What a week in DII men’s basketball. The former No. 1 team dropped two games in a row, allowing the defending champs to reclaim their top spot in the DII college basketball Power 10 rankings. Overall, three teams in the Power 10 dropped at least one game, leading to a completely new look in our weekly rankings.
NO.1 UPSET: How UIndy took down then-undefeated Bellarmine
This week, we will be adding a new feature to our Power 10. Since we are now well into conference schedules, we can start to see how those first regional rankings may unfold come Wednesday, Feb. 19. I’ll take a guess each week at who the top seed could be in each of those regions. So, how did we get to these rankings?
Let’s remember: These are my picks, and mine alone. I base them off several categories that the DII men’s basketball selection committee will use come NCAA DII tournament time such as — but not limited to — ranked teams beaten, record against winning teams, strength of schedule and average scoring margin. That means my Power 10 and regional rankings could have slightly different looks as the regional rankings are more of a season outlook while the Power 10 is more in the now.
RANKINGS: How the Power 10 fared last week
Here are your latest Power 10, followed by the first release of my top seeds in each region.
DII men’s basketball Power 10: Jan. 27
(Note: All records and stats through games played Sunday, Jan. 20.)
No. 1 Northwest Missouri State | 18-1 | Previous: 2
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the Bearcats go ahead and make more history. Superstar guard Trevor Hudgins recorded the program’s first-ever triple-double — going for 10 points, a career-high 10 boards and 11 assists — in an 83-57 victory over Fort Hays State. Just a friendly reminder: this team has lost once in the past year and a half.
This week: Jan. 30 at Newman; Feb. 1 at Central Oklahoma
No. 2 Lincoln Memorial | 19-1 | Previous: 3
As I said last week, the Railsplitters aren’t just winning, but dominating. Lincoln Memorial has a DII men’s basketball-best 19-game winning streak and put teams away by an average of 24.1 points per game, second-best in DII. Good luck trying to find someone to shut down as this entire starting five is rolling with four players dropping 11.9 or more points per game.
This week: Jan. 229 vs. Carson-Newman; Feb. 1 at Queens (NC)
ALL-STATS TEAM: The DII men’s basketball players who couldn’t be stopped, so far
No. 3 West Texas A&M | 19-1 | Previous: 4
Another week, another sentence praising the dynamic duo of Qua Grant and Joel Murray. There are a lot of schools out there that would do anything to have a player who can just take over a game, and the Buffs have two. But it’s not just offense that fuels West Texas A&M as the Buffs have the best turnover margin in DII men’s hoops at a 9.3 margin, 1.2 points better than the second-best Bridgeport.
This week: Jan. 30 vs. Western New Mexico; Feb. 1 vs. UT Permian Basin
No. 4 UC San Diego | 19-1 | Previous: 5
Tyrell Roberts is becoming one of the breakout stars of the DII men’s basketball season, providing a dangerous scoring tandem with Christian Oshita. The two combine for 35.5 points per game, and both shoot pretty well, especially from behind the arc where the two have combined to shoot 45 percent (128-for-286) from 3-point land. This team is rolling, and if Chris Hansen can get back on the court by March, we’re talking about a real contender.
This week: Jan. 30 vs. Humboldt State; Feb. 1 vs. Stanislaus State
PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR WATCHLIST: Keep your eyes on these DII superstars
No. 5 Indiana (Pa) | 17-1 | Previous: 6
The Crimson Hawks have won eight in a row and are playing some of their best basketball while doing it. Malik Miller is on fire, averaging 23.3 points per game over the past two weeks on 45 percent shooting. IUP is 10-0 at home and five of its final nine games are at Kovalchick, so the advantage is in its favor. The Crimson Hawks should have little trouble hearing their name called in March.
This week: Jan. 29 vs. Seton Hill; Feb. 1 at Mercyhurst
No. 6 Nova Southeastern | 15-2 | Previous: 7
The Sharks have confused me a bit this year, but I think the team we saw last week is who this team really is. They scored 232 points in two games, and defeated a very solid Barry squad in a much needed Sunshine State Conference win. Mark Matthews continues to solidify his chances of SSC player of the year, now averaging 22.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the team leading DII by dropping 106.1 points per game.
This week: Feb. 1 vs. Saint Leo
No. 7 Florida Southern | 17-2 | Previous: 10
I’m riding the Mocs train as far as it goes. Two more wins for Florida Southern this past week and suddenly the Sharks and Mocs are tied atop the SSC. Florida Southern gets the chance to avenge one of its two losses this week when Embry-Riddle — which beat the Mocs 106-95 back in November — visits Lakeland. Brett Hansen leads the way, but all five starters are scoring double-digits a night.
This week: Jan. 29 at Saint Leo; Feb. 1 vs. Embry-Riddle
No. 8 Ferris State | 20-3 | Previous: NR
The Bulldogs are back in the Power 10. They have a DII-best 20 wins and have gotten there by playing teams with a .545 winning percentage. Ferris State will let up some points, but overall this offense is a weapon, leading the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 88.7 points per game. Right now, that 12-point win over Grand Valley State to open the new year is tremendous for how the GLIAC can shake out.
This week: Jan. 30 at Ashland; Feb. 1 at Wayne State (MI)
No. 9 Azusa Pacific | 15-3 | NR
The Cougars enter the Power 10, winners of 10 in a row. Selom Mawugbe is one of the best all-around post players in DII men’s basketball, scoring 16.3 points per game while shooting an absurd 72.8 percent from the field. He’s also added 9.7 rebounds per game and 3.3 blocks per game for one of the best shot-blocking teams in the nation.
This week: Feb. 1 at Biola
No. 10 Bellarmine | 15-3 | Previous: 1
Look, not many teams would survive a two-loss week and still be in the top 10, but Bellarmine is too good to fall completely out of the conversation. The loss to UIndy — which has played ranked teams well all season — went into overtime and what the Knights did in the second half down 15 was pretty special. This is still one of the best defenses in DII with two of the better players in Alex Cook and Ben Weyer. It would be foolish to count the Knights out after one bad week.
This week: Jan. 30 at Illinois Springfield; Feb. 1 at Lewis
Just missed (in alphabetical order) :
- Grand Valley State
- Missouri Southern
- St. Edwards
- St. Thomas Aquinas
- Queens (NC)
DII men’s basketball regional rankings: Who’s No. 1?
If the regional rankings were released today, here’s who I think would be the No. 1 team in each of the eight regions.
- Atlantic: Indiana (Pa). Right now, this is a relatively easy pick, but West Liberty is playing West Liberty basketball again, so watch out.
- Central: Northwest Missouri State. Seriously? You need me to explain?
- East: Jefferson. This is one of the tightest regions as St. Thomas Aquinas and Bridgeport are both very much in play for the top spot.
- Midwest: Bellarmine. I know, I have Ferris State ranked higher in the Power 10, but the Knights have more wins against higher-ranked opponents and have a faced a slightly tougher schedule based on opponents winning percentage.
- South: Nova Southeastern. That overtime win over Florida Southern is huge right now.
- South Central: West Texas A&M. This region has been pretty much theirs for the past few seasons and it doesn’t look like it’s changing.
- Southeast: Lincoln Memorial. Right now, it’s not even close but if Queens (NC) can solve the Railsplitters hot offense this week, things will change.
- West: UC San Diego. The Tritons are playing really good basketball right now. Keep an eye on those Cougars, but the Tritons are true contenders to reach Atlanta in my book.