This week in DII sports: The DII college basketball season, wrapped up


Welcome back to This Week in DII sports. Minnesota State did something no other program has done in 40 years and that’s win both the DII men’s and women’s basketball national championships. This week, we wrap up the DII college basketball seasons with the final Power 10 rankings and all-stats teams. Don’t forget, help spread the word and please forward this link for the official DII newsletter (and check the DII Newsletter box) to anyone you think should be getting Wayne Cavadi’s newsletter in their inbox every Tuesday. 

Now, on with the show.


The final DII men’s and women’s basketball Power 10 rankings of 2024

Welcome to Mavericks Country. Both the DII men’s and women’s basketball seasons are in the books and Minnesota State fans are very happy. The Mavericks took home the national championship in both men’s and women’s basketball — a feat last accomplished, if our records are correct, by the 1984 Central Missouri basketball programs. To no one’s surprise, the Mankato powers sit atop the men’s and women’s final Power 10 rankings of the 2024 season.

Remember, these are my rankings, and mine alone. It is also important to point out that making it to either the DII Men’s or Women’s Elite Eight does not mean that program is guaranteed entry into the Power 10. This is a picture of the entire season, not merely the past two weeks.

🏀 🎁 DII 2023-24 college basketball, wrapped up

⛹🏽 The final DII men’s basketball Power 10 rankings

No. 1 Minnesota State | Previous: 3. A 35-2 record. National champions for the first time ever. The Willingham brothers took over in one of the most memorable national championship games in history. This team opened the season on a 16-game winning streak and closed it against the best of DII on a 16-game winning streak. This is a slam dunk pick. 

No. 2 Nova Southeastern | Previous: 1. Go ahead and pencil the Sharks into the 2025 DII Men’s Elite Eight. Head coach Jim Crutchfield has built a powerhouse in South Florida and no matter who suits up, this is going to be one of the top-scoring, most aggressive teams on the court.

No. 3 West Texas A&M | Previous: 9. It was almost like the Buffs played possum the last two weeks before the tournament. Once they got into the bracket, they took down nationally ranked team after nationally ranked team until running into Minnesota State in the semis. This team held the No. 1 spot in DII for a long time this season for good reason.

No. 4 Gannon | Previous: 5. Look, I get it. You’re asking how the team that knocked Gannon from the tournament is two spots lower. Bottom line: Golden Knights were dominant all year at a historic level: It was the largest turnaround in college basketball lore. Sure, the Coyotes got them good, but that doesn’t diminish how remarkable this Gannon team was.

No. 5 Northwest Missouri State | Previous: 4. Yes, they lost, but the Bearcats held the national champions to their lowest scoring output of 2024 in the Central Region finals in a 43-42 defensive slugfest. The 2024 version of Northwest Missouri State was arguably the best defense in DII against the seventh-toughest schedule in 2024.

No. 6 Cal State San Bernardino | Previous: NR. The West was a wild region per usual, and it seemed like all the teams, especially in the CCAA, beat up on each other, so maybe the Coyotes record is what kept them out of the spotlight. But this team has been top 15 for me for a while, and now on the heels of back-to-back trips to the DII Men’s Elite Eight, they are a force to be reckoned with moving forward.

No. 7 Fort Lewis | Previous: 3. It is probably weird to see the Mavericks ranked below the team that knocked these Skyhawks out of the bracket, but again, this isn’t about the past two weeks. Fort Lewis played an overall tougher schedule than Colorado Mesa, had a higher RPI, and beat the Mavericks twice prior to the South Central regional round. This was one of the best teams in DII.

No. 8 Colorado Mesa | Previous: 6. See above. The Mavericks and Fort Lewis were so close in the rankings for me that it came down to tiny details. These were well-matched teams and made the RMAC a fun race to watch. Trevor Baskin and crew were a top-10 team all season and finished securely in the Power 10.
No. 9 North Georgia | Previous: NR. Although they stumbled a few times during the season, the Nighthawks were really the best team in the Southeast from start to finish. A strong showing in the tournament helped boost them back into the Power 10 for the first time since early 2024. Frank Champion led the Peach Belt Conference in six categories in leading the Nighthawks to their first-ever DII Men’s Elite Eight.

No. 10 Charleston (WV) | Previous: 10 (tied). This spot came down to Cal (PA) and the Golden Eagles, and that thrilling 68-67 win over Cal in the second round of the DII tournament sealed the deal for Charleston. This squad won the MEC by beating a really good West Liberty team and took Gannon to the wire in the Atlantic Region finals.

Just missed: Cal (PA), Ferris State, Minnesota Duluth, Southern New Hampshire, West Georgia, West Liberty

🏃🏻‍♀️ The final DII women’s basketball Power 10 of 2024

No. 1 Minnesota State | Previous: 2. On paper, the Mavericks’ run to the title was simply remarkable. They upset the No. 1, 2 and 3 seed in the Central Region and then upset the No. 4 and No. 2 seed to win it all. But as I said several times down the stretch that anyone watching this team pretty much since Thanksgiving — it was easy to tell that this was no upset, and the Mavericks were one of the best in DII all season.

