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Wayne Cavadi | | February 8, 2022

Undefeated Nova Southeastern is the new No. 1 in the DII men's basketball Power 10 rankings

DII men's basketball predictions for the 2021-22 season

There is just one remaining undefeated team in DII men’s basketball. With Lubbock Christian falling to DBU this past weekend, Nova Southeastern is the only team on the quest for a perfect season. That earns the Sharks their first trip to No. 1 this season.

RANKINGS: Look back at the previous Power 10

The West Region is becoming a wild situation to watch. Cal State San Bernardino dropped a game to Chico State this past weekend. The Wildcats, who fell from the “first five out” last week, have now swept the Coyotes on the season. Making things murkier is Cal State San Marcos, a team that was undefeated until three weeks ago — which included a win over the Wildcats — but have dropped three of four since, including a loss to the Coyotes.

The weekly reminder: These are my rankings, and mine alone. The DII men’s basketball Power 10 rankings is a combination of overall records, insight from coaches, SIDs and insiders and some of the numbers considered by the selection committee come DII men’s basketball tournament time. You will have a new Power 10 every other Tuesday until the start of the DII men’s basketball championship tournament.

The DII men’s basketball Power 10 rankings

(All games through Feb. 7)

No. 1 Nova Southeastern | Previous: 2

The Sharks finally reach the pinnacle after moving to 20-0. They continue to improve their resume as well, knocking off nationally ranked Barry this past weekend by 10 points. That’s a clean sweep of the Bucs, with both wins coming by double-digits. Heading into this week’s action, Nova Southeastern is second in DII men’s basketball scoring 97.8 points per game and leads the division in assists and steals per game as well as turnover margin. There isn’t a box this team doesn’t check.

UNDEFEATED WATCH: We're tracking the Sharks' run at perfection 

No. 2 Northwest Missouri State | Previous: 3

The Bearcats improved to 21-2 this past week. That’s five wins in a row since their one-point, overtime loss to Central Oklahoma. Much like last time, the Bearcats have taken a loss and turned it into a positive, utterly dominating those five wins by an average of 27.2 points per game. Trevor Hudgins seems to set a new MIAA record every time out, now the conference leader in games played, as well as 3-pointers made.

No. 3 Lubbock Christian | Previous: 1

Let’s not be too harsh on the Chaps. Yes, Lubbock Christian lost, but DBU is a very good team that had a rough start to its season. The Patriots seem to have found their way, and this was a battle to the wire, with DBU coming out on top 75-73. Even with the loss, LCU has a half-game edge in the LSC. This team is very good, with the ideal blend of offensive stars and defensive prowess that make for deep tournament runs.

No. 4 Indiana (Pa) | Previous: 5

The Crimson Hawks improved to 20-2 with three more wins last week. That included a tight one over Slippery Rock, which they also beat Monday night. Armoni Foster has been exciting to watch as always, but the emergence of Dave Morris has been key, especially in the absence of Shawndale Jones. Morris is averaging career highs in points (12.0 per game) while leading the team in steals and chipping in 4.3 rebounds per game.

DII'S BEST: January's all-stats starting five

No. 5 West Liberty | Previous: 6

The Hilltoppers won their sixth game in a row, improving to 20-2 on the season. The last two wins this past week were tremendous in the Mountain East Conference race. Both teams were alive in the hunt for the MEC title, but that didn't matter to the Hilltoppers. Charleston (WV) and West Virginia State are 16-win teams ... and West Liberty scored 96 points in each game to defeat both. That’s a clean sweep over the third and fourth best teams in the MEC, and the 17th-straight 20-win season for the Hilltoppers.

No. 6 Augustana (SD) | Previous: 7

The Vikings simply continue to impress each time out. This past week, they avenged their Dec. 17 loss to nationally ranked Upper Iowa with a nine-point victory. Tyler Riemersma posted a double-double in the victory, going for 20 and 11, while five players scored in double figures. This team is deep and has beaten two top 25 teams on its current nine-game winning streak. Right now, Augustana is playing like one of the best teams in the nation and the NSIC tournament is shaping up to be an exciting one.

