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Wayne Cavadi | | March 2, 2020

Northwest Missouri State is No. 1 in latest DII college basketball Power 10 rankings

DII college basketball: Trevor Hudgins sinks game-winner for Northwest Missouri State's 7th-straight MIAA title

The 2019-20 DII college basketball regular season is in the books and it ends just like it started. The reigning national champion Northwest Missouri State Bearcats head into conference tournament play as the No. 1 team in DII hoops. 

RANKINGS: How the Power 10 fared last week

Here is a look at my latest DII men's basketball power rankings heading into the selection show on Sunday, March 8. 

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.

DII men's basketball Power 10: March 2

(Note: All records and stats through games played Sunday, March 1.)

No. 1 Northwest Missouri State |28-1| Previous: 1
The Bearcats closed out the regular season with just one loss and are now 57-1 over the past two regular seasons of DII men's basketball. They'll head into the MIAA tournament the top seed not only in the conference, but in the Central Region. Simply put, the Bearcats don't have a glaring weakness and when you pair that with the experience the bulk of this team has, they are clearly the team to beat right now. 

GAME-WINNER: How Trevor Hudgins' buzzer beater gave the Bearcats another MIAA title

No. 2 Lincoln Memorial | 29-1 | Previous: 2
The Railsplitters are already nine wins improved from last season and it looks like they'll have chances to improve that mark some more. They looked human this past week, scoring 83 and 75 in their two games, but both were still pretty much blowouts thanks to the top field-goal percentage defense in DII. The starting five is so balanced, each able to score and board and enter the SAC tournament the top seed in the Southeast Region. Right now, it looks like there is no slowing this steamroller.

ALL-STATS TEAM: The DII men's basketball players who couldn't be stopped, so far

No. 3 West Texas A&M | 29-1 | Previous: 3
Well, here we are again. The Buffs have been to the past two Elite Eights and after another one-loss season, it looks like they are certainly strong enough for a third in a row. Qua Grant and Joel Murray continue to impress in their sophomore seasons, each much-improved over very impressive freshmen campaigns. The Lone Star Conference is stacked this year, so getting that top seed was huge. 

2020 TOURNAMENT: Get your bracket | How the tourney works

No. 4 UC San Diego | 27-1 | Previous: 4
The Tritons close out the regular season and are on a 19-game winning streak, and most importantly, looking healthy. Tyrell Roberts and Christian Oshita became a vicious 1-2 punch, each averaging more than 18 points per game, and Chris Hansen has slowly been building his minutes back for a tournament run. This is one of the best shooting teams in DII college basketball paired with one of the best scoring defenses. The Tritons look ready for a run, but the West is going to be tricky.

PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR WATCHLIST: Keep your eyes on these DII superstars

No. 5  Florida Southern | 26-2 | Previous: 5
Winners of 14-straight, the Mocs put the pedal to the metal in 2020 and have lost just one game since January began. That game was a 111-103 overtime loss to Nova Southeastern, a loss they avenged a month later. This lineup has weapons all over — atop the key, in the paint and off the bench — with Brett Hanson, Jalyn Hinton and Jack Rauch as formidable a Big Three as any in the South Region.

No. 6 Azusa Pacific | 25-3 | Previous: 6
The Cougars enter the postseason winners of 20 in a row, making them one of four DII college basketball teams with winning streaks of 20 or more at the moment. I've spoken a lot of Selom Mawugbe who continues to be one of the best all-around players in DII, but Terrence Becvar and Ben Avera deserve some credit here. The duo is a strength off the bench, filling a role many teams wish they could have. Combined, Becvar and Avera combine for 16.9 points per game as reserves. 

No. 7 Indiana (Pa) | 25-2 | Previous: 7
The Crimson Hawks finished their second-straight season with just two losses in the PSAC and head into the conference tournament looking to win its second-straight conference title. IUP will enter the postseason atop the Atlantic Region, but will have their hands full in a balanced PSAC. It helps that Malik Miller looks to be playing some of his best basketball of the season, averaging 21.9 points over his last five down the stretch. He's a guy the Hawks will want to stay hot in March. 

TOURNAMENT TIME: 6 programs that could send their men's and women's teams to the DII Elite Eight

No. 8 Indianapolis | 23-5 | Previous: 8
The Greyhounds closed the season on an eight-game winning streak and took down yet another nationally-ranked opponent in Southern Indiana, completing the regular-season sweep, this time by 12 points. UIndy has played a tough schedule — the 11th-toughest in DII to be precise — and came out well ahead. That solidifies the Greyhounds spot atop the Midwest Region and should invoke plenty of fear for anyone they have to face this tournament season. 

DII UPSETS: Central Missouri over NWMSU | Rollins over Nova Southeastern | UIndy downs Bellarmine

No. 9 Valdosta State | 24-3 | Previous: 10
I must say, I'm impressed with the Blazers. I left them out of my preseason top 25 and then after a 5-0 start, I got them all the way up into the Power 10. Three quick losses in the two weeks immediately after that dropped Valdosta State from my Power 10, but lo and behold, they Blazers haven't lost since. Winners of 17 in a row, the Blazers closed out the season winners of their fourth-straight Gulf South Conference regular-season title. That's the momentum you need this time of year.

No. 10 St. Edward's | 25-3 | Previous: NR
The Hilltoppers are back in the mix, spending time inside and out of my top 10 from the preseason to the final week. While St. Edward's hasn't played the toughest of all schedules, the Hilltoppers did hand West Texas A&M its lone loss of the season in pretty convincing fashion, exploding in the second half. Ashton Spears was the reason I was so high on this team from Day 1, and he delivered with a 20.0 per game season. His supporting cast — mainly Dorian Lope, Corey Shervill and August Hass — has proved worthy, and this team will be tough this March.

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