So this seems like the year of the superclass in the CVAC. While #1 Longwood doesn’t necessarily have a superclass, they have 6 seniors. Many of the top teams have between 10 and 12 upperclassmen. Lots of teams have very experienced squads.
Cal CAA - 6 in – The top 4 teams in the conference have all been pretty excellent in non-conference play. CSU San Bernardino has a very well balanced super-class with a good balance of inside-outside scoring. What they lack in superior talent they make up for by possibly being the deepest squad in DII. Cal San Diego has some very quick guards on that team, and a very experienced squad as well with 10 upperclassmen. CSU-Stanislaus has been brought from the dead (previously one of the worst programs in DII Iba) by the legendary former Gannon coach bvb24 – they have a mean inside game and a guard that can score on anyone. Pomona is another up-and-coming veteran team with a relatively new coach – they haven’t met a 3-pointer they won’t shoot. Robert Sponge’s seniors are helping lead Grand Canyon back to the NT, but their 6 freshmen will probably help them be an early exit. CSU Los Angeles plays very nasty defense – they’re looking at their first NT bid in a long time
CVAC– 9 in – Nothing needs to be said about Longwood…..many other coaches have already crowned them national title favorites in a conspiratorial jinxing effort never seen before in DII. I guess they’re pretty good this year. Nobody has heard much about Coker for awhile, but they’re really good with tons of quality depth, and look like a #2 seed that could challenge for a #1. Erksine has a balanced and very efficient offense as always. They get to the line a lot and shoot tons of FTs. Bow2dacowz has Pfieffer back on the map – they’re as tough as ever, though they’re probably one season away from a big-time title run. It’s a down season for Belmont Abbey, and it says a lot that they’ll probably be a #5 or #6 seed in a down year. While they’re not super deep, Limestone is recovering from a tough non-conference by winning a lot of CVAC games on the strength of their top 3 or 4 guys. Your team might beat Queens in the NT – but they will come out of the game bruised and bloody – Queens might have the most physical inside attack in DII. Mt. Olive is already on the right path with coach wvufan76 – they seem to like to run a lot and force a ton of turnovers, but don’t shoot very well. Extremely well-balanced Lees-Mcrae should be the 9th team in, if coach dennyj can pull off 3 more wins (he seems to be in this predicament quite often)
Heartland (6 in)
There’s no dominant Heartland squad, but there are many solid, tough teams here. St. Edwards has possibly leapt past St. Marys and Incarnate Word as the team to beat in the Heartland. The Hilltoppers play very rugged defense. Terry Coombs is somehow just a Jr. (though it feels like he’s been at St. Mary’s for 12 seasons) – he’s often unconscious from 3-point land, and St. Mary’s hopes ride on his shoulders. Valdosta St. should make the tourney as a mid-level seed, but with their great recruiting class, they could be scary down the road. Incarnate Word is always tough, but needs to ensure a winning record above all else. Drury refuses to shoot 3’s and passes it inside to David Holmes every single play, but that strategy seems to be leading them to the National Tournament.
GLV (5 in)
With the #4 conference RPI just below the Heartland and Cal CAA, it’s a good season in the Great Lakes Valley, wherever that is. Bellarmine always plays way above their talent – greenhawks might be the best coach in the game – and they already have marquee wins over contenders U of I, San Bernardino, and Hillsdale. Despite Donald Duck at point guard, they might be the most well rounded team in DII Iba, and they’re a NT contender. SIU Edwardsville has a top-notch inside game and is very physical. Well-Balanced U of I has been knocking on the door of the Final Four for quite some time now. This could be the season with the right matchups. Despite losing 5 studs from the national champs, Wisconsin Parkside is still very good and extremely athletic. Mercyhurst should get into the NT, but they need a better outside threat to be competitive.
Peach Belt (5) – Strong Season for the Peach Belt. Watson for AASU is a great guard – he is a deadly 3 point shooter, but you can’t cover him too close because he never misses a free throw. AASU has played the toughest schedule in the country and gotten much better as the season progressed – they could make a real Final Four run. Georgia College has come from absolutely out of nowhere and they look like a real threat to make the National tourney with their extremely balanced offense (no double-figure scorers). Lander was beaten up a lot in non-conference, and this is a down year for them , but they should still make the tourney. Columbus St.and Augusta St. should be in as double-digit seeds. Augusta St. is very dangerous and athletic but has underachieved – they need 4 more wins to get in.
Hillsdale might have the best inside scoring duo in the nation. They are absolutely no joke, and could be in the final four with the right matchups. Michigan Tech coach and newcomer ACEROTHSTEIN has set the GLIAC record for most wins by a coach that leaves the Caps Lock on. They like to score a lot of points and out-run the opposition.
Northeast 10 (2 in)
Bryant is the best team in the conference, and they play sound,fundamental basketball under veteran coach gopokes. Nevertheless, they don’t have the speed and athleticism to keep up with the big dogs. St. Michael’s or Assumption will probably be the 2nd team in…..I’ll go with Assumption because of their senior leadership
Great NW (2 in)
Only 2 teams might get in, but they are both extremely dangerous. Dave Redden has put together a ridiculous team of 12 seniors and juniors, all of which share the ball freely without complaint. Humboldt St. could be a shoo-in for the Final Four. Seattle is a Final Four candidate as well, being the only team to beat Longwood so far. They have two great guards that love to penetrate, but can hit the 3 when called upon. Central Washington could get in if they go on a late run.
