MACU head men's basketball coach Josh Gamblin. Photo courtesy MACU Sports Info.

From MACU Sports
Levi Convirs, Sports Information Director

KANSAS CITY – The defending NAIA National Champion Mid-America Christian University Evangels will begin the year in the same spot they ended last season, as the Evangels are ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Top 25 Preseason Coaches’ Poll for the first time in school history, the organization released last night (Oct. 25).

“We’re humbled and honored to be picked first in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 poll,” MACU head coach Josh Gamblin said.

“But we know it’s only a preseason ranking and has no relevance to this season. We still have to come out every night and play the game the right way, knowing everyone will take their best shot at us.”

The Evangels secured the top spot with six first-place votes, followed by second-ranked Georgetown (Ky.), who got one first-place nod.

No. 3-ranked William Penn (Iowa) received two-first place votes, while No. 4-ranked Biola (Calif.) garnered one first-place tally.

LSU-Alexandria came in at fifth to round out the top five.

Overall, the Sooner Athletic Conference features three teams in the preseason top 25.

In addition to the Evangels’ top ranking, Oklahoma City University is ranked No. 18 and Texas Wesleyan checked in tied for No. 20.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University and USAO also received votes.

During their championship journey last season, the Evangels defeated four teams currently ranked in the preseason top 25 poll.

MACU knocked off No. 2 Georgetown in the title game, No. 4 Biola in the second round, No. 11 Campbellsville (Ky) in the semifinals and started their run by defeating No. 16 Park University in the opening round.

The Evangels are off and running this season, posting a convincing 109-85 victory over Manhattan Christian last night.

Next up, the Evangels will host Philander Smith Friday night (Oct. 28) at 7 p.m. It will be a special night, as the team will receive their NAIA National Championship rings at 6:30 pm, followed by the official unveiling of the NAIA National Championship banner.