t ever get caught playing other teams style of play. The Fighting Saints just go about their business, doing what they do best and they are pretty damn good at it!
SAGU (TX) 8-1
The Lions were are preseason #1 ranked team and while a loss to Paul Quinn (who is STILL undefeated) lowered them a bit, the play of Joshua Kashilla and Nykolas Mason has SAGU back inside the Top 5. While the NAIA has a lot of dynamic duos, very few are playing as well as Kashilla and Mason have been as of late! This is a fun group, who is finally getting back to the form we saw them end the season with last year!
Oklahoma Wesleyan 15-0
Defense wins and that is what OKWU has done this season. They have played some great defense and it has led them to a perfect 15-0 record. The most wins by anyone in the NAIA right now. They sit 4th in defensive points allowed on the season and are 5th in FG% defense holding opponents to just 36% from the field. They have a balanced offensive attack, led by 6’7 Freshman Jaden Lietzke. They are off until January, where they will open back up with KCAC, action on the road, vs. Ottawa.
William Penn (IA) 12-1
The Statesmen haven’t played with the same roster this entire season. They certainly aren’t the only team to have guys miss games, but between being sick and injuries it’s been hard to track who is playing and who isn’t for WPU. They went shorthanded to CMU this past week and suffered their first defeat, then got guys back but played without 2x All-American Kamari Newman this past weekend in a Heart road win at Graceland. They should also return Ahmed Pender, an all-league Sr. guard, back from injury for first time this season, sometime next semester. Maybe we will finally see a WPU team that is full strength sometime this season?
Grace (IN) 12-0
Frankie Davidson leads the country in scoring at 24.9ppg. The Sophomore Sensation has been basically un guardable this season. He is a mismatch nightmare for teams and the quite assassin lets his game speak loudly! Grace have also returned Cade Gibbs back from injury while twin brother, Jakob should be back soon. This is a young, talented Lancer squad that people should get to know, because they will be contenders for the next few years. They head to Florida this week for a couple games, including a matchup with a tough Southeastern team who just knocked off fellow CL team, Saint Francis!
Arizona Christian 11-2
Life in the GSAC has not been easy for anyone thus far. ACU’s two losses are at Hope International and then by two, to Westmont. With most of the rest of the country losing games the past two weeks, we don’t slide ACU down too far. They do have a big game this week though as they will face off with a Carroll team in what should be a big time Top 10 matchup. Carrol ended the Firestorm’s season last year. All-American Sr. PG, Angelo Johnson, has been electric as he leads a balanced ACU attack. Big week ahead at the Cactus Classic for ACU!
Lewis-Clark St (ID) 10-1
Led by one of the best coaches in the NAIA, in Austin Johnson, Lewis-Clark St finds themselves back inside the Top 10 as they have started off the season at 9-1 after losing nearly everyone, off of a National Runner-Up team from last season. The reigning NABC NAIA Coach of the Year is once again pushing all of the right buttons for the Warriors. Their schedule takes a big boost up this weekend as they hit the road in CCC play to take on Eastern Oregon and College of Idaho. It will be a tough weekend for Kevin Baker and crew! We will get to learn a lot about LCSU this weekend!
Thomas More (KY) 9-1
The Saints are moving to NCAA D2 here soon, but they aren’t leaving the NAIA without making some noise. Since TMU lost to Marian they have won 9 straight contests. They face Cumberlands at home and then travel to Pikeville this weekend in what will be a big time MSC game! All-American, Ryan Batte, has been superb again this season. Leading the Saints in PPG with 20.5ppg, good enough to put him in the Top 30 scorers in the NAIA.
Xavier (LA) 7-1
We have been ultra aggressive with XULA this season, but with a dynamic duo that consists of one of the best players in the NAIA in Rayshawn Mart and fellow All-American, Makye Richard this is a Xavier team that has fire power on offense. We already know that a Alfred Williams coached team is going to guard and they do! XULA is 2nd in the NAIA in both defensive points allowed (54.1ppg) and FG% defense, holding teams to just 32.3% from the field. They head out to Hawaii for a couple NCAA D2 games, but this is a tough XULA team that people should be taken note of!
William Jessup (CA) 12-1
While everyone in the GSAC seems to be beating on one another, William Jessup has managed to navigate through mostly unscathed. They dropped one in the Pit, at Vanguard earlier this season, but have won 8 straight games since. They head off to Daytona Beach this week and will face off wit what should be two Top 25 teams. They will open up against Indiana Wesleyan and then face off with Concordia (NE). The Daytona Beach Shootout is going to be a fun one!
Indiana Wesleyan 11-2
A team that seemed to be rolling two weeks back with wins over Marian and Saint Francis, then went on the road and lost by 19 to Rochester and escaped with a road win at Roosevelt. Maybe it was Finals Week lag, maybe not. Either way this is a IWU team that is still very good. The Wildcats, as mentioned above, will head to Daytona Beach this weekend. They face a good William Jessup team and then get a rematch with Rochester on a neutral floor! All-American big man Seth Maxwell and stud newcomer Dan Largey continue to lead this potent Wildcat offense!