No. 2 Texas Woman’s | Previous: 6. What a run by the Pioneers. They set the program record for most wins and least losses, most points scored, most assists, won just their second Lone Star Conference title ever, and made their DII Women’s Elite Eight debut. From start to finish, this squad was elite.

No. 3 Ferris State | Previous: 9. In my eyes, the Midwest Region was the toughest at the top (as you are about to see). Ferris State handed Ashland its only two losses and shut the Eagles’ top-3 scoring offense down in the tournament. The Bulldogs also handed Grand Valley State its only two DII losses this season, sneaking by the Lakers to reach their first-ever DII Women’s Elite Eight. That alone is a heck of a season resume.

No. 4 Grand Valley State | Previous: 1. Well, if I think the Midwest Region is the toughest at the top, then the top team (statistically speaking) has to be highly ranked. The Lakers’ defense was one of the best all year and this team has shown they are a consistent threat to reach the DII Elite Eight.

No. 5 Ashland | Previous: 2. Simply put, the Eagles are a top-5 program in DII women’s basketball history. When you go 31-2 on the season and aren’t happy with the outcome, you have built a powerhouse. There would need to be a catastrophic turn of events in Ashland, OH, for this team to ever be out of the top five.

No. 6 Gannon | Previous: 5. The Golden Knights reached the DII Women’s Elite Eight for the first time in more than a decade and earned the top seed once there. The senior-heavy starting five was led by Samantha Pirosko who finished with the most points scored in a Gannon single season and the second-most points scored in program history.

No. 7 Southern Nazarene | Previous: 7. It was a rough close to the season for the Crimson Storm, which dominated for pretty much the entire year. A loss in the GAC semifinals followed by a loss in the Central Region finals to the eventual national champions should not be how this team is remembered. They carried the top RPI in all DII women’s basketball for most of the year.

No. 8 Valdosta State | Previous: 3. The Blazers looked like they may be the team to beat for the whole tournament, earning the No. 1 seed in the South Region and riding a 27-game winning streak into its stunning second-round loss to Nova Southeastern. Again, one loss does not define a season, and the numbers don’t lie. Valdosta State was one of the best from start to finish.

No. 9 Cal State San Marcos | Previous: NR. This program gets better every year. Now reigning back-to-back CCAA tournament champions after winning its first-ever CCAA title last year, the Cougars made more history in 2024 by reaching its first-ever DII Women’s Elite Eight. Once there, they pulled off the first-ever No. 8 over No. 1 upset since the current seeding format began in 2017. This team is good, and apparently here to stay.

No. 10 (tied) Azusa Pacific, Fayetteville State | Previous: 4, 10 (tied)

The Cougars were tough all season, and although they didn’t make it to yet another DII Women’s Elite Eight, they may have still been the strongest team in the West Region (sorry, folks, one game does not a season make). Fayetteville State was impressive through its CIAA run and defeated two very tough opponents in the Atlantic Region before falling to Gannon in the finals. Don’t let the way these two teams’ seasons ended fool you.

Just missed: Daemen, Georgia Southwestern, Jefferson, Montana State Billings, Union (TN), Tampa

🏀 The DII basketball all-stats team for March

We can’t just look at the top teams without giving a hat tip to some of the best players throughout the season. For those that have never read, the all-stats team is based purely on statistical leaders in various categories. Some players lead the division in a category, others are in the top 10 of several.

⛹🏽 The DII men’s March all-stats team 

Guard, KJ Jones II, Emmanuel (GA). Jones is one of the easiest picks on the list. The 6-foot-6 guard led DII in scoring for the second-straight year and became just the 13th DII men’s basketball player ever to score 3,000 points in his career.

Guard, Marty Silvera, Southern Connecticut State. Fellow NE10-er Tray Alexander from Pace could slide in here as well, but I went with Silvera, who has been a player who does everything well from the point. Silvera led the NE10 in steals for a second year in a row and his 2.53 per game was sixth in DII. He was third overall in DII men’s basketball in assists with 6.6 per game and had a triple-double on Feb. 17 while adding nearly 15 points per game.

Also considered: Tray Alexander, Pace; Rashad Bolden, Mississippi College; Jake Hilmer, Upper Iowa; Javeon Jones, Catawba; James Patterson, St. Thomas Aquinas

Forward, Martez Brown, Lincoln Memorial. Brown led DII men’s basketball in field-goal percentage (71.9 percent), rebounds with 13.8 per game and double-doubles with 22. Any questions about why he is on this team?

Forward, James Montgomery, Barry. Montgomery had a strong all-around season for the Bucs. He finished second in DII men’s basketball with 12.0 rebounds per game and his 17 double-doubles were tied for second. He even led his team with 69 assists while contributing 16.4 points per game.

Also considered: Deshaun English II, Pittsburg State; Marcus Johnson, Wheeling; Jordan Kellier, West Chester; Milos Vicentic; McKendree

Center, Charles Johnston, Cal State Monterey Bay. Matheus Silveira (Rollins) and Victor Searls (Ashland) were strongly considered here, but Johnston was a steady force all season long. He led all centers and was fifth in DII men’s basketball with 10.7 rebounds per game and was also in the top 15 in field-goal percentage. His 13 double-doubles were most at the position.

