KANSAS CITY, Mo. - West Liberty University, one of the highest-scoring teams in NCAA Division II and a participant in the last two Elite Eights, has been tabbed as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in the National Association of Basketball Coaches pre-season rankings for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
The Hilltoppers, who have won the last three West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, received 12 of the 16 first place votes in the pre-season poll to take the top spot. Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association pre-season favorite Washburn was picked second, followed by Alabama-Huntsville, who like West Liberty has appeared in the last two Elite Eights and is the pre-season favorite in the Gulf South Conference.
The last two national champions occupy two of the next four spots, with Bellarmine picked in the fourth spot and last year's champion, Western Washington, picked sixth. In between the two is Metropolitan State, who was picked to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title this season after reaching the Elite Eight a year ago.
The other three participants in last year's Elite Eight - Montevallo, Stonehill and Midwestern State - are also ranked in the top 25 at the start of the year, with national finalist Montevallo checking in at No. 11, Stonehill, who eliminated West Liberty in the quarterfinals, at No. 22 and Midwestern State at No. 23.
The remainder of the top 10 after Western Washington consists of Winona State, Findlay, Seattle Pacific and Franklin Pierce, all of whom were picked to win their conferences or in Findlay's case, division title in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The 2012-13 basketball season begins across the country on Friday, Nov. 9.
NABC/Division II Coaches Poll (Nov. 2, 2012 - Pre-Season poll)
Team Record Points Pvs
1.West Liberty, W.Va. 32-3 394 3
2.Washburn, Kan. 25-8 365 19
3.Alabama-Huntsville 29-4 341 2
4.Bellarmine, Ky. 29-4 334 4
5.Metropolitan State, Colo. 25-7 303 13
6.Western Washington 31-5 278 12
7.Winona State, Minn. 25-5 271 NR
8.Findlay, Ohio 24-7 244 25
9.Seattle Pacific, Wash. 23-8 231 NR
10.Franklin Pierce, N.H. 22-8 209 NR
11.Montevallo, Ala. 29-8 190 22
12.Southern Indiana 24-7 170 6
13.Colorado School of Mines 29-3 154 1
14.Saint Leo, Fla. 18-12 150 NR
15.Winston-Salem State, N.C. 21-9 140 NR
16.Christian Brothers, Tenn. 25-7 129 8
17.Tarleton State, Texas 27-6 123 9
18.Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. 26-6 117 24
19.Arkansas Tech 26-6 110 15
20.Chico State, Calif. 25-8 98 NR
21.Bloomfield, N.J. 26-8 93 NR
22.Stonehill, Mass. 25-9 79 NR
23.Midwestern State, Texas 27-6 73 NR
24.Barton, N.C. 20-10 68 NR
25.Cal Poly Pomon 19-8 58 NR
WSSU Sports Information Dept.