Stillman (AL) 8-1
The Stilman guard trio of Trey Petty, Devin Merriweather and Ledarius Carter have struggled to put up the numbers they did last season. They got completely shut down by Talladega for their only loss this season. However, they have found ways to win despite the poor shooting, so if they can get it corrected this Stillman team could still be a dangerous one late in the season.
Jamestown (ND) 12-2
It has been a bit ugly for the Jimmies as of late. BUT, ugly wins still count as wins and Jamestown still has one of the best players in the NAIA in Mason Walters. It hasn’t been the Jimmie Offense that has struggled though. It’s been on the defensive end where they have had issues. They have been better over the past two games allowing just 61ppg.When the Jimmies defense is getting stops they are REALLY tough to beat. They are just 2-2 when giving up 75+pts in a game. Both of the wins have been by less than 9pts. The Jimmies have two more games before the break, both at home, and both winnable games. They will look to get some momentum before facing a crazy GPAC schedule right out of the gates in January!
Pikeville (KY) 9-1
The Bears had a couple games get cancelled this past week, but were able to fill one with a scheduled win type of game. They have kind of quietly just gone about their business this season. Their only blemish was a MSC road loss, by just 1pt, to a very tough UT Southern squad. This week will be a real test to see just how good UPike is as they hit the road to play defending NAIA National Champs, Shawnee State and then return home this weekend to play a Top 15 Thomas More team!
Science & Arts (OK) 8-3
The home loss this past weekend to Texarkana drops the Drovers down a bit. They don’t have any bad losses, but with 3 total losses it most likely drops them out of the Top 15 this week. The Drovers though, have played a good schedule and have looked like one of the teams to beat in the SAC this season! If they can continue to get good scoring production behind Hines and Hall, this Drover team will be a tough out come tourney time!
Georgetown (KY) 9-2
Have heard a lot of people starting to question this Tiger team feel like that is a mistake. Georgetown is extremely talented, but like many, have struggled at times this season. Chris Briggs though is one of, if not the, best coach in the NAIA and you expect him to get things figured out with this group. This is also a team in which you may find some new guys on the roster next semester. Either way, they are too talented to overlook!
Marian (IN) 9-2
Momentum headed into the polls is always something that can help or hurt a team. Marian lost two games, by double figures, right before the last polls, but this is still a tough Marian team that has strung together five straight wins. Christian Stewart and Malek Edmonds have led the Knights thus far, while Jacob Wiley is starting to pl
Central Methodist (MO) 11-2
This isn’t a very deep team, so their loss to an underrated Bluefield team on a back to back weekend isn’t surprising. The Eagles starters play a lot of minutes. They are a team, via NAIA rules, will surely add a piece or two at the break to bring in and add some depth to a very talented roster. This past week the Eagles knocked off RV Park, #3 William Penn and RV Missouri Valley. With several new pieces and the loss of their big man to season ending injury, the Eagles are playing great defense and starting to click as one unit!
College of Idaho 8-3
A 15pt road CCC loss to Oregon Tech can happen! Road league games are never easy. Their only other two losses are to a NCAA D2 rival and #3 Carroll. This Yote team has been really good defensively, but are still figuring some things out. This is a team that will only get better and better as the season pushes forward!
LSU Alexandria 8-1
The Generals are doing what they do and winning games. This may feel a little low for a 1-loss team, but of their 8 wins, just 3 of them are to NAIA teams and 1 is to a NAIA provisional team. They did play #1 Loyola, but lost that one by 19. For us, we just need to see more from LSUA before moving them up further!
Concordia (NE) 11-2
The Bulldogs only two losses on the season have come in Sioux City, Iowa to both Briar Cliff and Morningside. The Morningside loss was a in a 2pt thriller in which they lost a the buzzer. There are several teams in this 20-37 range that deserve spots, but we feel like Concordia
Hope International (CA) 11-3
The Westcliff loss was a REALLY bad one. However, this HIU team’s only other two losses are to Jamestown and William Jessup. The Jessup loss was a road double OT GSAC loss. HIU also has wins over Arizona Christian, @ The Master’s, OUAZ, @ Menlo and @ Westmont. They are tied for first in the GSAC and while they aren’t always crisp against bad teams, they have some GREAT wins! For us, the wins carry the weight here and give them the nudge inside the Top 25. They are now off until December 29th, but are a team, with the wins they already have, that could wind up winning a very tough GSAC!
Southeastern (FL) 9-2
This is a BIG week for the Fire with four tough games. The good news is they get to play all of them in the Furnace. They are coming off a win vs #1 St Francis (IN) though and have knocked off both Ave Maria and Warner who all sit atop The Sun Conf standings. The Fire have two games between now and when the Coaches Poll gets released on Friday, so a lot can still happen, but for us, the Fire deserve the spot! Riley Minix is one of the best players in the NAIA, he is a mismatch nightmare for teams, but the Fire can also really shoot the 3 as well. They did lose to WVU Tech, who is another great two-loss team, but for now we roll with the Fire!
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