Northwest Missouri State, Lincoln Memorial and West Texas A&M continue to impress, keeping the three locked atop the DII men's basketball Power 10 for the second week in a row. That said, some big losses see a debut in this week's rankings.
RANKINGS: How the Power 10 fared last week
Before we get started on the Power 10, remember we've added a bonus. For the second week in a row, I'll be looking at 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.
Here are your latest Power 10 rankings, followed by the first release of my top seeds in each region.
DII men's basketball Power 10: Feb. 3
(Note: All records and stats through games played Sunday, Feb. 2.)
No. 1 Northwest Missouri State |20-1| Previous: 1
It wasn't all easy this week for the Bearcats, trailing Central Oklahoma well into the second half. But then Northwest Missouri State took over and won by five points, showing this is a team that can win in many different ways and situations. This was the third time the Bearcats have trailed at the half in 21 games and have won all three. Trevor Hudgins, Ryan Hawkins and Diego Bernard lead the way, but this team has several X-factors that can burn you if you're not ready. They meet with Central Missouri on Wednesday looking to avenge their lone loss of the season.
This week: Feb 6. vs. Central Missouri; Feb. 8 vs. Lincoln (MO)
No. 2 Lincoln Memorial | 21-1 | Previous: 2
This team has won 21 in a row. The Railsplitters only loss was on opening day against the team right below them in the Power 10 rankings, in overtime none the less. And here is the frightening part: they seem to be getting better. There's no slowing this offense right now, as they are blowing out opponents, including a 23-point victory over South Atlantic Conference-rival Queens (NC). Lincoln Memorial is scoring 93.3 points per game and winning by an average of 23.9, so this is not simply an offensive juggernaut but a dangerously well-rounded team.
This week: Feb. 5 at Lenoir-Rhyne; Feb. 8 vs. Wingate
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No. 3 West Texas A&M | 21-1 | Previous: 3
Another team that is just rolling, the Buffs have recorded eight-straight double-digit victories, eclipsing the 100-point barrier in each of the past two games. The Qua Grant and Joel Murray show is one to watch, with Murray setting a career-high with 32 points in West Texas A&M's latest victory. Head coach Tom Brown picked up his 150th win in the Buffs opener this week, giving him an average of 25 wins per season since coming to Canyon.
This week: Feb. 6 at Lubbock Christian; Feb. 8 at Angelo State
No. 4 UC San Diego | 20-1 | Previous: 4
The Tritons were tested this week, being taken to overtime by Stanislaus State. But UCSD prevailed, running its winning streak to 13 games. While Tyrell Roberts and Christian Oshita continue to pace this offense, Scott Everman continues to evolve into a third reliable weapon, now scoring 10 or more points in his last four games and in eight of his last 10. The Tritons have their work cut out, playing four of their final six games away from home, but this team looks tough to beat.
This week: Feb. 6 at Chico State
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No. 5 Nova Southeastern | 16-2 | Previous: 6
The Sharks have a big week ahead, hitting the road to face a Rollins team that upset them by one point earlier this season. This team is a point-scoring machine, averaging 102.8 points over their six-game winning streak. That's what this team is all about, and you better be ready to run or you won't stand a chance against the Sharks' high-tempo attack. Six Sharks are averaging 10.5 points or more per game.
This week: Feb. 5 at Rollins; Feb. 8 at Eckerd
No. 6 Florida Southern | 19-2 | Previous: 7
The Mocs picked up their seventh-straight win, avenging one of their two losses with a 82-77 victory over Embry-Riddle. While Brett Hanson continues to pace this offense with 22.6 points per game, Jalyn Hinton is putting up a remarkable season. He's averaging 14.6 points per game with a team-best 9.4 rebounds per game and a DII-best 3.5 blocks per game. This team is deep and looks ready for a deep run.
This week: Feb. 5 at Lynn; Feb. 8 vs. Florida Tech
No. 7 Azusa Pacific | 16-3 | 9
The Cougars have won 11 in a row but have a very tough week ahead. They hit the road for a matchup with Point Loma before hosting Chaminade, the two teams that are clumped together with Azusa Pacific atop the PacWest. It's still the Selom Mawugbe show here who is scoring 16.4 points per game while leading DII with a 72.7 field-goal percentage. This week will show us what we need to know about the Cougars, or could open the door for Point Loma into the Power 10.
This week: Feb. 5 at Point Loma; Feb. 8 vs. Chaminade
No. 8 St. Edward's | 19-2 | Previous: NR
The one-week hiatus for St. Edward's is over, going 2-0 over Tarleton State and DBU, two of the tougher teams in the Lone Star Conference. Ashton Spears, Dorian Lopez, Corey Shervill, Jake Krafka and August Haas present an intriguing starting five, scoring 64.5 of the Hilltoppers' 87.7 points per game. The Hilltoppers have one of the better defenses in the conference as well, allowing just 69.4 points per game, which they'll need if they face West Texas A&M in the LSC tournament.
No. 9 Indiana (Pa) | 18-2 | Previous: 5
The Crimson Hawks suffered a tough loss to Mercyhurst to close out their week but are able to hold on in the Power 10 thanks to other teams losing as well. This team seems to just have a lapse on the road every so often, as both losses have come away from Kovalchick and both losses have seen 66 or fewer points scored (granted, Mercyhurst is known for its smothering defense). This team is still very formidable especially with Armoni Foster and Malik Miller, both now averaging over 18 points per game, leading the way.
This week: Feb. 8 vs. Slippery Rock
No. 10 West Liberty | 17-3 | NR
This will be met with much disagreement, as the Hilltoppers were merely receiving votes in the NABC poll last week. But we are seeing the West Liberty team I expected it to be, and since a mid-December stumble, this team is on fire. West Liberty has won 11 in a row, averaging 107.0 points per game over that run and defeating its opponents by an average of more than 30 points per game. Dalton Bolon, Will Yoakum and Pat Robinson III are made for this offense all averaging more than 17.7 points per game. This is a very aggressive ranking, but I'm confident the Hilltoppers will continue to perform like a top 10 team through the rest of its Mountain East Conference schedule.
In the conversation (in alphabetical order) :
- Ferris State
- Grand Valley State
- Missouri-St. Louis
- Point Loma
- Valdosta State
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). Last week I said this was the Crimson Hawk's region to lose but to watch out for West Liberty. The Hilltoppers became a bit more of a threat to the top spot this week.
- Central: Northwest Missouri State. This team checks every box of a championship team. Every. Single. One.
- East: Jefferson. The Rams have won 12 in a row, but Bridgeport is also streaking and this will be a tight race with little room for error.
- Midwest: Bellarmine. Suddenly — with the Knights third loss in two weeks — this region is wide open. Ferris State had a big opportunity to take the top spot, but a 1-1 week keeps the Bulldogs slightly behind. Grand Valley State sure looks like its ready for the conversation as well.
- South: Nova Southeastern. Mark your calendars: Feb. 15 is a showdown with Florida Southern that can change this ranking.
- South Central: West Texas A&M. This is Buffs country until further notice.
- Southeast: Lincoln Memorial. I don't think this is even close. The Railsplitters are on a level all their own right now.
- West: UC San Diego. We'll learn more out of the PacWest this week, but this region is the Tritons' to lose.