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Thank you, Lauren Hill

This was written on March 30, 2015 in the hopes Lauren could read a thank you note and hear the my admiration before she left us far too soon.

The Division III basketball season has come to a close and with it another memorable year of games. Two national champions were crowned including one who many expected to make a run and did it while staying undefeated. Another made an improbable run for a team that was supposed to be “down” but ended up shutting down others.

But what is most impressive … Lauren Hill is still with us.

Lauren Hill hits layup to start game against Hiram on November 2, 2014.

The freshman forward for Mt. St. Joseph wasn’t supposed to see the start of the season (November 15). She wasn’t supposed to make it to December. Then Christmas. Now no one wants to know what date she can’t make it by, but rather find out what event she is trying to get to and see.

Lauren Hill captured the entire country’s attention back in late October when she was thrust into the spotlight and brought pediatric brain cancer along into the light. In particular, DIPG or Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. No one had ever heard of it. That’s because it usually affects children between five and ten and only accounts for roughly a 100 cases every year in this country. But here was an 18 year old who had been diagnosed with DIPG a year earlier and wasn’t expected to make it to the traditional start of the season – the average life span past diagnosis: nine to twelve months.

So Lauren’s coach and team decided to try and play early. Their opponent didn’t hesitate and agreed to move up the date two weeks. A nearby Division I school offered their arena for the game. And then the NCAA granted the early game.

That was going to be it. Lauren’s swan song. Raise awareness for an incredibly debilitating disease that has no cure, play in a college basketball game to achieve a lifetime dream, and eventually fade into the sunset while the rest of us tipped our hats.

But she is still here.

Lauren Hill not only made the start of the season, she played in a few more games and made a few more baskets. Hill not only made it to December, she streamrolled through Christmas and New Year’s and was with her MSJ team whenever she could. In the meantime, she became an honorary assistant coach and raised over $1.2 million before the close of 2014. There are jerseys bearing her 22 from teams around the country signed by Lauren adorning homes, offices, and studios like mine that not only raised money for childhood cancer research, but also remind us how one person can make a huge impact.

Despite her undying attitude to continue living, inspiring, and fighting cancer, no one expected the regular season to end with Lauren still in our lives. But there I was, sitting in front of a camera from my home studios participating in the NCAA Division III Basketball Selection Shows when host Kyle Binder asked me about Lauren Hill. I couldn’t believe she was alive to see the post-season begin. She was still alive the day Thomas More and UW-Stevens Point hoisted the walnut and bronze. And she is still alive as Division I marches to Indianapolis and Tampa.

At that incredible game on Nov. 2 at the Xavier Center, Lauren Hill was given the Pat Summitt Most Courageous award by Pat Summitt herself. It had never been handed out to anyone outside of the women’s final four. In fact, the board of directors for the United States Basketball Writers Association had unanimously agreed to give her the award then because everyone knew she wouldn’t be around to receive the award herself in Tampa.

We are a week away from basketball being played in Tampa.

So in that spirit, I thought it best to write a thank you note to Lauren Hill before she isn’t around to see it. Who knows when that day will come when her body finally has had enough, but I know if I wait any longer that day will come and go and the note will never have been written.

Dear Lauren,
                Thank you.
                Thank you for being more than another person with cancer whose stories we all know.
                Thank you for being more than an athlete who wants to raise awareness for an important cause.
                Thank you for proving it’s more than a game that can rally people.
                Thank you for taking a torch you never knew you were going to hold and carrying it further than anyone knew you could carry it.
                Thank you for making something of your situation and inspiring others to do more than simply applaud.
                Thank you for inspiring even your teammates to do greater things.
                Thank you for inspiring those who don’t even know you to play a game in your honor, raise funds for a disease they don’t understand, give up a jersey possibly right off their own backs, do layups with their off-hand while dizzy to make you smile, to Play for 22.
                Thank you for letting us see you fight. For seeing you change physically as you battle to stay alive, but not change mentally and emotionally. You inspired by allowing people into such a private ordeal.
                Thank you for starting the basketball season with a game and a moment that cannot be outdone by any team, person, or championship.

Lauren Hill with her teammates.

