The first Division II Atlantic Region basketball top 10 rankings were released Wednesday, with the West Liberty men and the Glenville State women out of the Mountain East conference rated first. While perennial power West Liberty (23-2 overall, 20-2 region) held the No. 1 position despite a 93-81 loss to No. 8 Fairmont State on Feb. 15, the Glenville State women (23-3, 22-3) were upset Thursday 77-74 by Wheeling Jesuit.
East Stroudsburg (23-1, 22-1) of the PSAC East was ranked second in the men’s poll, while Gannon (24-2, 22-2) of the PSAC West and defending Atlantic Regional winner was No. 2 in the women’s ratings and could move to No. 1 if the Lady Knights, ranked in the top 5 all season in the Division II coaches poll, beat Pitt-Johnstown in their regular season finale Saturday.
Here are the top 10 ratings in the first of 3 regional rankings. The second, the final for the regular season, will be released Wednesday.
1.West Liberty (ME) 22-2, 20-2 region; 2.East Stroudsburg (PSAC-E) 23-1, 22-1; 3.Indiana (PSAC-W) 21-3, 21-3; 4.Charleston (ME) 15-7, 15-7; 5.Shepherd (ME) 18-7, 18-7; 6.Gannon (PSAC-W) 17-8, 17-8; 7.Glenville State (ME), 16-8, 16-8; 8.Fairmont State (ME) 17-8, 16-8; 9.Livingstone (CIAA) 18-6, 18-6; 10.Mercyhurst (PSAC W) 14-10, 14-10.
1.Glenville State (ME) 23-3, 22-3; 2.Gannon (PSAC W) 24-2, 22-2; 3.Edinboro (PSAC-w) 19-5, 19-5; 4.Bloomsburg (PSAC-E) 21-3, 21-3; 5.Virginia State (CIAA) 23-1, 18-1; 6.Fairmont State (ME) 15-8, 15-8; 7.California (PSAC W) 17-7, 17-7; 8.Urbana (ME) 16-8, 16-8; 9.Fayetteville St. (CIAA) 17-5, 16-5; 10.West Liberty (ME) 18-6, 17-5)
The Mountain East men boast five teams in the top 10. No. 5 Shepherd has wins at No. 6 Gannon and vs. No. 10 Mercyhurst in early-season tournaments. West Liberty’s other defeat was at home to Notre Dame College. East Stroudsburg’s only loss was to Lock Haven, which was a PSAC West doormat but vastly improved and will be in the playoffs in its first season moving to the PSAC East. Gannon swept No. 3 Indiana Pa. and has won 11-of-12 to gain the top 10 as several teams have between 7 and 9 losses. Livingstone is the lone team from the CIAA, but might need to win the conference tournament to gain a spot in the 8-team Atlantic Regional.
Gannon won at Glenville State and at No. 4 Bloomsburg early in the season, but likely was rated second because of 2 losses to No. 3 Edinboro in the past 8 games. Edinboro has lost 5 games, including an 84-71 setback to Bloomsburg, the defending PSAC tournament champions who have won 14 straight since losing to Gannon 65-63. The Scots easily beat No. 8 Urbana this season. Virginia State has the best record in the region, but the CIAA lacks depth. Shaw (N.C), 17-8, the 2010-11 and 2011-12 Atlantic Region title winners who copped the D-II crown the latter season, should move up after recently beating No. 9 Fayetteville State. California, Pa., the Atlantic Region 2012-13 runner-up to host Gannon, is 17-3 after an 0-4 start and has been smashing opponents in the past 10 games, including an 80-55 win at Edinboro.
– Bob Jarzomski