(Kansas City, Mo.) The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team received votes in yesterday’s NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll, as announced by the national office on Tuesday evening.
Riding a season-high seven game winning streak, the 21-8 Wolf Pack earned 10 votes in the final national poll of the regular season. The 2016-17 campaign has been one of the best by a Loyola men’s team in recent memory as the squad earned its highest ranking (No. 22) of the modern era (since 2000) earlier this season and the team’s current win total (21) is the most by a Wolf Pack men’s hoops team in over 70 years.
Ending the season with a 14-6 mark in conference play. Loyola enters the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Championship as the fourth seed. The Wolf Pack will face off against No. 5-seeded Faulkner University in the quarterfinal round of the tournament tomorrow, March 2, with tip-off from the Multiplex at the Cramton Bowl set for 9:45 p.m. Loyola split the season series against the Eagles this year, with each side claiming victory on its home court. These two program’s met in the semifinals of last year’s SSAC Championship and Faulkner knocked out the Wolf Pack 74-69 to advance to the championship game.
Loyola currently sits at No. 10 nationally in field goal percentage defense (.407) while ranking 16th in total steals (239) and 17th in the NAIA in both scoring defense per game (70.276) and steals per game (8.241). Individually, Johnny Griffin Jr. (SR/Chicago, IL.) sits third in the country with 3.7 offensive rebounds per game and 291 total boards. His 10.03 total rebounds per game are fifth most in the country he is at No. 14 in both field goal percentage (0.537) and total steals (56).
Taking a look at the Top 25 poll, the undefeated LSU Alexandria (29-0) claimed the top spot for the fifth-straight edition after earning 250 total points. William Penn (27-3, 242) took second, while Dalton State (24-4, 288), Carroll (25-5, 224), and Hope International (24-6, 212) rounded out the top five.