No. 7 UNC Pembroke | Previous: 8

The Braves keep rolling, now sitting at 20-1. Winners of 16 in a row, they are one of just two one-loss teams remaining in DII men’s basketball. UNC Pembroke is 9-0 at home and play four of their last six at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court, which is a huge advantage. This team has a bevy of scorers, but Spencer Levi is shining as a player-of-the-year contender, averaging nearly a double-double per game with 41 blocks.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCHLIST: The Bevo Francis top-100 is released

No. 8 Minnesota Duluth | Previous: 9

The Bulldogs are now 21-2 on the season. Both losses did come to top 25 teams, but they are once again rolling. This offense continues to be a beast — they are the top-scoring offense in the NSIC by a wide margin — with all five starters averaging double figures in points. Both Bulldog losses came on the road, and three of their four remaining games are away. Minnesota Duluth has a clear path to the NSIC North Division crown but has little room for error in a loaded Central Region.

No. 9 Chico State | Previous: NR

What a wild season in the CCAA. There were three teams from the conference in the Power 10 for the bulk of the season. It is really hard to separate the three, but a season sweep over Cal State San Bernardino gets Chico State back into the conversation. The Wildcats have one of the better scoring defenses in the nation, allowing 63.5 points per game. They will need it to be at its best with a very tough slate remaining, including games against Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State San Marcos. If they win both, they are the top team in the West.

No. 10 Cal State San Bernardino | Previous: 3

Despite the loss to Chico State, the Coyotes are still a game ahead in the CCAA standings. They also have the top-scoring offense in the conference by a very wide margin, so this could very well be the team to beat. However, losing both games to the team hot on their trail sees the Yotes drop significantly this week. Don’t be fooled, this is still a tournament — and DII Elite Eight — contender.

TOURNEY TIME: Everything you need to know about the DII men's basketball tournament

First five out (in alphabetical order)

  • Augusta: The Jaguars are now 19-3 in what is shaping up to be an exciting Southeast Region race. They have won five in a row with a huge matchup against Flagler on Feb. 19.
  • Central Oklahoma: Isaiah Wade is very good at basketball, and he makes the Bronchos tough to beat. They have a very favorable schedule to close out the season with none of the top-5 MIAA teams remaining on the slate.
  • Fairmont State: It may not be fair that the Fighting Falcons drop out of the Power 10 without losing, but the West Region shakes things up. This team is still very good, has a favorable schedule down the stretch and can flip the Atlantic Region on its head come March.
  • Flagler: The Saints are now the top team in the PBC with just one loss in conference play. People are sleeping on them because of the three losses, but two came in the first week of the season. They are 17-1 since Nov. 19.
  • Lincoln Memorial: This spot came down to the Railsplitters and their conference rival Queens (NC). With the two splitting their season series, it became even harder to separate, but Lincoln Memorial gets the slight edge with a stronger strength of schedule.

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Barry, Bentley, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State San Marcos, Daemen, Ferris State, Pitt-Johnstown, Queens (NC)

Player to watch: Jake Van Tubbergen, Grand Valley State

We continue to highlight those players who may be flying under the radar because their team is not mentioned in rankings or polls. This week, we turn to the GLIAC and yet another Bevo Francis Award candidate.

Van Tubbergen, or JVT as he has become known, has been a consistent force in DII men’s basketball for a couple years. He averaged a double-double in the 2019-20 season and followed that up with a strong 2020-21 campaign, despite a shrunken schedule due to COVID-19 protocols.

Nothing has changed this season. JVT is averaging 16.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He is tied for third in DII men’s basketball with 13 double-doubles. Listed at 6-foot-8, he is a smooth-playing forward, both athletic and strong at the rim, but can pull up and drill a jumper from inside the key as well. If you leave him open outside, he can beat you from 3-point land, but once he’s working down low, the result is usually points for the Lakers.

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