Kevin App coaches from the sideline

Williams coach Kevin App has the Ephs on the cusp of being included in the D3hoops.com Top 25.

The last season the Williams College men’s basketball team played games, the Ephs finished 13-12 and 6-4 in NESCAC. The Ephs made it to the tournament quarterfinal round, losing to Amherst in overtime.

So far in the 2021-22 season, Williams is 5-0 and one of three NESCAC schools currently undefeated. The 5-0 mark has coach Kevin App’s Ephs moving closer to a spot in the D3hoops.com Top 25.

Williams received 23 votes in the D3hoops.com Week 1 poll, a total that makes the Ephs the No. 29 team in the nation. Williams received three votes at the start of the 2019-20 season, but was out of the poll the rest of the way. The last time Williams was ranked was in 2018-19, finishing that season ranked 10th after losing to Christopher Newport in the NCAA Division III Tournament’s Elite Eight round.

The Ephs, who received one vote in the preseason poll, shot up the rankings by going undefeated to open the season.

Williams has two games this week, at home Thursday against Worcester State and on Saturday at Wesleyan. Two wins would undoubtedly boost App’s squad into the Top 25.

That would be, in large part, because the Ephs would have knocked off a nationally-ranked team in Wesleyan. Joe Reilly’s Cardinals are 6-0 and jumped from being unranked to being voted in at No. 19 in the Top 25. Williams has a five-game winning streak against Wesleyan.

Williams has four more games before finals and the holiday break. The Ephs will host Union a week from Thursday, and will be at Springfield on Dec. 11, to close out the first semester.

The Cardinals are one of two NESCAC teams in the Top 25, as first-year coach Marlon Sears has Amherst ranked 21st, with a 5-0 record.

There were four different Division III schools receiving first-place votes. The school with the most is No. 1 for the first time in its history — Yeshiva. The New York City school is 8-0 and received 603 points, compared to No. 2 Illinois Wesleyan with a 5-0 record and 586 points. Yeshiva received 13 of the 25 first-place votes. Illinois Wesleyan got three votes, while third-ranked Randolph Macon got eight first-place votes. Wisconsin-Platteville, the No. 4 team in the nation, got the final vote.

This week’s Top 10 are Yeshiva, Illinois Wesleyan, Randolph-Macon, UW-Platteville, Wheaton (Ill.), St. Joseph (Conn.), Elmhurst, UW-La Crosse, Roanoke and UW-Oshkosh.

While St. Joe’s, Wesleyan and Amherst are the only New England teams in the Top 25, Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, RPI and DeSales are Northeastern teams in the rankings.

WPI, UMass-Dartmouth, Colby and Nichols are the other New England teams that received votes.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253.

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.