                Thank you for letting people realize there is more to life than personal matters. I can’t help but think of one of your teammates who was getting ready for her final season and injured her knee so badly her season seemed to end before it began. And then her courage and the training staff’s efforts to get her on the court to play next to you on November 2 because she wanted to be there for you. And all you could do was try and be there for her.
                Thank you for having a voice and not being afraid to use it.
                Thank you for keeping it all in perspective. How little did we understand when you corrected Brad Johanson on the air and said this wasn’t your final game… it was simply your first game.
                Thank you for showing people you don’t have to be a billionaire, a politician, a movie or rock star, a professional athlete, or a member of a NCAA Division I powerhouse to have the ability to focus an entire nation – heck, the entire word – on a disease so brutal no one dared talk about it. Now everyone talks about pediatric brain cancer.
                 And thank you for being you. You have smiled through it all. You have laughed. You have even cried, but not because you are afraid of dying. No, you are more worried about your loved ones and how they will deal with your departure. You have made fighting cancer graceful and you have made living life inspiring.
                Many people have quoted Jimmy Valvano when it comes to fighting cancer, as they should. We were all then reminded of that fight and inspiring words this past summer when Stuart Scott graced the ESPYs stage over 21 years later. My hope is you are still on the minds of people when the ESPYs air in July and the basketballs are tipped next November. My hope is when they think of Jimmy V’s and Stuart Scott’s inspiring battles, they remember yours as well.
                You have lived the words of Jimmy V and Stuart Scott even if you don’t realize it.
                Jimmy V: “Never give up. Don’t ever give up.” You haven’t.
                Stuart Scott: “When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived, and in the manner in which you lived.” Boy have you lived!
                Scott also said, “and when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.” Lauren, when you have had enough, lie down. Rest. Let the rest of us fight for you. You have already inspired people to stand up and fight for you. And for that, I thank you.


Eian Davis Albertus MagnusThe final public NCAA regional rankings were released Wednesday afternoon. The committees create one more ranking on Sunday, March 1, but do not release it to the public.

Need to know more about the regional rankings process and what they mean? Need to know more about the NCAA Tournament? Check out our NCAA Tournament FAQ.

The second record is Division III record, followed by overall.
Through games of Sunday, Feb. 22.

NCAA Division III men’s basketball championships handbook

Men’s rankings
Atlantic Region – NCAA data sheet
1 Richard Stockton 20-5 20-5
2 William Paterson 19-6 19-6
3 Baruch 19-6 19-6
4 Brooklyn 21-5 21-5
5 Rutgers-Newark 18-8 18-8
6 Sage 20-4 21-4
7 Misericordia 19-6 19-6

Central – NCAA data sheet
1 Augustana 21-4 21-4
2 UW-Whitewater 21-2 22-3
3 UW-Stevens Point 21-4 21-4
4 Washington U. 19-5 19-5
5 St. Norbert 22-1 22-1
6 Illinois Wesleyan 18-7 18-7
7 Elmhurst 19-6 19-6
8 North Central (Ill.) 16-7 18-7

EastNCAA data sheet
1 St. John Fisher 21-4 21-4
2 Plattsburgh State 18-7 18-7
3 Hobart 18-6 18-7
4 Skidmore 17-7 17-7
5 NYU 16-8 16-8
6 Clarkson 18-6 19-6

Great Lakes – NCAA data sheet
1 Marietta 23-2 23-2
2 Ohio Wesleyan 21-4 21-4
3 Wooster 20-5 20-5
4 John Carroll 19-5 19-5
5 Mount Union 19-6 19-6
6 Penn State-Behrend 23-2 23-2
7 Calvin 18-5 19-6
8 St. Vincent 18-6 19-6
9 Hope 16-7 17-8

Mid-Atlantic – NCAA data sheet
1 Johns Hopkins 22-3 22-3
2 Dickinson 20-5 20-5
3 Catholic 21-3 21-4
4 Franklin and Marshall 20-5 20-5
5 Scranton 20-5 20-5
6 St. Mary’s (Md.) 18-4 20-4

Northeast – NCAA data sheet
1 Babson 23-2 23-2
2 Trinity (Conn.) 19-4 20-5
3 Amherst 19-6 19-6
4 Bates 19-6 19-6
5 Eastern Connecticut 21-4 21-4
6 WPI 21-4 21-4
7 Albertus Magnus 24-1 24-1
8 Bowdoin 18-7 18-7
9 Springfield 18-7 18-7
10 Southern Vermont 21-2 22-3
11 Wesleyan 17-8 17-8

