ANKENY, Iowa—The Faith Eagles returned to the rankings in the final poll of the season on Tuesday as they prepare for the NCCAA Regional Tournament in Ellendale, North Dakota, later this week. The Eagles finished as the No. 9 team in the final NCCAA Division II men's basketball rankings.
Faith finished the regular season with a record of 15-11 overall; 7-4 in conference play. The Eagles rank in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense and are just outside the top ten (11th) in scoring offense.
As a reward for their strong finish and their conference tournament title last weekend in Joplin, Missouri, the Eagles earned the number one seed in the north regional bracket. The number one seed enjoys a first-round bye, so Faith will take on the winner of No. 4 seed Providence and No. 5 seed Maranatha on Friday, February 28, at 4:00 p.m.
The Providence Pilots are 9-12 overall. The Eagles fell to the Pilots earlier this season in Ankeny, 91-84. Providence has been up and down all season and has lost four of its last six games.
The Maranatha Sabercats are 8-12 overall. The Eagles fell to the Sabercats earlier this season on their home court, 65-64. After a rough early portion of their season, Maranatha has won six of its last nine games.
On the lower half of the bracket, the Calvary Warriors (12-11) are the No. 2 seed. Calvary faces No. 7 seed Oak Hills (0-21), while No. 3 seed Central Christian (13-15) faces No. 6 seed Trinity (10-20).
The Eagles are 1-1 against Calvary this season, losing to the Warriors in Ankeny by five, before avenging that loss with the one-point thriller in the conference championship game. They are also 1-1 against Central Christian, winning in Ankeny by three, and losing on Central's home court by 17.
Faith crushed both Oak Hills and Trinity this season by the scores of 93-55, and 107-70, respectively.
If the Eagles win on Friday, they would play Saturday at 5:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the round of eight at the National Championships in Joplin, Missouri--the same court the Eagles won the conference title on last weekend.