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The DII Report: The preseason DII males’s basketball Energy 10 drops forward of opening weekend

The DII school basketball season is revving up. With opening tip scheduled for this week, we’ll check out the present slate for opening weekend and the primary rankings of the season within the DII males’s basketball preseason Energy 10. 

However let’s not neglect, there was some soccer performed this weekend. Regardless of 4 video games being canceled on account of COVID-19, the Pittsburg State Gorillas headed to FCS Stephen F. Austin and gave the Lumberjacks an early scare earlier than SFA put the sport away within the second half. The Gorillas, who trailed 13-7 on the half, misplaced 26-7. We’ll have a look forward at what’s in retailer for the ultimate weekend of 2020 DII soccer fall season. 

Prepare, NCAA DII sports activities followers. It is your weekly NCAA DII Sunday Particular. Away we go.

DII males’s basketball preseason Energy 10

We’re on the cusp of the 2020-2021 DII school basketball season. And whereas solely a portion of the groups can be tipping off over the subsequent few weeks, the time appears proper to launch my picks for the groups to observe this season.

First, a fast reminder: These are my picks, and mine alone. Very like I did final 12 months with the weekly Energy 10, I spoke to a slew of coaches and SIDs, dove into rosters and used my years on the DII males’s basketball beat to give you what I really feel are the preseason prime 10. Meaning my Energy 10 will in all probability have a a lot completely different look than the preseason NABC preseason ballot to be launched this coming week. 

One vital notice. DII males’s basketball is a fickle sport, not all the time as predictable as one thinks (bear in mind when Mercyhurst virtually ended Northwest Missouri State’s season within the 2019 DII Males’s Elite Eight?). This season goes to be much more unpredictable with a lot uncertainty surrounding every week. Due to that, I weighed the quantity of returning student-athletes, particularly starters, very closely in my guesses — er, rankings.

We will see how that impacts issues. Bear in mind, two seasons in the past, the Bearcats have been imagined to take a step again, shedding the MIAA’s all-time main scorer (Justin Pitts, for those who forgot) and having to mesh a number of freshmen into the combo. They wound up going 38-0 and successful the nationwide championship. Oops.

Let the report present. I believe Northwest Missouri State is the clear minimize No. 1 crew within the land. Groups two by 5 have been separated by a thread. The ultimate 5 groups are additionally so shut, they could be interchangeable. With out additional ado, let’s check out your Preseason Energy 10.

PREVIEW: 5 groups that would threaten the Bearcats run to a different MIAA title

No. 1 Northwest Missouri State. The Bearcats have the 2 frontrunners for the participant of the 12 months in Trevor Hudgins and Ryan Hawkins returning, together with Wes Dreamer, Diego Bernard and Luke Waters. Hudgins, Hawkins and Bernard have gone 69-1 over the previous two seasons collectively. Any questions?

No. 2 West Liberty. I count on I’ve the Hilltoppers larger than most, however your complete beginning 5 is returning. That features the most effective scorers in DII males’s basketball in Dalton Bolon and his two wingmen — Will Yoakum and Pat Robinson III — that every scored 18.0 factors per sport in 2019. 

No. 3 West Texas A&M. Qua Grant and Joel Murray have completely wowed me since they have been freshmen in 2019. Now as juniors, they’re the most effective one-two punches within the sport. You must also keep watch over Jon’il Fugett. Grant and Murray are the unquestioned leaders, however his gritty play makes Fuggett a type of key glue guys each crew wants. 

No. 4 Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters have been loaded final season and regarded like actual contenders for the DII males’s basketball championship. They solely return two starters, however they’re good ones. Cameron Henry is the reigning South Atlantic Convention defensive participant of the 12 months and Devin Whitfield took residence the 2020 SAC match MVP honors. 

No. 5 Florida Southern. I went with the Mocs over the Sharks right here as a result of I’m absurdly excessive on Jalyn Hinton. The reigning Sunshine State Convention defensive participant of the 12 months can dictate the sport, capable of put up a double-double any night time whereas being amongst one of the best shot blockers in DII. 

No. 6 Nova Southeastern. 4 starters return for Jim Crutchfield which is an enormous benefit. There’s a huge query mark (pun considerably meant), as that one starter not returning was Mark Matthews, an absolute beast of a scoring machine. Nonetheless, Crutchfield goes to have a contender on the ground.

No. 7 Northern State. I could also be a little bit larger on the Wolves than most as effectively. They’ll have tough Minnesota Duluth, Augustana (SD) and probably Sioux Falls groups to deal with, however they play in one of many hardest residence venues in DII basketball. Northern State is 2 years faraway from the DII males’s basketball championship sport and return 4 starters, together with participant of the 12 months candidate Parker Fox. 

No. 8 Indiana (Pa). It is not a DII males’s basketball preseason ballot with out a point out of Coach Joe Lombardi’s squad. 4 starters return, together with Armoni Foster who needs to be a PSAC participant of the 12 months candidate. The important thing right here is the return of Tommy Demogerontas who was averaging 16 factors and 9 rebounds per sport earlier than getting damage in simply the fourth sport of the 2018-19 season. 

