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Bears ranked fifth; face No. 1 Cumberlands on Thursday

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Despite winning all four games since the last poll and running its win streak to eight, the University of Pikeville fell one spot to No. 5 in this week’s ratings.

The Bears, 15-1, did so despite gaining four total points in this week’s 2012 - 13 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. They have 254 ratings points, having carried 250 in the Dec. 10 poll.

On Thursday night, the Bears will play the newly-minted No. 1 team in the country when the University of the Cumberlands comes to the East Kentucky Expo Center. The Patriots are also 15-1 on the season, but are 6-0 in the Mid-South Conference. Pikeville’s lone loss came to MSC member Campbellsville on Nov. 15.

Cumberlands snagged seven of the 11 first-place votes and 276 ratings points, 11 more than second-place Columbia (Mo.), which took the four remaining top nods thanks to a 16-0 worksheet to this point in the season. The Cougars were sixth in the latest poll.

For Cumberlands, the poll marks its first appearance in the top spot since a one-week stint on Dec. 8, 2008, and the NAIA reports it to be only the second time the school has ever been No. 1.

The nation’s only other unbeaten team also made a big leap, as Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) rose eight places to No. 3 thanks to an 18-0 record. Previous No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist, 14-2, is No.4 this week, only four total points in front of the Bears.

Only one other Mid-South school picked up votes this week. Lindsey Wilson is 15-2 on the season and ranked 14th this week, down six places after last Thursday night’s loss at Shawnee State.

Georgetown, 11-4 overall but only 2-4 in the league, had appeared in 78 straight polls before falling out on Dec. 4. This week, the Tigers didn’t get a single vote.

The second five in the poll is actually comprised of seven teams: William Carey (Miss.), Lee (Tenn.), Westmont (Calif.) and Science & Arts (Okla.) check in before a three-way tie for 10th between Montana State-Northern, Cal State-San Marcos and Texas College.

Evangel (Mo.) is in front of Lindsey Wilson.

From this point through the end of the season, the polls will be released each Tuesday.

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