(KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.) – After earning the Cascade Conference top spot, Oregon Tech ranks No. 2 in the 2012 -- 13 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, by the slimmest of margins, Northwood (Fla.) earns the No. 1 ranking 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.), No. 17 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.
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.
Oregon Tech has spent 22-straight polls ranked in the top 10, dating back to Jan. 10, 2011 and OIT is listed with the longest active streak in the Top 25 Poll at 89-straight weeks - the last time the Hustlin' Owls were not ranked was on Jan. 11, 2005.
Oregon Tech will kick off the 2012-2013 season Friday, November 2, at 7:30 pm on Danny Miles Court against the University of California-Merced. Season tickets are available right now at www.OITsports.com.
Click here to view this weeks Poll