KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Stillman College men’s basketball enters the NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll this week at No. 23, the national office announced Wednesday.
Stillman (8-1, 7-1 SSAC West) is the third among Southern States Athletic Conference teams behind No. 7 Faulkner University and No. 12 Loyola University (La.). Faulkner (16-1, 7-0) leads the SSAC East by three games. Stillman leads Loyola (10-2, 5-2) in the SSAC West standings by 1.5 games.
“We’re happy to be back in the Top 25. Anytime you can get recognized it is good for the team,” said John Teasley, Stillman head coach. “It’s been one of the craziest years. We’ve been fortunate to stay healthy so far, with us sitting out in the fall. We knew we had to do a lot of work in a little bit of time. The guys are playing well together. The season is still early though, and we still have a lot of work to do.”
Due to COVID-19 precautions, Stillman did not practice until Dec. 28 and opened the 2020-21 season Jan. 5 with a road win at Rust College. The Tigers went on to sweep William Carey University and record a road win at the University of Mobile and a road sweep of Blue Mountain College before splitting at then-No. 5 Loyola in New Orleans, Jan. 22-23. Stillman moved to 8-1, 7-1 in the SSAC West on Jan. 26 with a home victory over Mobile. The Tigers will be off this weekend, Jan. 29-30, and will return to action Feb. 2 at Mobile.
Indiana Wesleyan (21-1) leads the national rankings with 14 first-place votes. LSU Shreveport is second with seven first-place votes. William Penn and Lewis-Clark State hold their spots at No. 3 and No. 4, while No. 5 Arizona Christian and No. 6 Shawnee State University each climbed one spot in the last two weeks. Following No. 7 Faulkner is No. 8 Science & Arts (Okla.), No. 9 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 10 Providence (Mont.), who each jumped multiple spots.
Stillman is one of three HBCUs in the Top 25. Talladega sits at No. 14 and Dillard is No. 24.
This is Stillman’s first national ranking since being ranked No. 17 on Dec. 11, 2019. The Tigers were ranked in the Top 20 for 10-straight polls from Dec. 4, 2018 until Dec. 11, 2019. The Tigers closed the 2019-2020 season receiving votes in the poll to earn an at-large bid to the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship prior to its cancelation. While it did not receive a vote in the 2020-2021 preseason, Stillman had three points in the Jan. 13, 2021 rankings.
Statistically, Stillman ranks Top 20 in five categories: assist/turnover ratio (2nd, 1.59), 3-point defense (11th, .277), offensive rebounds per game (13th, 14.0), assists per game (15th, 17.667) and 3-point field goal percentage (19th, .390).
The next NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 poll is scheduled for Feb. 10 with the final regular season poll scheduled Feb. 24.