The third DII men's basketball Power 10 rankings of the season sees quite the shakeup this week. Northwest Missouri State's 46-game winning streak come to an end in upset fashion to Central Missouri, leading to a new No. 1.
But the Bearcats weren't alone. UC San Diego — another top-5 team a week ago — suffered its first loss of the season. Can the two hang on to a spot in the Power 10?
Well, first, here's a quick refresher on the Power 10 rankings. 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.
RANKINGS: Last week's Power 10
Now, here's how my new-look Power 10 shapes up.
DII men's basketball Power 10: Dec. 9
(Note: All records and stats through games played Sunday, Dec. 8.)
No. 1 Bellarmine | 5-0 | Previous: 2
A win over then-No. 13 UIndy — on the road no less — boosts the Knights into the top spot for the first time all season. My preseason No. 2 has looked sharp so far, winning games by 25.2 points per outing. Ben Weyer, Alex Cook, Dylan Penn, Pedro Bradshaw and CJ Fleming are one of the deepest starting fives this season, all capable of a big game on any night.
This week: Sunday, Dec. 15, vs. Mount St. Joseph
No. 2 Nova Southeastern | 5-0 | Previous 3
The Sharks are averaging an absurd 116 points per game, beating their opponents by 39.2 points a night. Six players are averaging double-digits in scoring and Connor Zinaich debuted this past Saturday with a 13-point night. This team has weapons and should continue to put up big numbers well into conference play.
This week: Wednesday, Dec. 11, vs. Ave Maria; Saturday, Dec. 14, vs. Rollins
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No. 3 West Texas A&M | 9-0 | Previous: 4
The Buffs jump one spot and despite the nine wins, are only held back from playing NAIA competition the past three games. Now, they have been a point-scoring machine in doing so — here's your weekly Joel Murray and Qua Grant are studs reminder — but this week could see them jump if they go on the road and beat nationally-ranked St. Edwards handily.
This week: Thursday, Dec. 12, at St. Edward's; Saturday, Dec. 14, at St. Mary's (TX)
No. 4 Northwest Missouri State | 8-1 | Previous: 1
I may take some heat for keeping the Bearcats in the top 5, especially after losing to an unranked team with a losing record. But everyone has a bad night. This team is too good not to bounce back quickly and head coach Ben McCollum is too savvy to let this start any sort of a downward spiral. The Bearcats were plagued by a rare bad-shooting performance and have a week to get back to top form.
This week: Off
No. 5 Indiana (Pa) | 7-0 | Previous: 6
The Crimson Hawks rolled to another win this week and remain perfect on the season. Armoni Foster is breaking out in his redshirt-sophomore campaign as a reliable point-scoring machine. Senior Malik Miller still seems to make this team go, picking up his first double-double of the season.
This week: Sunday, Dec. 15, vs. Bethany
No. 6 Lincoln Memorial | 9-1 | Previous: 7
The Railsplitters picked up a tremendous victory over South Atlantic Conference rival and nationally-ranked Queens (NC). Courvoisier McCauley continues to pace this squad that has now beaten four ranked or receiving votes opponents this season. Let's not forget, they are one overtime against West Texas A&M away from a perfect season.
This week: Sunday, Dec. 15 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan
No. 7 Daemen | 10-1 | Previous: 9
Another week, another two wins for the Wildcats. This team is starting to see larger wins as well after some close calls, so you can argue they are getting better as January approaches, which is a scary thought. If you aren't watching Andrew Sischo, you're missing out — he's averaging 25.4 points and 14 rebounds a night.
This week: Friday, Dec. 13, at Mercy; Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Thomas Aquinas
No. 8 Alabama Huntsville | 7-0 | Previous: 10
The Chargers are another team that jumped two spots this week, remaining perfect on the season with a 20-point win. This team isn't going to run you over with 100-point nights, but remains balanced in its attack. Last week we gushed about JJ Kaplan, who is still averaging a double-double this season.
This week: Monday, Dec. 9, vs. Lane
No. 9 Southeastern Oklahoma State | 5-0 | Previous: NR
Welcome the Savage Storm to the Power 10 because, well, because they have put the savage into their storm this season. They have defeated four winning teams —including an opening day win over then-No. 15 Northern State — and have played one of the toughest schedules so far: their opponents have a combined .794 winning percentage. They have a big matchup against a Southern Nazarene team that is much better than its record may lead you to believe.
This week: Saturday, Dec. 14 at Southern Nazarene
No. 10 UC San Diego | 8-1 | Previous: 5
I am leaving undefeated Dixie State and West Chester out of the Power 10 for now in favor of the Tritons, which will probably not be met with warm hugs. But hear me out. UC San Diego has played a tougher schedule — so far — as its opponents have a combined .574 winning percentage. Yes, the Tritons lost to Chico State, but the Wildcats are a 6-3 team and no slouch. When the Tritons win, they win big — an average of 18.7 per game, to be precise.
Just missed (in alphabetical order):
Ashland, Queens (NC) and West Liberty left this list this week primarily because it's too early in the season for a two-loss team to be near the top 10. I expect all three to be back in the conversation. Ferris State turned a lot of heads this week with a commanding 24-point victory over Ashland and Florida Southern had yet another big week, taking down two winning teams.
Missouri Southern is looking red-hot once again and as we said, Dixie State and West Chester remain undefeated, as does DBU who beat undefeated Angelo State on Saturday to improve to 7-0.
- Dixie State
- Ferris State
- Florida Southern
- Missouri Southern
- Southern Indiana
- St. Edward's
- West Chester