Bears Earn Acclaim in Final CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25
MACON, Ga. – After capping an unprecedented 27-win season with the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Championship, the Mercer men's basketball team was featured in the outlet's final Mid-Major Top 25 Rankings.
Mercer debuted in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 in the 23rd position of the outlet's final rankings, released on Wednesday evening. Previously, Mercer's largest vote collection in the poll had come on January 30, when the Bears earned 24 nods and were slotted among teams receiving votes.
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"Being mentioned alongside the teams in the poll is a tremendous accomplishment for our team and university," Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman. "These teams have accomplished a great deal consistently, and that's where we want our program to be. We are taking steps in that direction and are thankful for where we are."
The Bears first appeared in the poll on December 12, 2011 and fluctuated position among teams receiving votes for the majority of the season.
The Mid-Major Poll 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, West Coast.
Entering next season, the Bears are among three Division I teams to have won five or more consecutive games. Mercer's five-game run for the CIT title ties Stanford for the second-longest win streak in the nation, trailing only Kentucky. The Wildcats won their last six games en route to the 2012 NCAA National Championship, while the Cardinal won five games to claim the 2012 Men's NIT Championship.
Mercer, Stanford and Kentucky all have won six of their last seven games. Mercer's last loss was to Florida Gulf Coast in the A-Sun semifinals, Stanford lost to California in the Pac-12 quarterfinals and Kentucky lost to Vanderbilt in the SEC final.
Mercer loses only one senior from the 2011-12 team that rewrote the record books, notching multiple conference and program records. As a team, the Bears set program standards in wins (27), points scored (2,589) and blocks (180). Sophomore Daniel Coursey finished as the school's single-season block leader, with 88 rejections to his credit in 2011-12.
The team also finished among the program's single-season leaders in three-point field goals made (2nd – 264), three-point field goals attempted (2nd – 730), three-point field goal percentage (7th – 36.2%), free throw percentage (T-2nd, 71.9%), assists (2nd – 519) and steals (3rd – 259).
Bears with program top-10 season totals include Coursey, Gollon, Smith, Hall, and senior Justin Cecil. Coursey's 62 percent field goal percentage ranks secondall-time. Gollon's free throw accuracy (82.9%) ranks fifth.
Cecil's 82 three pointers made and 226 threes attempted both rank fourth all-time, while Hall's 69 triples made is fifth. Hall also cracked the top-10 in assists (4th – 160). Smith hit 82.1 percent of his free throws, ranking him eighth on the single-season charts.
Mercer's CIT final victory was Hoffman's 75th in four years with the Bears, equaling a program-best win total over a four-year period. The Bears also had 75 wins from 1949-53 and 1950-54.