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Wayne Cavadi | | April 2, 2023

DII men's basketball programs with the most NCAA DII national championships

Nova Southeastern wins DII men's basketball final

Nova Southeastern made program history in 2023, winning its first DII men's basketball national championship in school history. The third time was the charm, after reaching the DII Men's Elite Eight in 2019, 2022, and 2023, the first three occurrences in program history. The 2023 national championship game against West Liberty shattered the record books, as the two combined for the most points in championship game history in the thrilling 111-101 instant classic. 

2023 RECAP: How Nova Southeastern won the 2023 national championship

Wheaton (Ill.) won the first DII men's basketball title in 1957, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan 89-65. Wheaton has never been back to the championship game, but Kentucky Wesleyan has advanced to 12 more title games, winning an unprecedented eight along the way. 

Let’s take a look at the programs with the most national championships in DII basketball.

Kentucky Wesleyan, 8 (1966, 1968-69, 1973, 1987, 1990, 1999, 2001)

NCAA Photos Kentucky Wesleyan has won eight DII men's basketball national championships.

The Panthers are the benchmark when it comes to DII men’s basketball. They have lost as many championship games (5) as the next closest has won. Kentucky Wesleyan’s resume is as impressive as any program at any level. The Panthers have made 19 appearances in the Elite Eight, 17 appearances in the national semifinals, and have registered 87 tournament wins along the way. Only UCLA has more national championships in college basketball than the Panthers.

Evansville, 5 (1959-60, 1964-65, 1971)

Evansville Athletics Jerry Sloan led Evansville to two-straight DII men's basketball national championships.

Not only have the Aces won five titles, but the same head coach also hoisted the trophy every time. No head coach in DII men’s basketball has more titles than Evansville’s Arad McCutchan, and that evidently paid off on his players. Jerry Sloan helped lead the Aces to back-to-back titles in 1964 and ’65 before going on to a storied NBA coaching career himself. The Aces were the first team to go back-to-back in DII history and are one of four DII programs to finish a championship season undefeated. 

Northwest Missouri State, 4 (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022)

The current dynasty in DII men's basketball is Northwest Missouri State. The Bearcats have won four of the last five championships, and became the first team to repeat as champions since Cal State Bakersfield in 1994. In 2022, the Bearcats became the first DII men's basketball team made history as the first to win three in a row. Ben McCollum, a graduated of Northwest Missouri State, has led his alma mater to all of its titles.


Cal State Bakersfield, 3 (1993-94, 1997)

Cal State Bakersfield Athletics Cal State Bakersfield is one of four undefeated DII men's basketball national champions.

A large part of the 1990s belonged to the Roadrunners, making six appearances in the national semifinals and winning three of their four national championship appearances in the decade. Head coach Pat Douglass led them to all three titles, with their 1993, 33-0 season one of the best in DII basketball history. 

Virginia Union, 3 (1980, 1992, 2005)

The school that produced well-known NBA big men Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace also pumped out three national championship teams. The Panthers like to leave their mark across the decades, the only team to win one in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. 

Teams with two

Five teams have won two titles. Florida Southern picked up its second title in 2015, 34 years after winning its first. Central Missouri won its second title in 2014, 30 years after winning its first back in 1984, holding both of its opponents to 77 points. Winona State went to three-straight title games between 2006 and 2008, winning twice. What are the chances two Roadrunners appear on the list? Enter Metro State who played Kentucky Wesleyan in the championship game three times in four years, winning in both 2000 and 2002. And lastly, North Alabama won twice, once in 1979 before winning again in 1991.

