PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville men’s basketball team hasn’t lost in nearly seven weeks, but Cal State San Marcos hasn’t either, keeping the Bears at No. 2 for the fifth straight week in the NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 Poll, released on Tuesday by national office officials.
Cal State San Marcos is in the No. 1 spot for sixth straight week after winning 19 straight games. UPIKE has won 13 straight and finished a perfect 19-0 at home to make the schools a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the rankings.
It’s been a season to remember for the Bears: winning their first Mid-South Conference Regular-Season Championship since 2001, tallying the most MSC regular-season wins (17) in league history, winning the conference title by a record margin (six games), posting the most regular-season wins (27) in program history and having leading-scorer Bruce Reed be named MSC Player of the Week a record three straight times.
But now all of those accolades are behind it as UPIKE looks ahead to the postseason where it plays No. 8-seed Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday in the first round of the MSC Tournament in Lebanon, Tenn.
The Bears have already locked up a bid to the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City, Mo., but would like to play towards the highest seed possible with a winning performance in Lebanon.
Georgetown (Ky.) is the only other MSC team ranked in the poll at No. 16, while Cumberlands (Ky.) and St. Catharine (Ky.) are both listed among teams receiving votes.
Similar to the long wait for another regular-season title, Pikeville has not tallied a conference tournament championship since the 2002-03 season, beating Georgetown 70-58 on its home floor.