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Zach Pekale | | December 8, 2020

DII basketball rankings: Northwest Missouri still No. 1 after top-10 shakeup

Washburn sinks Fort Hays State at the buzzer on DII college basketball opening night

We've had three exciting weeks of DII basketball since the NABC released its preseason rankings. The first regular-season poll dropped earlier Tuesday and there are some noticeable changes in the latest edition of the top 25.

First, here's the full Top 25:

1 Northwest Missouri State (16) 3-0 400 1
2 Lincoln Memorial 2-0 383 2
3 West Texas A&M 0-0 366 3
4 Florida Southern 0-0 340 5
5 Nova Southeastern 0-0 325 6
6 West Liberty 0-0 291 7
7 Northern State (S.D.) 0-0 285 8
8 Colorado School of Mines 2-0 261 13
9 St. Thomas Aquinas 0-0 244 12
10 Azusa Pacific 0-0 231 11
11 Alabama Huntsville 0-0 220 14
12 Ferris State 0-0 212 15
13 Augustana (S.D.) 0-0 171 17
14 Point Loma 0-0 147 16
15 St. Edward's (Texas) 0-0 143 17
16 Valdosta State 0-0 138 18
17 Washburn 4-0 131 NR
18 Truman State 3-0 118 NR
19 Fairmont State 0-0 101 20
20 Queens (N.C.) 2-2 95 10
21 Charleston (W.Va.) 0-0 77 22
22 Colorado Mesa 2-0 63 NR
23 Augusta 1-0 60 NR
24 Findlay 1-0 58 NR
25 Sioux Falls 0-0 54 23

Others receiving votes: Missouri-St. Louis 40, Missouri Western 37, Bridgeport 31, Saint Anselm 22, Seattle Pacific 18, Fort Lewis 17, Mercyhurst 17, Tusculum 15, UNC Pembroke 13, Lindenwood, McKendree 10, Flagler 9, Daemen 8, Emporia State 7, DBU (Texas) 6, Missouri Southern 6, Westminster (Utah) 5, Lubbock Christian 3, Union (Tenn.) 3, Wingate (N.C.) 3, Biola 2, Southern Indiana 2, Angelo State 1, Minnesota State 1, Rockhurst (Mo.) 1, Stonehill 1.

Note: The PSAC and CCAA have cancelled their seasons. As a result, teams from both conferences will no longer appear in the NABC poll this season.

Northwest Missouri remains on top

Early season trouble is not uncommon, especially after an unconventional offseason. The Bearcats won a pair of tight games at Rogers State and then at home against Central Oklahoma to open the year before rolling Lincoln (Mo.) by 30 points. It's going to take more than a few close calls to unseat Northwest Missouri, who remains the unanimous No. 1 team this week. 

However, a positive COVID-19 test has postponed NWMSU's upcoming game against Missouri Western, which received the second-most votes outside of the top 25.

Welcome these three teams to the top 10

Colorado School of Mines, St. Thomas Aquinas and Azusa Pacific all joined the top 10 this week, despite the Orediggers being the only one of the three to play a game so far. Mines is off to a 2-0 start, beating MSU Denver and South Dakota Mines by an average of 27.5 points per game. Their five-spot jump was the biggest of any team ranked in the preseason poll.

The Spartans open their season Jan. 9 while the Cougars have not yet announced a schedule.

Those three are replacing Indiana (Pa.), Missouri-St. Louis and Queens (N.C.). The Crimson Hawks will not play this season after the PSAC canceled winter sports. IUP was ranked fourth in the preseason poll after going 58-5 over the past two seasons. UMSL opened strong with a 25-point win over Quincy before dropping out of the poll after the then-No. 9 Tritons suffered a 12-point home loss to Truman State. Queens fared well with three straight DI opponents at the 2020 Paradise Jam, but fell ten spots to No. 20 following a loss to Wingate. 

Notable newcomers

Five teams joined the Dec. 8 rankings with Washburn placing highest at No. 17. The Ichabods are 4-0, winning their last three games by double-digits after Jalen Lewis provided some opening-night heroics (see above).

Right behind Washburn is Truman State at No. 18.'s Wayne Cavadi previously highlighted the GLVC as a conference to watch this season. The Bulldogs' 3-0 start is a great reason why. TSU doesn't play a home game until Dec. 20. So far, they've already picked up road wins at Lewis, UIndy and now Missouri-St.Louis. Masen Miller and Cade McKnight put on a show against UMSL, combining for 51 points in the win.

Colorado Mesa, Augusta and Findlay round out the newcomers, falling in at Nos. 22-24 in the poll. The Mavericks started 2-0 while the Jaguars and Oilers are both 1-0.

Here's who dropped out from the preseason poll:

  • Indiana (Pa.) – No. 4 
  • Missouri-St.Louis – No. 9
  • Missouri Southern – No. 21
  • Bridgeport – No. 24
  • Southern Indiana – No. 25

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