Riding a 36-game winning streak into the 2021-22 season and with a national championship or bust mentality, Yeshiva has been rewarded by the D3hoops.com voters with a #2 preseason poll ranking. This marks the highest-ever ranking for the Maccabees, eclipsing YU’s 3rd place finish last season.
“It’s always nice to get recognition as a program,” Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz acknowledged, “but we are just trying to win our first game.” Yeshiva’s opening contest of the season will be on November 6th at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as the Macs will attempt to take sole possession of the second-longest winning streak in Division III Men’s Basketball history.
In addition to setting a program record with this second-overall ranking, Yeshiva received 3 #1 votes, its first ever in a D3hoops.com poll, one of which came courtesy of Coach Michael Rejniak, GM of We Are D3 in The Basketball Tournament, who posted his ballot on Twitter. Rejniak, who was not a voter in the poll last season, told MacsLive that he probably would have had Yeshiva #1 last year. "A lot of this process goes to who has the best players, and Turell is one of the best the division has to offer," Rejniak explained. "Combining YU's talented roster with good coaching—and [Coach Steinmetz] is a phenomenal coach—I think that the stars are aligning."
Randolph-Macon, which both began and finished the shortened 2020-21 atop the D3hoops.com poll, remained at #1, while Marietta, Illinois Wesleyan (which comes to Washington Heights to take on the Macs in late December), and UW-Platteville captured the third through fifth rankings, respectively. Wheaton (IL), Trine, Swarthmore, Saint Joseph (CT), and Elmhurst closed out the Top 10.
Several D3hoops.com voters publicly discussed their difficulties in deciding on which teams to vote for in the preseason poll, largely caused by the variance in games played by Division III teams last year. “I went through several iterations of this over the past couple months and one theme kept copping up...I really only feel good about the [t]op 6-7,” Ryan Whitnable commented. “The biggest challenge by far was gauging programs we saw play games last year with programs coming back after an off year.” Bob Quillman concurred. “Really tough to figure this out, for obvious reasons,” Quillman noted. “Just glad we are about to get a normal season going."
Reacting to the #2 ranking, Co-Captain Gabriel Leifer echoed a frame of mind which has clearly permeated the Yeshiva locker room. “Why do we care what other people think?” Leifer inquired. “We care about getting better each day. All that matters is who is #1 at the end of the year.”