Even though they missed a bid to the NCAA D-III National Tournament, the Runnin Royals can still see the fruits of their great year. The Eastern Mennonite men, 22-5 after a season-ending loss in the ODAC Semifinals, came in at No. 15 this week in the D3hoops.com national poll. A final poll will be released following the close of the national tourney in three weeks.
The Royals slid four spots this week after Randolph-Macon beat them 90-79 in the conference semifinals. The Yellow Jackets went on to win the ODAC Championship and moved up to No. 6 in the national poll. Despite also losing in the semifinals, Virginia Wesleyan held at No. 10. The Marlins and R-MC received the only two national bids from the ODAC.
Orie Pancionce helped the EMU men to a 22-5 record and the No. 15 ranking at the completion of the regular season.
Although the D3hoops.com poll has no official bearing on the selection of at-large teams, EMU is the highest ranked team to miss the National Tournament. The NCAA relies on factors such as in-region record, strength of schedule, etc., whereas the poll is a nationwide vote of coaches, sports information directors and media members.
Whitworth regained the poll’s top spot after Williams (now No. 4) lost to Middlebury (now No. 2). 2010 national champ UW-Stevens Point moved up to No. 3 with Wooster rounding out the top five.
R-MC is followed by Augustana, St. Thomas and Amherst.
The Runnin Royals finish the 2010-11 campaign with their second-best record ever at 22-5. The men went 25-5 last year. Eastern Mennonite also finished 12-4 and in third place in the always tough Old Dominion Athletic Conference.