Colin McDonough, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State is atop the NABC/Division II pre-season for the second time in three years and in both cases, it comes after winning the previous year’s national championship. Northwest is the only school to hold the top ranking in the pre-season poll after winning a national title over the last eight years.
A total of 60 schools received votes in the pre-season poll and all 23 NCAA Division II conferences have at least one of its teams listed either among the top 25 or receiving votes.
The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and South Atlantic Conference have two teams apiece in the top 10 (Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Southern from the MIAA; Lincoln Memorial and Queens, N.C., from the SAC), while the expanded Lone Star Conference is the only conference with three in the top 25 (West Texas A&M, St. Edward’s and Tarleton State).
Six of the eight schools in last year’s Elite Eight are among the teams listed in the pre-season top 25. National finalist Point Loma was among those that received votes.
With Northwest Missouri State and Nova Southeastern holding the top two spots in the pre-season poll, it marks the 13th time since the 1996-97 season – the first year in which a pre-season poll was produced – that the top two ranked teams had played in the previous year’s Elite Eight. The last time was prior to the 2016-17 season with West Liberty and Lincoln Memorial.
A total of 14 schools that were in last year’s pre-season top 25 are also in this year’s. Bellarmine is listed in the pre-season rankings for the 11th straight season, while West Liberty is among that group for a 10th straight year. Meanwhile, Nova Southeastern, Ashland, St. Edward’s, Daemen and Concordia (Calif.) are in the pre-season rankings for the first time ever.
Six teams in the pre-season poll will be in action on the first day of competition on Friday, including No. 1 Northwest Missouri State against No. 22 Daemen and No. 6 West Texas A&M facing No. 7 Lincoln Memorial in the Hall of Fame Classic in St. Joseph, Mo.