December 7, 2009

Despite first loss, Bears move up spot in Mid-Major poll

Mid-Major Top 25 poll (Dec. 7)

GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado men's basketball suffered its first loss of the season last Friday, but that didn't drop the Bears (8-1, 1-1 Big Sky Conference) from the Mid-Major Top 25.

They even moved up in the weekly poll of the country's mid-major coaches, coming in this week at No. 22, after breaking in at No. 25 two weeks ago and moving to No. 23 last week.

Butler, with 18 first-place nods and 754 points overall, has claimed the top spot this week, with Gonzaga, Northern Iowa, Illinois State and Cornell filling out the top five.

Northern Colorado improved to 7-0 last week with a victory against Colorado State on Tuesday, Dec. 1, that kept the Bears perfect after seven games for the first time since 1974.

The Bears then stubbed their toe Friday night in Bozeman, falling to Montana State in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.

Northern Colorado righted the ship, and probably maintained its "ranked" status, with a convincing 59-48 victory Saturday night at Montana. It was the the Bears' first victory in Missoula since joining the Big Sky Conference in 2006 and first overall there since 1977.

The Grizzlies, receiving eight votes, are the only other Big Sky team mentioned in this week's Mid-Major poll release.

The Bears are off this week for Northern Colorado's final exams but will pick things up again on Saturday, Dec. 12, with a game against Wyoming at 3:30 p.m. (MT) in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Shootout of Wyoming inside the Casper Events Center.

The Bears can earn their first win against the Cowboys since the 1936-37 season and can move to 3-0 against the Mountain West this season after already defeating Air Force and Colorado State earlier. Northern Colorado will also play MWC team Texas Christian.

The poll of mid-major coaches is now in its eleventh season and is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt and West Coast.