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Wayne Cavadi | | March 9, 2022

Queens (NC), Northwest Missouri State return to final DII men's basketball Power 10 before the tournament

DII men's basketball: 2022 selection show

The regular season is in the books and conference tournaments have been completed. There are just 64 teams remaining in the 2022 DII men’s basketball season.

Let’s look at the 10 best heading into the tournament.

Remember, 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 a dive into the metrics and numbers that get teams into the tournament. The next Power 10 will be once the tournament is completed. 

The DII men’s basketball Power 10 rankings (All games through Mar. 6)

No. 1 Nova Southeastern | Previous: 1

The only easy pick in the top 10. The Sharks are 28-0 and took down Barry to win their first-ever Sunshine State Conference tournament title. They don’t have a single best player because they have four of the best players in DII right now. Nova Southeastern leads DII in steals, assists and both turnover and scoring margin. Simply put, the Sharks shoot well and defend well and will be tough to stop in the South Region.

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No. 2 (tie) Indiana (Pa) and West Liberty | Previous: 2 (tied)

There wasn’t much separating Indiana (Pa) and West Liberty in the last Power 10 and not much has changed. The Crimson Hawks had the top RPI in the region while West Liberty had the top performance indicator. Their strength of schedule was separated by .04 points in Indiana’s favor. These two are as close as it gets. The Crimson Hawks won the PSAC, and it was enough to overtake West Liberty at No. 1 in the Atlantic. Of course, West Liberty has that high-octane offense powered by an arguably more high-powered defense. These two seem like they are on a collision course to the Atlantic Region final.

No. 4 Queens (NC) | Previous: First five out

The Royals are the big jumpers in the rankings. Why does Queens jump from outside the Power 10 all the way to No. 4? If you compare the Royals to the previous No. 4, Augustana (SD), their selection metrics are quite similar: both were 7-2 against ranked DII opponents, and both had an RPI north of .600 and a PI higher than 31. The difference is, Queens won its conference and is rolling into the Southeast Region as winners of 15 straight.

No. 5 Augustana (SD) | Previous: 4

The numbers behind the Vikings were just discussed, so it’s apparent how great a season they had. Despite losing in the NSIC semifinals to upstart MSU Moorhead, the Vikings still earned the No. 1 seed in the Central — a part of the bracket that has more than half its teams in the top 18 in the country. Tyler Riemersma is one of the best players in the land, but the starting five is one of the toughest and deepest in DII.

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No. 6 Lubbock Christian | Previous: 5

What a season for the Chaps. They took an undefeated run into February and were dominant throughout the entire season. You can look at the loss in the LSC semifinals and think the Chaps may be undeserving of this ranking, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Lubbock Christian was down 13 at the half and came storming all the way back, losing to a Texas A&M-Kingsville 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Tough loss? It absolutely was, but it also seems like the kind of loss the fuels a fire.

No. 7 Augusta | Previous: 8

The Jaguars are the top seed in the Southeast, and if you watched the selection show, that is an impressive feat. Augusta won the Peach Belt tournament by defeating two fellow Southeast Region teams (Columbus State and Flagler) by double digits. Pair those victories with a 14-game winning streak and you have a team with a lot of momentum. Tyshaun Crawford capped off his PBC co-player-of-the-year season with tournament MVP honors and is one of the more game-changing players in the NCAA DII tournament.

No. 8 Cal State San Marcos | Previous: NR

The CCAA was one of the more fun conferences to watch all season, with three teams hovering around the top-10 on a weekly basis. The Cougars were one of them and capped off their 20-win season with back-to-back wins over Cal State San Bernardino and Chico State. It was the first-ever CCAA tournament title for CSUSM. That’s quite an impressive turnaround from the 12-16 2019-20 season (the CCAA never resumed play last year). Everyone speaks about momentum this year, and the Cougars have a lot of it.

No. 9 Northwest Missouri State | Previous: NR

The Bearcats fought through a five-loss season to win the MIAA tournament with some gritty, hard-fought battles against Fort Hays State and Washburn. While a five-loss season doesn’t seem like a big deal to many, it was more losses than the star backcourt of Trevor Hudgins and Diego Bernard experienced in their first three seasons in Maryville. That led many to wonder if this Bearcat team had what it takes to win their third title in a row. Spoiler alert: Yes… yes, they do.

No. 10 Cal State San Bernardino | Previous: 7

The Coyotes had a terrific season, finishing 23-3. The only three losses were to the other two parts of that CCAA three-headed monster we talked about earlier — Chico State and CSUSM. This was the top-scoring team in the CCAA by a large margin and Brandon Knapper — who was strong all season — is entering the tournament on a tear: He’s scored 38, 33 and 34 points in his three games heading into the ‘Yotes first-round matchup.

First five out (in alphabetical order)

Bentley: The Falcons have flown under the radar for the bulk of the season, but this team is good and poised for a deep run in a wide-open East Region. They led the NE10 in just about every key offensive category, including offensive efficiency. That’s dangerous in March.

Chico State: The Wildcats have quite a few elder statesmen who decided to return for one more run. Chico State has had a great season and swept the Coyotes but simply couldn’t solve the Cougars. The Wildcats should help make the West a fun region to watch.

Lincoln Memorial: So much for a rebuilding year. The Railsplitters didn’t skip a beat despite the roster seeing a lot of turnover and a new head coach. They finished 25-4 and the No. 3 seed in that tricky Southeast.

Minnesota Duluth: Yes, the Bulldogs lost in the NSIC finals, but they also didn’t have Austin Andrews. Andrew was one of the best players in DII all season — and this team still fought until the end. If Andrews can get healthy, this is one of the deepest scoring teams you’ll find in the tourney.

West Texas A&M: See Lincoln Memorial. The Buffs lost so much talent, including two of the best players in all DII, and here they are, Lone Star Conference champions once again. Outside of the Bearcats and West Liberty, there isn’t a more consistent team in the DII tournament the past few seasons, as the Buffs are looking for their fourth-straight trip to the DII Men’s Elite Eight.

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