October 21, 2004
'Cats Sit No. 12 in Division II Bulletin Preseason Polls
MARYVILLE, Mo. -- The Northwest Missouri State University men's basketball team was recognized in the Division II Bulletin Pre- Season Rankings with a No. 12 spot, announced yesterday by the national publication. The Bearcats are fresh off a 29-5 NCAA Division II Elite 8 Appearance last season - their fifth straight trip to the NCAA playoffs. Northwest ended the 2003-04 regular season polls with a No. 15 ranking.
In 2003-04, Northwest won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Tournament for the second time in three years and tied for second-place in league play with a 14-4 log. The Bearcats caught fire in non-conference action and carried that over into the start of MIAA play. They opened up the year on a 13-game win streak, defeating the likes of Eastern New Mexico (Nov. 22), who was the No. 6 seed in the NCAA South Central Regionals, Central Washington (Dec. 19) and Central Oklahoma (Dec. 20). During that hot streak, the .Cats held a 15.2 average margin of victory, having just four games decided by 10 points or less.
With the 13-0 start, Northwest received its first ever No. 1 national ranking, Jan. 13, 2004. But the 'Cats were dealt their first loss of the year the next day against Washburn - the only setback of the season at home.
This year, the Bearcats lose All-America selection Kelvin Parker due to graduation, but retain four starters for a club that has won at least 20 games in a school record five consecutive seasons. Head coach Steve Tappmeyer. Tappmeyer returns for his 17th season as he holds the most wins in school history with a 307-157 (.662) overall mark at Northwest.
"It is a compliment that we are respected nationally," said Tappmeyer. "I think it is an indication of the tradition here and what we done in the past."
Overall, Northwest has been mentioned 72 times in the national polls with 35 top-10 selections. Currently, the 'Cats have held a slot on the national list for the last 11 straight weeks. The 'Cats join No. 5 Washburn as the only MIAA teams in the preseason top 25.
Northwest opens 2004-05 play with an exhibition contest at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Nov. 10 at 7:00 p.m. The first home matches are set for Nov. 16 and Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m. with the 29th annual Ryland Milner Classic to follow Nov. 19-20.
Division II Bulletin Pre-Season National Poll
1. Southern Indiana
4. Virginia Union
7. Michigan Tech
8. Kennesaw State
11. Valdosta State
12. Northwest Missouri State
13. Kentucky Wesleyan
15. Clayton College & St.
16. Northern State
17. Metropolitan State
18. Florida Southern
19. Tarleton State
20. Brigham Young-Hawaii
21. Florida Gulf Coast
22. Cal Poly-Pomona
23. Bowie State
24. Indiana (Pa.)
25. LIU-C.W. Post
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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