By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
NAIA Game of the Week – No. 4
No. 1 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (20-3, 12-0 CCAC) at No. 4 Saint Xavier (21-2, 11-1 CCAC)
Saturday, Feb. 1 | 3 p.m. CST | Shannon Center | Chicago, Ill.
• In a rematch of the 2013 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship, top-ranked Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (20-3) visits No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (21-2). The teams are ranked Nos. 1-2 in the league standings and both are on a hot streak.
• Saint Xavier's 17-game win streak is the longest in Division II, with its most recent triumph coming on Wednesday against Holy Cross (Ind.) (57-50). That mark ties a Cougar school record set during the 1988-89 and 2012-13 seasons.
• After Wednesday's 96-70 win against Indiana South Bend, the Wolves bring a nine-game streak into Saturday's contest. Cardinal Stritch is 13-1 in its last 14 games overall with the only loss a 96-83 setback on Dec. 27 against then-No. 8 Cal State San Marcos from the NAIA Division I ranks.
• Both teams advanced to the 2013 NAIA National Championship tournament, with Cardinal Stritch winning its first-ever trophy in school history. Saint Xavier dropped out in the Second Round.
• In the first meeting this season, Cardinal Stritch took a 82-74 contest in Milwaukee, Wis. Tony Smit netted a career-high 26 points. Saint Xavier's Brad Karp finished with a game-high 30 points and 10 boards. The different was shooting as the Wolves connected on 51 percent of their shots, while Saint Xavier ended with a 31 percent shooting mark.
• Since the 2010-11 season when the teams have played each other at least once that year, Cardinal Stritch holds a 4-2 edge. In the last five meetings, the games have been decided by just over seven points.
• The Cougars are a perfect 13-0 at home this year, with three victories over Top 25 teams. They have won by an average of 21.6 points per game. Ironically, the last loss came against Cardinal Stritch on Nov. 20, 2012, 86-81. The Cougars have won 27-straight home contests at the Shannon Center.
• In true road contests this year, Cardinal Stritch is 10-3.
• The Wolves have played an impressive four-game stretch leading up to Saturday. They have won by at least 13 points in each those contests with an average of 27.5 points. Cardinal Stritch ranks in the top 15 in the NAIA in field goal percentage defense (12th - .412) and scoring defense (15th - 69.5).
• Senior guard Derek Semenas, who is the older brother of Tyler, is eighth in the NAIA in scoring (24.2 ppg). He has hit at least 10 points in all 22 of his games this year. He also ranks first among regulars at Cardinal Stritch in field goal percentage (.506) and 3-pointer's made (51).
• Saint Xavier is 16-0 this year when limiting opponents to under 80 points and is 17-0 when it scores over 80 points. As a team, they rank fourth in the NAIA in scoring offense (91.1). Also, the Cougars are 21-0 when shooting over 40.0 percent.
• Senior guard Brad Karp enters Saturday's game as Saint Xavier's all-time leading scorer with 2,611 points, a record he broke on the road against Indiana-South Bend on Jan. 11. The mark had stood since the 1977-78 season. Karp also enters the game needing 40 rebounds for 1,000 in his career and would become just the second player at SXU to score over 2,000 points and grab over 1,000 rebounds.
• There are just six games remaining on the regular-season docket for both clubs. A Saint Xavier win would pull the Cougars in a first-place tie with Cardinal Stritch. A Wolves victory would give them a three-game lead (they hold the tie-breaker) as the season winds down.
Note – A special thanks to the Sports Information Departments at Cardinal Stritch and Saint Xavier for providing portions of the information above.
Additional Notes from Around NAIA Division II Men's Basketball
(Through games played on Jan. 30, 2014)
• Oregon Tech head coach Danny Miles has a shot to become the second-ever coach in any level of men's college basketball to hit 1,000 wins. He currently has 999 victories heading into the Hustlin' Owls road contest Friday at Northwest Christian (Ore).. For more information, click here.
• Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) head coach Ralph Hodge is nearing 700 career wins -- he sits at 699 heading into the game against Purdue Calumet (Ind.) on Saturday. He currently holds the third-most victories among active Division II coaches, behind coach Lightfoot and Miles.
• Vasha Davis established an Indiana East men's basketball school record with 27-consecutive made free throws this month. Davis' streak stretched from his last two free throws at Asbury (Ky.) on Jan. 15 through his first four free throws at Saint Louis Pharmacy (Mo.) on Jan. 26. Davis has made 78 percent of his free throws for the season. He also ranks in the top 50 in the NAIA with an overall field goal percentage of .535.
• After the win on Jan. 28 against Taylor (Ind.), coach Mike Lightfoot of Bethel (Ind.) reached 700 career wins and hit that milestone in the third-fastest manner in NAIA annals (in 960 games). He also becomes the second active Division II head coach to reach the 700-win threshold.
• On Jan. 25, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) coach Steve Ridder hit career win No. 600. In the 59-58 victory over Warner (Fla.), he became the fifth active Division II coach with 600-plus wins.
• Brad Karp of Saint Xavier set the all-time SXU scoring record in the game against Indiana South Bend on Jan. 11. His 28 points pushed his career total to 2,530 points. Karp joins NCAA Division I standout Doug McDermott of Creighton (Iowa) as the only two active men's college basketball players in the nation with over 2,500 career points.
• From Jan. 24 - 26, the 11th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend occurred to raise awareness about the fight against cancer. Both divisions of NAIA Men's Basketball Coaches will continue to conduct a national effort of fund raising for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and American Cancer Society. Follow CoachesvsCancer on Facebook and @CoachesvsCancer on Twitter and leverage your social media channels using the hashtag #SuitsAndSneakers to share your school and coach's participation in Suits And Sneakers. For more information, click here.
• There are no teams in Division II with an undefeated record. Dordt (Iowa) (22-2) and St. Xavier (21-2) have the fewest losses with two.
• Dordt (22-2) has the most victories with 22. Overall, six teams have posted 20-or-more wins thus far.
• After its win over Holy Cross (Ind.) on Wednesday, Saint Xavier (Ill.) holds the longest active Division II win streak at 17 straight.
• Two teams are still searching for their first victory.
• For the first time all season, the top five teams held their position led by No. 1-ranked Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) in the sixth regular-season edition of the Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. For the complete release, click here.
• Idris Ibn Idris of Bethany (Kan.) was named this week's NAIA National Division II Men's Basketball Player of the Week. For the complete release, click here¬.
• Other Top 25 matchups this week:
o Wednesday – No. 18 Northwood (Fla.) def. No. 3 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 76-71
o Friday – No. 21 Concordia (Ore.) at No. 10 College of Idaho
o Saturday – No. 5 Dordt (Iowa) at No. 13 Hastings (Neb.)
o Saturday – No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan at No. 9 Saint Francis (Ind.)