It’s crunch time in the DII men’s basketball season. In fact, it’s been make-or-break time for a few teams since the calendar turned to February.
As the 2020 DII men’s basketball championship tournament approaches, let’s take a look outside the NABC top 25 at some teams you won’t want to play down the stretch. Some of these teams are red hot looking to sneak into that 64-team bracket while others have fared well against ranked opponents this season and are looking to play spoiler.
Indianapolis | 17-5 | Great Lakes Valley Conference
The Greyhounds have had a rollercoaster of a season, in and out of the top 25 a couple of times this season. After a surprising loss to Illinois Springfield in overtime on Feb. 1, UIndy is back on track, winners of its last two in a row. Now, UIndy will be a scary team in the GLVC tournament because the Greyhounds have proven they can win against the ranked competition, especially in their conference, with wins over Southern Indiana, Bellarmine and Drury and a tough three-point loss against Missouri-St. Louis. Throw in a blowout of Grand Valley State at the beginning of the season and UIndy is a very under-the-radar team heading into March.
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Texas A&M-Commerce | 14-8 | Lone Star Conference
The Lions are perfect in their division of the LSC so they very much are in play for an at-large birth if they can go far in a stacked LSC tournament. And that’s what this is a team could do with the way they have handled the top competition this season. Texas A&M-Commerce beat then No. 12-St. Edward’s by eight on Nov. 23, took down then-No. 11 Missouri Southern by two in overtime on Dec. 16 and then beat then-No. 10 DBU by 24 in the very next game. That is a 3-0 record against top-12 teams. All eyes will be on Commerce for a big matchup against No. 3 West Texas A&M on Feb. 22.
Southern Nazarene | 18-6 | Great American Conference
We were very high on the Storm entering the 2019-20 season, ranked No. 15 in the first-ever NCAA.com preseason top 25. In that regard, the Storm have had a disappointing season. And that’s what makes them dangerous: they haven’t.
Jhonathan Dunn is one of the most prolific scorers in DII, dropping 27.1 points per game and his wingman, Micah Speight is no slouch, contributing 18.2 per game. The Storm has lost just once since Jan. 4 and have two big wins over Southeastern Oklahoma State, a team that has been nationally-ranked throughout the season and now trail the Storm by one game in the GAC. With Dunn and Speight at the wheel, this is not a team you want to face on a hot streak in March.
Walsh | 20-3 | Great Midwest Athletic Conference
The Cavaliers have won 13 of their last 14 games. Their lone loss came on the road at Findlay by five points just one week after beating the same Oilers team by nine at home. That loss, however, tied Walsh with the Oilers atop the G-MAC and will make an interesting showdown in the conference tournament if it comes down to those two. Walsh has essentially played one bad half since Dec. 20. This team has the top offense in the conference (86.4 points per game) and the second-best defense (66.3 per game). The Cavaliers are more than capable of capturing the G-MAC’s automatic bid and then mixing things up in the NCAA DII bracket.
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King (TN) |18-5 | Conference Carolinas
The Tornado dropped a four-point loss to Chowan back on Jan. 11 and haven’t lost since. They seem to have taken that loss to heart and have scored 91 or more points in each of their eight straight victories. King is now averaging 91.4 points per game led by Jordan Floyd, who leads DII men’s basketball with 31.2 points per game. Now, the Tornado hasn’t played the toughest DII schedule by any means, but a team that can put up points like they are with a scorer like Floyd — as of Feb. 12 he has four 40-point games in his last five — is dangerous this time of year.