What’s better than having a team make the Elite Eight in the NCAA DII tournament? How about having two teams make the Elite Eight?
Sixty-four teams entered the DII men's and women's basketball championships with Elite Eight aspirations. Nineteen of those schools were represented by both their men's and women's programs in their respective NCAA DII tournaments.
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Now, only two remain. The Saint Anselm Hawks and Nova Southeastern Sharks are the 11th and 12th teams to accomplish the rare feat. Let's take a look at how both got here.
Men's Elite Eight seed: 4 | Women's: 8
The Sharks send both teams to the Elite Eight, a first in program history as this is the men's first trip to the NCAA DII tournament. That said, it isn't surprising the men have gotten here. They entered the South Region as the No. 1 seed, with just three losses on the season and an offense that fires off nearly 100 points per night (98.2 to be precise). Nova Southeastern handled the first three rounds with relative ease, a nine-point victory in the second round over West Alabama the narrowest margin of victory. David Dennis has been red hot with 58 points, 13 rebounds, and 18 assists in the regional portion of the bracket.
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The women are certainly a surprise. They entered the tournament 18-11 and the No. 7 seed in the South. The Lady Sharks spun off three impressive victories, upsetting No. 2 Union by five, No. 3 West Florida by nine, and dominating No. 1 Florida Southern by 19. Unlike their men's counterpart, this is the women's fourth trip to the Elite Eight. They will have no easy task keeping the dream season alive, facing undefeated, No. 1 Drury in the opening round of the Elite Eight.
Men’s Elite Eight seed: 5 | Women’s: 7
It's been a long time coming for the men's team. This is the Hawks second trip to the Elite Eight, the last time coming at the turn of the century in the 2000 season. St. Anselm was definitely tested this season, and though it entered the NCAA DII tournament the No. 1 seed in the East, there were certainly question marks. Three of the Hawks four regular-season losses were against teams in their portion of the bracket and they made an early exit from the Northeast-10 tournament. They survived a second round scare, edging New Haven by one point before blowing out St. Thomas Aquinas for the East Region championship, looking very much the part of a real contender.
REGIONAL PREDICTIONS: Men's | Women's
The women's team is still dancing as well, but this is a first for the Lady Hawks. St. Anselm's women's squad wrapped up its first East Region title in thrilling fashion, holding off Le Moyne for the 63-61 victory. There is plenty of excitement and intrigue in the Hawks Elite Eight opener. They'll face No. 2 Southwestern Oklahoma State, another program making its Elite Eight debut. But it will also feature a matchup of some of DII's best. Shannon Ryan has been an absolute star for St. Anselm, averaging a double-double for the Hawks in each of the past two seasons. Now, she has the chance to put herself on the map as a DII superstar on the national stage against one of the best teams in DII women's basketball this season.
Here is the full list of schools that made both the men's and women's 2019 NCAA DII tournaments. Bold programs have a least one team standing, while bold and italicized are still rolling.
|Program||Men's Rank||Women's Rank||Region||Conference|
|Angelo State||No. 7||No. 4||South Central||LSC|
|Ashland||No. 5||No. 4||Midwest||GLIAC|
|Cal Poly Pomona||No. 5||No. 5||West||CCAA|
|Drury (W)||No. 6||No. 1||Midwest||GLVC|
|Emmanuel (GA)||No. 8||No. 7||Southeast||Conference Carolinas|
|Florida Southern||No. 2||No. 1||South||SSC|
|Grand Valley State||No. 8||No. 3||Midwest||GLIAC|
|Indiana (Pa) (W)||No. 1||No. 3||Atlantic||PSAC|
|Le Moyne||No. 3||No. 4||East||NE10|
|Lewis||No. 1||No. 2||Midwest||GLVC|
|Lubbock Christian (W)||No. 6||No. 3||South Central||Heartland|
|Nova Southeastern||No. 1||No. 7||South||SSC|
|Saint Anselm||No. 1||No. 7||East||NE10|
|St. Thomas Aquinas||No. 6||No. 5||East||ECC|
|Texas A&M-Commerce||No. 4||No. 7||South Central||LSC|
|UC San Diego||No. 4||No. 1||West||CCAA|
|Walsh||No. 7||No. 7||Midwest||GMAC|
|West Liberty||No. 2||No. 8||Atlantic||MEC|
|West Texas A&M (M)||No. 1||No. 1||South Central||LSC|