⛹🏼‍♀️ The DII women’s all-stats team for March

Guard: Emilee Weakley, Frostburg State (pictured). For the second straight season, Weakley led DII women’s basketball in scoring (25.2 points per game). Want to know what’s more impressive? Weakley is only a sophomore, so she’s never NOT led DII in scoring. She added the 2024 MEC Player of the Year award to her long list of accolades, including last year’s Freshman of the Year.

Guard: Morgan Robinson, Jefferson. There are a lot of worthy candidates here, but Robinson is ideal to run a high-powered offense. She does everything fairly well, as indicated by her two triple-doubles this year, which tied for the division lead. She also led DII in assists per game (8.3) after just missing with a second-place finish last year. She also contributed more than six rebounds per game, doing it all for the Rams.

Also considered: Keeley Carter, Trevecca Nazarene; Lauryn Vieira, Eckerd; Alahna Paige, Daemen

Forward: Jordan Vasquez, Cal State San Marcos. The Cougars made their DII Women’s Elite Eight debut and Vasquez was a large reason why they got there. She was fourth in DII with 11.8 rebounds per game, second in double-doubles, and top 20 in field-goal percentage while chipping in 16.7 points per game. That is a lot of stat-sheet filling right there. 

Forward: Alisha Little, CSU Pueblo. It was a big season for Little, who led all forwards with 11.9 rebounds per game (second over in DII). She also finished No. 5 in DII in points per game (20.8) and was first in DII women’s basketball with 24 double-doubles. In fact, she double-doubled in nine of her last 10 games. Simply put, Little was an absolute force.

Also considered: Faith Simpson, Northwestern Oklahoma State; Kamari Thompson, Coker; Sam Yencha, Jefferson

Center: Lauryn Taylor, Francis Marion. Set an all-time NCAA mark (at all levels for both men’s and women’s basketball) and you pretty much secure your spot on the all-stats team. Taylor did just that, pulling down 43 rebounds on February 15 against North Greenville. She led DII in rebounds per game (15.0), defensive rebounds per game (9.9), offensive rebounds per game (5.0) and was tied for the second-most double-doubles with 22.

Also considered: Madelyn Bragg, Northern State; Karenna Gerber, Pittsburg State; Katelynne Roberts, Missouri S&T

👀 What Wayne’s Watching 👀


⚾️ Central Oklahoma at Missouri Southern, April 5-7

⚾️ Barton at UNC Pembroke, April 5-6

⚾️ Southern New Hampshire at Bentley, April 6-7

⚾️ Tampa at Rollins, April 5-6

⚾️ Nova Southeastern at Saint Leo, April 5-7


🥎 Rollins at Tampa, April 5-6

🥎 Missouri Southern at Pittsburg State, April 6

🥎 Alabama-Huntsville at Auburn Montgomery, April 6

DII lacrosse

🥍 MEN’S: Pace at Bentley, April 3; Rollins at Florida Southern, April 6

🥍 WOMEN’S: Kutztown at West Chester, April 3; Saint Leo at Tampa, April 3

⭐️ Stars of the Week ⭐️

Converse women’s lacrosse’s Hailey Obenchain broke her own program record with nine assists in a game on March 23. The nine assists set the season high for a single game in 2024.

Lincoln Memorial held onto narrowly win the Tennessee River Rumble, a field which included the No. 1 North Georgia Nighthawks who the Railsplitters narrowly snuck by in a one-stroke victory. George Durkan led the way, finishing one under and tied for fifth overall.

Washburn baseball’s Payton McHarg is transitioning nicely to DII baseball, leading the division with 17 home runs. Four of those homers came this past week.

Abby Sulte is leading DII softball in home runs with 23 this season. The Valdosta State outfielder had 20 last year, so it’s been a career year so far. She had a run earlier in the season with a homer in five straight games, as well as launching a dinger in 10 of 12 games. 

Some last fun numbers from the DII women’s basketball championship: Gannon’s Samantha Pirosko had the single-game high of the tourney with 34 points, Jordan Vasquez from Cal State San Marcos had the single-game high with 20 rebounds against Minnesota State, and Eckerd’s Lauryn Vierira had the single-game high with 14 assists. Texas Woman’s Ashley Ingram had four double-doubles.

On the opposite side, Sedrick Altman of CSUSB had the single-game high of the DII men’s basketball championship with 37 points; Akol Arop of Florida Southern had 16 rebounds to set the single-game high of the tournament; and Alex Steen also from the Mocs had games with seven and six blocks. 

On the Radar

🏀 2024 Bevo Francis Award winner announced, April 8.

⚾️ 🥎 First DII baseball and softball regional rankings of 2024, April 24.

🏈 2024 NFL Draft, April 25-27.

🏆 The 2024 DII Championships Festival (Spring), May 19-25: This includes men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, and softball. Visit the DII Festival hub.

🏟DII baseball championship, June 1-8.

⚾️ 2024 MLB Draft, July 14.

Did I miss someone or something? It sure is possible. Don’t forget to drop me a line at [email protected] and get your stars of the week in by every Monday.

Share post:



More like this