Preseason NAIA poll puts men at 24

Kansas City, Mo. (October 26, 2010) — After a record setting season with 26 wins and only 10 losses, which included a first ever Sooner Athletic Conference tournament championship and an appearance in the quarter final round of the NAIA National Tournament, the JBU men's basketball team is set to begin the 2010-2011 season ranked as the 24th best team in the country.

Azusa Pacific (Calif.) returns four starters from a national runner-up team and claims the No. 1 ranking in the 2010-11 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. The Cougars, who are fresh off a 28-10 season, take home the No. 1 ranking for the first time since the 2005-06 Preseason Top 25 (Oct. 26, 2005). No. 2 Southern Nazarene (Okla.), No. 3 Mountain State (W.Va.), No. 4 Robert Morris (Ill.) and No. 5 Concordia (Calif.) round out the top-five spots. Azusa Pacific, who advanced to its second title game in history last season, lost on a last-minute shot, 84-83 to Oklahoma Baptist. The Cougars captured 307 total points and six first-place votes in the poll. Azusa Pacific has been a mainstay in the national championship advancing to 18 postseasons, including 15 straight. Junior guard Marshall Johnson is the team’s leading returning scorer (13.0 ppg) and he connected on 48 percent of his shots.

Checking in with 302 total points and five first-place votes, No. 2 Southern Nazarene starts the season in the top-five. Senior guard Xavier Alexander averaged over 17 points per game last year and was named to the NAIA All-America First Team. The Crimson Storm finished with a 27-8 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the national championship. No. 3 Mountain State gathered 287 total points and has been ranked in the top five in the last 43 straight polls. The Cougars held the No. 1 spot in nine of the 11 polls last season. Mountain State went 27-3 last year and played in the second round of the 2010 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. Nick Aldridge, a First-Team All-American from last season, will have to be replaced. Senior guard Winston Robinson brings a 14.1 scoring average and 7-8 center Paul Sturgess should solidify the front-line. Coming off a 22-11 record, No. 4 Robert Morris again has high expectations. The Eagles hold its third straight preseason ranking in the top-five, including a No. 1 spot in the 2010 Preseason Top 25. Robert Morris tallied 270 total points this year, to go along with the remaining first-place vote. No. 5 Concordia (Calif.) checks in with 268 total points. The Eagles, who ended the 2009-10 season with a No. 1 billing, has now been ranked in the last 18 polls. With a 31-4 record a year ago, senior guard Justin Johnson is one of the solid contributors back for the Eagles. He earned 2009-2010 Golden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year awards and was mentioned on the All-America First Team. The Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) places the most teams in the Top 25: Southern Nazarene, No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 18 Oklahoma Christian and No. 24 John Brown (Ark.). The Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) boasts a trio of teams in the national ranking. The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The first regular season Top 25 poll will be announced on Dec. 6. 2010-11 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll – (Oct. 25)

1. Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) 2. Southern Nazarene University (Okla.) 3. Mountain State University (W.Va. 4. Robert Morris University (Ill.) 5. Concordia University (Calif.) 6. Oklahoma Baptist University 7. Southern Polytechnic State University(Ga.) 8. McKendree University (Ill.) 9. Georgetown College (Ky.) 10. Union University (Tenn.) 11. Texas Wesleyan University T12 Lee University (Tenn.) T12 Westminster College (Utah) 14. Lindenwood University (Mo.) 15. Louisiana State University-Shreveport 16. Biola University (Calif.) 17. Campbellsville University (Ky.) 18. Oklahoma Christian University 19. Park University (Mo.) 20. Xavier University (La.) 21. Life University (GA) 22. Evangel University (Mo.) 23. Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) 24. John Brown University (Ark.) 25. Montana State University-Northern

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