No. 9 Missouri Southern. I’m going huge right here. Massive as in Cam Martin. Martin is the Lions’ huge man and the most effective in DII males’s basketball. He is a particular expertise that may assist a crew make an enormous run. There are solely two starters returning, however a few DI transfers, together with RJ Smith who began each sport for Sam Houston State in 2019, and freshman Jalen Parker have me very intrigued.

No. 10 Alabama-Huntsville. This was the toughest spot to select. The subsequent few groups out (extra on that in a minute) have been all deserving. I actually favored the Chargers final 12 months and felt they even underperformed a bit. It was a deep rotation with six gamers chipping in 9 or extra factors per sport. 4 of these gamers, together with main scorers Max Shulman and Sam Orf, return. 

Additionally thought-about:

The GLVC: Okay, all joking apart, let or not it’s recognized I believe the GLVC stands out as the most enjoyable convention to observe in DII males’s basketball this season. That is what I believe hurts them a bit rating sensible — the competitors is so powerful and balanced, the groups might not have nice information, which might lead an informal observer to suppose they aren’t as sturdy. UMSL, UIndy, Truman State, Southern Indiana and even Drury with their loaded returners have been all strongly thought-about. 

Queens (NC). What’s a DII preseason ballot with out Bart Lundy’s Royals? They solely return one starter, however we all know that Queens is a basketball manufacturing facility.

Valdosta State. The Kings of the GSC solely have two returning starters. I all the time appear to undervalue the Blazers within the preseason, and with some intriguing transfers, I could also be doing it once more.

One of the best of the remainder: Ashland, Augustana (SD), Azusa Pacific, Colorado College of Mines, Fairmont State, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Jefferson, Level Loma, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Edward’s, Western Washington.

Opening weekend matchups (All instances ET. Please examine again for updates on attainable COVID-19 postponements):

Thursday, November 19, 2020
MIAA males’s

  • Missouri Western at Rogers State, 8:30 p.m.
  • Missouri Southern at Central Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m.
  • Emporia State at Nebraska-Kearney, 8:30 p.m.
  • Washburn at Fort Hays State, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 1 Northwest Missouri State at Northeastern State (postponed, rescheduled for Dec. 31)

Different video games:

MIAA ladies’s

  • Missouri Southern at Central Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m.
  • Washburn at Fort Hays State, postponed
  • Emporia State at Nebraska-Kearney, 6:30 p.m. 
  • Missouri Western at Rogers State, 6:30 p.m.
  • Pittsburg State at Newman, 6:30 p.m.
  • Northwest Missouri State at Northeastern State, 7 p.m. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020
MIAA males’s

SAC males’s

Different males’s matchups:

MIAA ladies’s

SAC ladies’s

Different ladies’s sport:

DII soccer championship historical past lore: 30 seasons in the past, the Gorillas make their mark

Pittsburg State was the one DII soccer crew in motion this previous weekend. Although they weren’t in a position so as to add to their record-setting quantity of wins, the Gorillas nonetheless maintain the DII soccer mark for many victories of all time. 

Initially an NAIA powerhouse, Pittsburg State made its leap to DII soccer in 1989. A mere two years later, the Gorillas have been hoisting their first trophy. Pitt State was led by the 1989 Harlon Hill Award winner Ronnie West — the primary of two consecutive Gorillas to win the award — and entered the championship sport with a 12-1-1 report.

Although the Pitt State offense pounded out 202 yards on the bottom in that sport, it was their star extensive receiver who acquired the scoring rolling. West caught his 14th landing of the season — then the single-season Pitt State report — on the finish of the primary quarter and the Gorillas by no means regarded again. They rolled to a 23-6 victory over Jacksonville State. West completed the season with 1,495 yards which continues to be the single-season report in Pitt State historical past.

The Gorillas subsequent loss was 15 video games later, again within the 1992 DII soccer championship sport towards the exact same Jacksonville State crew. The Gamecocks acquired their revenge, ending the Gorillas successful streak and spoiling their probability at a repeat championship behind a 17-13 victory. In simply 4 years as a DII soccer program, Pittsburg State let everybody know its NAIA dominance translated very effectively on the subsequent stage. Over 700 wins and two DII championships later, the Gorillas look so as to add to their legendary win complete every week. 

Pitt State is considered one of 4 DII soccer groups in motion subsequent Saturday. Let’s check out the weekend forward. 

DII soccer: Saturday, Nov. 21 (all instances ET)
Word: Please examine again all through the week. We are going to replace this put up ought to video games get canceled on account of coronavirus considerations. 

Missouri Western at Nebraska-Kearney, midday
Each of those groups had video games postponed this previous Saturday. We have been disadvantaged of seeing what UNK sophomore sensation TJ Davis would do subsequent. The quarterback has 4 touchdowns in every of his final three video games relationship again to final season and appears to get higher every week. 

Pittsburg State at West Texas A&M, 2 p.m.
The Gorillas are again within the Lone Star state with a matchup towards the Buffs. Although Pitt State took the loss on Saturday, there have been loads of highs to construct upon. They’ll look so as to add to that win complete within the DII soccer fall season finale from Canyon, Texas.