MORE: These are the highest scoring seasons in DII history

Here is the complete history of the DII men's basketball championship game. Note that there was no winner in 2020, as the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2023 Nova Southeastern (36-0) Jim Crutchfield 111-101 West liberty Evansville, Ind. 
2022 Northwest Missouri State (35-5 Ben McCollum 67-58 Augusta Evansville, Ind. 
2021 Northwest Missouri State (28-2) Ben McCollum 80-54 West Texas A&M Evansville, Ind.
2019 Northwest Missouri State (38-0) Ben McCollum 64-58 Point Loma Evansville, Ind.
2018 Ferris State (38-1) Andy Bronkema 71-69 Northern State Sioux Falls, S.D.
2017 Northwest Missouri St. (35-1) Ben McCollum 71-61 Fairmont State Sioux Falls, S.D.
2016 Augustana [S.D.] (34-2) Tom Billeter 90-81 Lincoln Memorial Frisco, Tex.
2015 Florida Southern (36-1) Linc Darner 77-62 Indiana (Pa.) Evansville, Ind.
2014 Central Missouri (30-5) Kim Anderson 84-77 West Liberty Evansville, Ind.
2013 Drury (31-4) Steve Hesser 74-73 Metro State Atlanta, Ga.
2012 Western Washington (31-5) Brad Jackson 72-65 Montevallo Highland Heights, Ky.
2011 Bellarmine (33-2) Scott Davenport 71-68 BYU-Hawaii Springfield, Mass.
2010 Cal Poly Pomona (28-6) Greg Kamansky 65-53 Indiana (Pa.) Springfield, Mass.
2009 Findlay (36-0) Ron Niekamp 56-53 (ot) Cal Poly Pomona Springfield, Mass.
2008 Winona State (38-1) Mike Leaf 87-76 Augusta State Springfield, Mass.
2007 Barton (31-5) Ron Lievense 77-75 Winona State Springfield, Mass.
2006 Winona State (32-4) Mike Leaf 73-61 Virginia Union Springfield, Mass.
2005 Virginia Union (30-4) Dave Robbins 63-58 Bryant Grand Forks, N.D.
2004 Kennesaw State (35-4) Tony Ingle 84-59 Southern Indiana Bakersfield, Calif.
2003 Northeastern State (32-3) Larry Gipson 75-64 **Kentucky Wesleyan Lakeland, Fla.
2002 Metro State (29-6) Mike Dunlap 80-72 Kentucky Wesleyan Evansville, Ind.
2001 Kentucky Wesleyan (31-3) Ray Harper 72-63 Washburn Bakersfield, Calif.
2000 Metro State (33-4) Mike Dunlap 97-79 Kentucky Wesleyan Louisville, Ky.
1999 Kentucky Wesleyan (35-2) Ray Harper 75-60 Metro State Louisville, Ky.
1998 UC Davis (31-2) Bob Williams 83-77 Kentucky Wesleyan Louisville, Ky.
1997 Cal State Bakersfield (29-4) Pat Douglass 57-56 Northern Kentucky Louisville, Ky.
1996 Fort Hays State (34-0) Gary Garner 70-63 Northern Kentucky Louisville, Ky.
1995 Southern Indiana (29-4) Bruce Pearl 71-63 UC Riverside Louisville, Ky.
1994 Cal State Bakersfield (27-6) Pat Douglass 92-86 Southern Indiana Springfield, Mass.
1993 Cal State Bakersfield (33-0) Pat Douglass 85-72 Troy Springfield, Mass.
1992 Virginia Union (30-3) Dave Robbins 100-75 Bridgeport Springfield, Mass.
1991 North Alabama (29-4) Gary Elliot 79-72 Bridgeport Springfield, Mass.
1990 Kentucky Wesleyan (31-2) Wayne Chapman 93-79 Cal State Bakersfield Springfield, Mass.
1989 North Carolina Central (28-4) Michael Bernard 73-46 Southeast Missouri State Springfield, Mass.
1988 Massachusetts-Lowell (27-7) Don Doucette 75-72 Alaska Anchorage Springfield, Mass.
1987 Kentucky Wesleyan (28-5) Wayne Chapman 92-74 Gannon Springfield, Mass.
1986 Sacred Heart (30-4) Dave Bike 93-87 Southeast Missouri State Springfield, Mass.
1985 Jacksonville State (31-1) Bill Jones 74-73 South Dakota State Springfield, Mass.
1984 Central Missouri (29-3) Lynn Nance 81-77 Saint Augustine's Springfield, Mass.
1983 Wright State (18-4) Ralph Underhill 92-73 District of Columbia Springfield, Mass.
1982 District of Columbia (25-5) Wil Jones 73-63 Florida Southern Springfield, Mass.
1981 Florida Southern (24-8) Hal Wissel 73-68 Mount Saint Mary's Springfield, Mass.
1980 Virginia Union (26-4) Dave Robbins 80-74 SUNYIT Springfield, Mass.
1979 North Alabama (22-9) Bill Jones 64-50 Green Bay Springfield, Mo.
1978 Cheyney (26-2) John Chaney 47-40 Green Bay Springfield, Mo.
1977 Chattanooga (27-5) RoShumatete 71-62 Randolph-Macon Springfield, Mass.
1976 Puget Sound (27-7) Don Zech 83-74 Chattanooga Evansville, Ind.
1975 Old Dominion (25-6) Sonny Allen 76-74 New Orleans Evansville, Ind.
1974 Morgan State (28-5) Nathaniel Frazier 67-52 Missouri State Evansville, Ind.
1973 Kentucky Wesleyan (24-6) Bob Jones 78-76 (ot) Tennessee State Evansville, Ind.
1972 Roanoke (28-4) Charles Moir 84-72 Akron Evansville, Ind.
1971 Evansville (22-8) Arad McCutchan 97-82 Old Dominion Evansville, Ind.
1970 Philadelphia University (29-2) Herb Magee 76-65 Tennessee State Evansville, Ind.
1969 Kentucky Wesleyan (25-5) Bob Daniels 75-71 Missouri State Evansville, Ind.
1968 Kentucky Wesleyan (28-3) Bob Daniels 63-52 Indiana State Evansville, Ind.
1967 Winston-Salem (30-2) C.E. Gaines 77-74 Missouri State Evansville, Ind.
1966 Kentucky Wesleyan (24-6) Guy Strong 54-51 Southern Illinois Evansville, Ind.
1965 Evansville (29-0) Arad McCutchan 85-82 (ot) Southern Illinois Evansville, Ind.
1964 Evansville (26-3) Arad McCutchan 72-59 Akron Evansville, Ind.
1963 South Dakota State (22-5) Jim Iverson 44-42 Wittenberg Evansville, Ind.
1962 Mount Saint Mary's (24-6) James Phelan 58-57 (ot) Sacramento State Evansville, Ind.
1961 Wittenberg (25-4) Ray Mears 42-38 Southeast Missouri State Evansville, Ind.
1960 Evansville (25-4) Arad McCutchan 90-69 Chapman Evansville, Ind.
1959 Evansville (21-6) Arad McCutchan 83-67 Missouri State Evansville, Ind.
1958 South Dakota (22-5) Duane Clodfelter 75-53 Saint Michael's Evansville, Ind.
1957 Wheaton (Ill.) (28-1) Lee Pfund 89-65 Kentucky Wesleyan Evansville, Ind.
  **Student-Athletes declared ineligible        

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