Rocky Mountain (3) – the best tourney for the Rockies in a while last season, with Mesa and Adams both making deep runs. 3 teams should most likely get in this season. Mesa St. might be my sleeper team in the whole tourney. They will quite possibly be a 8 or 9 seed and could upset a #1 seed in the 2nd round. They have 10 upperclassmen led by Plyler, a great scoring guard. Adams St. isn’t too deep, but Torian and Raskin are beasts, and the team as a whole plays great defense. They took a dangerous Hillsdale team to OT as well. Chadron St. might make their first national tourney in over 40 seasons. They would probably be one and done, but it still would be nice to see.
ECC (2 in)
The same Mercy team that crapped on Longwood’s hopes and dreams en route to a national title game defeat has caught everyone’s attention now, especially with their extremely athletic roster. Despite losing their 2 biggest non-conference games, they are still a difficult matchup. Behind speedy PG Richard Caba, NY Tech plans to return to the NT after a 1-year hiatus. Depth issues might be a problem for them in the tourney.
WVIAC – (4) – Probably 4 double digit seeds here, according to the projections. Fairmont St. is much better than their record/RPI indicates, and could take off w/ the conference title. Charleston and Concord are always around, and will be solid bets to at least give their first round opponents quite a struggle. Salem Int. is taking advantage of the “more than 6 seniors for teams with robot coaches waiver”and they could make the tourney as a 15 or 16 seed.
Lone Star(3 in)
SE Oklahoma St. basketball is the thing to do in Durant, Oklahoma. A dangerous squad, they are great efficient shooters and go 9 deep with upperclassmen. They don’t shoot from the outside often, but when they do, they make them. Northeastern St. is solid and well-balanced as always, and should be a mid-level seed. Abiliene Christian gets by on Puzinki’s 3point shooting, which is excellent. Puzinski might also be the worst defensive player on planet earth, so ACU is happy that he can shoot.
Lower tier of conferences
Cen. Atlantic – 2 in - New Jersey Tech should get in with a pretty mediocre seed. U. of the Sciences have a low RPI due to a grueling non-conference run, including an unforgiving Yarnell tourney – but they should improve in the projection report due to a favorable upcoming schedule. With wins over Seattle and NJ tech, U of the Sciences looks like the better of the 2 teams.
Central – 1 in. Is it the end of an era? Bowie St. will have to pull some strings to get their 21st straight NT appearance, but it’s not looking good for them this season. Led by the great offensive talent of big man Donald Taylor (23ppg), Fayeteville St. looks like they should take this one-bid conference.
Gulf South(2 in)
The Gulf South is on its way back with an influx of coaching talent. However, they are still not doing so well as a conference. West Georgia plays ugly basketball – they should make the tourney and frustrate someone with their glacial pace. Harding might be a 13 or 14 seed, which could be a huge disappointment for the 3 or 4 seed they face. Nobody wants to go up against Coach Hacker Hog in the first round.
Mid America (1 in)
Washburn is the only team worth talking about here – and they are very interesting. Basically, they have built the Loyola Marymount of DII Iba, scoring 96 points a game, and allowing free baskets if they don’t immediately steal the ball from the opposition. They have 7 guys in double figures. They have not played much of a schedule, but did come within one point of beating Pfieffer, so they definitely are a very tough matchup. I’d be surprised if anyone else in this conference does anything in the postseason.
North America (1 in)
Not only are they pretty much the worst conference in DII Iba this season, but the teams also have to make 2500 mile road trips for games frequently. Depressing season in the N. American conference. W. Oregon is the favorite, but the bid basically goes to whoever wins the conference tourney, and they’ll probably end up with a 15 or 16 seed.
North Central (1 in)
Crap, nevermind. This conference is probably even worse than the North America Conference. Nebraska, Omaha should win the conference, but don’t expect much noise from them in the tourney as a 15 or16 seed. At least they get to drive around the Dakotas on their road trips all season long. I hear Bismarck is lovely in the winter.
Northern Sun (1 in)
Wayne St. is not the #1 team in the conference right now, but they’ll almost definitely find their way in the tourney, like always. Michael Sowder is one of the best unknown guards in the country.
Penn St (2) – Both E. Stroudsburg and Bloomsburg should get in. E. Stroudsburg has very efficient, well rounded scoring. Bloomsburg relies heavily on SF Howard Delassio, who can score from anywhere. Upsets are always possible, but I would predict that these squads are one-and-done in the tourney.
S.Atlantic (1) – this is a pretty bad conference. Solid yet unspectacular Green Mountain should get into the tourney by winning all the games they’re supposed to win. They give up only 54 points a game, which is impressive, no matter how easy their schedule is.
Southern (2) – Miles is very interesting. They’ve played a cupcake schedule, losing their only game this season to the one very good team on the schedule (Eckerd). Their only marquee win is beating a decent Charleston team in Charleston. However, they score a whopping 99 points a game, and have 11 upperclassmen. They could make a deep run, or get pummeled in the 1st round – it’s hard to say. Despite Johnny 5 and his ****-poor predictable coaching, Kentucky St. might make the NT for their second straight season. This is most likely because the rest of the schools in the Southern conference are really bad, and Kentucky St. somehow managed to circumvent HD rules and carry 8 seniors on the roster.
Sunshine (1) – Eckerd is pretty good ,as always, despite their pretty bad conference. They mix up their gameplans a lot, and have a balanced team with 9 upperclassmen. Florida Southern could sneak in as the 2nd seed, but they probably wont. The rest of this conference is pretty bad. This is mostly because the players keep getting seasick - because of conference budget cuts, players have been forced to take sailboats rather than planes on their road trips to Puerto Rico.