Courier Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— After claiming two come-from-behind victories over Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opponents over the weekend, the Adams State University Men’s Basketball Program is continuing to make history as it has jumped five spots and is now ranked No. 13 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches/Division II rankings that were released on Tuesday afternoon.
The Grizzlies, who are now 10-1 overall and a perfect 9-0 in conference play, made their first ever appearance in the Top 25 last week when they were ranked No. 18.
The weekly poll is conducted by 16 members of the NABC, with each of the eight NCAA Division II regions having two representatives.
West Liberty retains the top position, but another shakeup in the rankings appears to be on the horizon after the one that took place this week. The Hilltoppers started off to a 13-0 start and leads the poll with 393 points, by receiving 13 of the 16 first place votes.
Unfortunately for the Metro State Roadrunners, who are ranked No. 2 in this week’s poll and received one first place vote, only games through Sunday night are factored into the rankings. The West Liberty Hilltoppers suffered a 101-96 loss at Charleston meaning they will not move down until next week.
If the game had been factored in, the Roadrunners would be ranked No. 1 to set up a clash for the RMAC crown on Friday night in Denver. The two teams have matching conference records and both hold a half-game lead on Fort Lewis College.
The Grizzlies will then take on the Regis University Rangers on Saturday night. Friday’s contest tips off at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s game will start at 5 p.m.
Setbacks by three other top 10 teams, including the third- and fourth-ranked teams a week ago, have created the first significant shuffling at the top end of the rankings for the first time this year.
The next four teams in the rankings are the four remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division II following Monday’s action, behind Metro State sits Western Washington, who moved up two spots to third, as did Great Lakes Valley Conference foes Kentucky Wesleyan and Indianapolis to fourth and fifth, respectively, heading into their showdown Thursday in Owensboro, Ky.
Seattle Pacific, Cal Poly Pomona and Minnesota State all moved up as well to occupy the next three spots, while Alabama-Huntsville dropped six places after its loss on Saturday. Washburn jumped three places to No. 10 and Winston-Salem State vaulted six spots to No. 11 to begin the second ten. Bellarmine checks in at No. 12, followed by Adams State, Newman and Southern Indiana.
Indiana (Pa.) is ranked 16th this week, with Fort Lewis, Lincoln Memorial, Barton and Florida Southern. Saint Leo, who bumped off Florida Southern a week ago, is right behind the Moccasins at No. 21 and is one of three Sunshine State Conference schools among the last six in this week’s Top 25 as Rollins is at No. 24 this week. The last four teams in this week’s poll are Franklin Pierce, Assumption, Rollins and Dominican (N.Y.), making its first-ever appearance in the rankings as an NCAA Division II institution.
In addition to that good news, Grizzly senior John Jackson was also named as this week’s RMAC/Baden Offensive Player of the Week.
Jackson posted a then career-high 26 points in helping the Grizzlies come back from a 20-point second-half deficit Friday night against the Western New Mexico Mustangs before setting a new career-high 32 points in a 92-77 win over the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys.
Jackson is currently averaging 11.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He is currently shooting 45 percent from the field and his 88.2 percent mark from the free-throw line is second only to teammate Justin Kauffman in the conference. Kauffman is currently shooting 92.3 percent from the line.