PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville Bears will begin the 2012-13 season ranked ninth in the nation among NAIA Div. I teams.
Coach Kelly Wells’ group got the news about the time the school tipped off Halloween Hoopla, the annual beginning of basketball season, at the UPIKE Gym.
The Bears are coming off a 17-12 season that saw them begin ranked No. 1 in the nation after winning the 2011-12 national championship.
Late last week it was revealed the Bears were picked to finish second in the 11-team Mid-South Conference. Georgetown, which was tabbed as the league favorite, is third in the national preseason ratings. The Tigers got five first-place votes in the league, one more than the Bears.
Lindsey Wilson and Cumberlands, which split the other two top-line nods in the conference, were ranked 11th and 25th in the country, giving the Mid-South a national-best four teams in the ratings. The Golden State Athletic Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference each land a triplet of ranked schools.
Campbellsville University, with nine ratings points, was among those receiving votes, giving the MSC a fifth team garnering recognition. Also on that list is Life (Ga.), which the Bears will visit on Nov. 7 and host Dec. 15.
Concordia, Calif., became the fifth different preseason No. 1 in as many years when it got nine first-place votes. It out-pointed second-ranked Oklahoma Baptist by eight ratings points. Following Georgetown in the Top Five are Robert Morris (Ill.) and Rogers State (Okla.).
Southern Poly (Ga.) heads the second five, followed by Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), and Westmont. Columbia (Mo.) followed Pikeville and rounded out the Top 10.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference and unaffiliated groups. The first regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Dec. 4.
Pikeville will open the 2012-13 season on Saturday when it visits St. Andrews (N.C.) University. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.