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NKU men’s basketball team caps historic run with No. 21 final ranking in Mid-Major Top 25

Following a historic run this year, the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team closed the season ranked No. 21 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.

The end-of-season ranking caps a season in which the Norse experienced many program benchmarks, culminating in an appearance in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

NKU went 24-11 on the season and won the 2017 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship, earning the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Tournament. The Norse became just the seventh team all-time and only the second since 1970 to earn a berth to the Big Dance in their first season eligible.

Northern Kentucky faced off against national-power Kentucky, falling in a closely contested game, 79-70. (NKU Athletics Photo)

In December, CollegeInsider.com listed NKU among the teams receiving votes in the mid-major top-25. Just one week after receiving votes, the Norse jumped into the rankings at No. 24, where they stayed for two weeks before falling out. At the same time, Northern Kentucky also received votes in the Mid-Major Madness Power Rankings.

At season’s end, the Norse sat at No. 85 in the RPI and No. 138 in KenPom’s rankings, both of which are program bests in the DI-era.

Northern Kentucky raked in several individual accolades as well, including first-team all-Horizon League performer Drew McDonald, who was also a member of the Horizon League all-tournament team and all-academic squad.

Horizon League Championship Most-Outstanding Performer and all-tournament team honoree Lavone Holland II and all-freshman team recipient Carson Williams also garnered recognition.

Head coach John Brannen was tabbed the Horizon League Coach of the Year. He led the Norse to the fourth-best turnaround in the country based on wins and losses, but the third-best turnaround based on wins alone.

From NKU Athletics

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