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Wayne Cavadi | | February 14, 2023

1 undefeated team remains in the tightest DII men's basketball Power 10 rankings yet

Northwest Missouri State wins DII National Championship

And then there was one. As we approach the first release of the alphabetical regional rankings, Nova Southeastern stands as the lone remaining undefeated team. The Sharks are leading the division in so many categories, they are No. 1 in the latest DII men's basketball Power 10 rankings by a large margin.

This is going to be interesting to some, but this is the time of year that regional metrics matter. The simple truth is some of the third or fourth-best teams in one region are statistically "better" than the top team in other regions. With regional rankings upon us, it is important to weigh those metrics more heavily than earlier in the year, although I do still allow room for the eye test.

It was very tight, and some teams are clinging to their spots inside the Power 10 based on recent hot streaks. With the next Power 10 in two weeks at the onset of conference tournaments, that can all change. 

Be prepared. You're going to disagree.

The sixth DII men’s basketball Power 10 rankings of the regular season

(All games through Monday, Feb. 13)

No. 1 Nova Southeastern | Previous: 1: Now 23-0, the Sharks continue to dominate everything in their way. Serious kudos to Florida Tech for holding this high-powered offense to just 79 points, a season low, on Feb. 8. Nova Southeastern continues to lead the division in points per game (105.0), scoring margin (29.0), assists per game (23.1), steals per game (12.5), and turnovers forced per game (23.8). Oh, and RJ Sunahara may very well be player of the year. Like I said before, utter domination. 

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No. 2 Northwest Missouri State | Previous: 4: The separation between Black Hills State, Northwest Missouri State and Indiana (PA) was microscopic. The Bearcats solved the riddle of Emporia State, which has been their ultimate thorn-in-their-side since last season, and avenged their early season loss. All eyes will be on the Feb. 23 rematch with Central Oklahoma, which also defeated the Bearcats earlier this season, in a game that should decide the MIAA regular season. What else can you say about this team that hasn't been said over the past three years? They are smart, disciplined, share the ball just about as well as anyone, shoot the lights out, and Diego Bernard is looking to leave his mark as one of the greatest to ever play in the division. I guess that's what else there is to say.

No. 3 Indiana (PA) | Previous: 2: The Crimson Hawks finally fell at the hands of PSAC rival Mercyhurst. The Lakers, always known for their defensive prowess, held IUP to a mere 49 points. But this is still one of the best teams in the nation, powered by a top-5 scoring defense. Tomiwa Sulaiman is one of the breakout stars of the season. While he was certainly known in the PSAC (he is the reigning West Division PSAC West Rookie of the Year), he has been one of the better forwards in DII, averaging 13 points and 9.2 rebounds on 59.6 percent shooting so far. 

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No. 4 Lincoln Memorial | Previous: 8 (tie): Lincoln Memorial hasn't played the toughest schedule, but still has a 24-2 (23-2 in DII) record against opponents with a combined .505 winning percentage. Both of its losses have come by one basket, so the Railsplitters are literally two 3s away from being 26-0. This team is powered by one of the most potent offenses in the division and 26 games in, still has six scorers averaging double digits per night. This top of the Southeast is going to be very tough with the Railsplitters, Augusta and UNC Pembroke all in the Power 10 conversation. 

No. 5 Black Hills State | Previous: 3: I'm not dinging the Yellow Jackets too much for the loss to Fort Lewis, primarily because we'll talk about them in a little bit as part of this exclusive list. They are still the top team in the South Central and have a chance to avenge that loss in just four days. This was the team that ended Nova Southeastern's undefeated run in the DII Elite Eight last year and it seems like they want to do everything in their power for another shot at the Bearcats team that bumped them in the semifinals. .

No. 6 Central Oklahoma | Previous: 5: The Bronchos dropped a huge game by 20 points to Washburn, but such is life in the MIAA. I understand thinking that a three-loss team above a one and two-loss team doesn't make much sense, but the numbers, as they say, don't lie. They've played an opposing schedule that ranks 63rd in DII men's basketball, which is well higher than all but one team remaining on this list. They are 16-3 in what is right now the toughest region in DII men's basketball and have signature wins against Northwest Missouri State, Cal State San Bernardino and Emporia State, all of which were nationally ranked at the time. 

No. 7 (tied)  UIndy and UNC Pembroke | Previous: 6 and 7, respectively:  Both of these teams just keep winning and may very well be the top seed in their respective regions right now (UIndy the Midwest and UNCP in the Southeast). Neither team has played a particularly tough schedule but a 17-game (the Braves) and 16-game (the Greyhounds) winning streak is certainly something to brag about. The two have been polar opposites of late, with the Braves blowing out competition and UIndy hanging on in tightly contested ball games. Because these two seemingly forgot how to lose, they hang tight in the Power 10... for now. 

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No. 9 Point Loma | Previous: 10: The Sea Lions are the best in the West, and minus Cal State San Bernardino, it's not particularly close. Point Loma opened with back-to-back losses in the Small College Basketball Champions Classic to Minnesota Duluth and Northern State and have been on a mission ever since. Kaden Anderson is a special player, the kind like Joel Scott that can come into the postseason and help his team surprise a lot of people well into March.

No. 10 Northern State | Previous: Not ranked: A five-loss team ahead of some of these other two or three-loss teams? What is this guy thinking? Northern State was one of my teams to watch earlier in the season and the 21-5 record is impressive. The Wolves lost by a mere basket to Northwest Missouri State, defeated Point Loma, a very good and nationally ranked MSU Moorhead twice, and Minnesota Duluth which is much better than its record indicates playing that ridiculous schedule that it has. The Wolves play in the tough Central Region, have 21 wins against the fourth toughest schedule in the division, and have a starting five that plays ridiculously well together. Don't overlook this squad because of five losses. 

First five out (in alphabetical order): 

In continuing with how tight these rankings are, Augusta, Southern Nazarene and West Liberty could easily be top 10 teams. UIndy and UNC Pembroke kept their spots in the Power 10 this week, but due to a low SOS, a loss by either will see one of those three back in the top 10. This may be the tightest Power 10 in the history of my rankings. 

  • Augusta: The Jaguars have played very tough schedule but have lost three of their last seven, which keeps them just on the outside looking in. There's still plenty of time to right the ship and defend their Southeast crown come March.
  • Hillsdale: The Chargers keep chugging along, now 21-3 and back on track after a loss to Ashland. This squad has four players that can all ball, so it will be difficult for teams in the Midwest Region to defend come March. 
  • Fort Lewis: Strength of schedule aside, this team has an impressive resume. Now 22-2, the Skyhawks have wins against Angelo State, Colorado School of Mines, and this past Monday's big upset of Black Hills State. 
  • Southern Nazarene: The Storm is coming on strong down the stretch, now winners of 10 in a row. They also have the best scoring defense in DII men's basketball. With a bevy of scorers, this team is dangerous. 
  • West Liberty: The Hilltoppers are back in business and soon have a chance to avenge their MEC losses to Fairmont State and Wheeling. Right now, this team is gelling, putting up 100 or more points in four of their last six wins. 

Just missed: Bentley, Cal State San Bernardino, MSU Moorhead

Team to watch: West Texas A&M

It's weird that the Buffaloes aren't in the national conversation, considering they are DII Elite Eight staples on an annual basis. But a tough start to the season saw them fall behind... but with a new year comes new energy. Since a Jan. 5 loss to Angelo State, the Buffs are 10-1, including avenging that loss to nationally ranked Angelo State by 17 points. A big final two weeks against some Lone Star Conference heavyweights awaits, but the Buffs have the talent in place to make things very interesting down the stretch.

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