South – NCAA data sheet
1 Randolph-Macon 23-2 23-2
2 Emory 19-5 19-5
3 Virginia Wesleyan 20-4 21-4
4 East Texas Baptist 20-5 20-5
5 Centre 19-4 20-4
6 Hardin-Simmons 19-6 19-6
7 Rhodes 18-5 18-6
8 Mary Hardin-Baylor 17-8 17-8

West – NCAA data sheet
1 St. Thomas 22-3 22-3
2 St. Olaf 21-4 21-4
3 Buena Vista 18-6 18-7
4 Whitman 19-4 20-5
5 Whitworth 22-3 22-3
6 Dubuque 19-5 20-5
7 Bethel 17-8 17-8


The first record is Division III record, followed by overall record.


1 Montclair State 24-1 24-1
2 FDU-Florham 24-1 24-1
3 Cabrini 22-3 22-3
4 Richard Stockton 20-5 20-5
5 Eastern 19-4 21-4
6 Baruch 22-4 22-4
7 Brooklyn 19-6 19-6
8 Rowan 16-9 17-9

1 Wheaton (Ill.) 19-3 22-3
2 Washington U. 21-2 22-2
3 North Central (Ill.) 20-4 21-4
4 St. Norbert 20-3 20-3
5 Wisconsin Lutheran 21-4 21-4
6 Chicago 17-6 18-6
7 UW-Oshkosh 18-6 19-6
8 Spalding 18-3 18-3
9 UW-Superior 18-6 18-7

1 Geneseo 21-3 21-4
2 New York University 20-4 20-4
3 Ithaca 21-4 21-4
4 Stevens 22-3 22-3
5 St. John Fisher 19-6 19-6
6 Cortland 20-5 20-5
7 St. Lawrence 19-6 19-6

Great Lakes
1 Thomas More 23-0 25-0
2 Calvin 23-0 25-0
3 DePauw 23-1 23-1
4 John Carroll 22-3 22-3
5 Transylvania 23-1 24-1
6 Hope 22-3 22-3
7 Ohio Northern 20-5 20-5
8 St. Vincent 21-4 21-4
9 Baldwin Wallace 19-6 19-6

1 Scranton 23-2 23-2
2 Salisbury 23-2 23-2
3 Stevenson 21-3 21-3
4 McDaniel 23-2 23-2
5 Muhlenberg 18-7 18-7
6 Albright 19-6 19-6

1 Tufts 24-1 24-1
2 Amherst 23-2 23-2
3 Bowdoin 21-3 22-3
4 Williams 20-5 20-5
5 University of New England 20-5 20-5
6 Westfield State 21-4 21-4
7 Mass-Dartmouth 18-7 18-7
8 Springfield 19-6 19-6
9 Roger Williams 19-6 19-6
10 Eastern Connecticut 17-8 17-8
11 Norwich 19-4 21-4
12 Castleton 21-4 21-4
(The NCAA notes the GNAC did not cast a ballot in this week’s ranking.)

1 Texas-Tyler 24-1 24-1
2 Eastern Mennonite 21-2 21-3
3 Maryville 23-2 23-2
4 Randolph-Macon 20-3 20-4
5 Texas-Dallas 21-4 21-4
6 Trinity (Texas) 19-5 20-5
7 Lynchburg 17-8 17-8
8 Louisiana College 16-7 16-7
9 Millsaps 18-5 20-5

1 George Fox 24-0 25-0
2 St. Thomas 25-0 25-0
3 Puget Sound 20-3 22-3
4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 21-3 22-3
5 Whitworth 15-4 21-4
6 Luther 18-5 20-5
7 Bethel 20-4 20-5
8 Dubuque 17-8 17-8

Regional score reporting forms (including SOS) below:
Atlantic | Central | East | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast | South | West


This week the top half of the ballot was pretty simple, the bottom half… yeah… well… here we go again.

It is just difficult to really figure out who the best 25 teams are in the country this season. If I don’t have 40 teams I am considering, I am not spending enough time on the project each week. In other words, the more time I spend, the more teams I add to the list. Sure, it would be easy to save myself the time and the patience and just go with a short number of teams. However, this season I have had the bad feeling that I am missing out on someone or there is a team flying under the radar I just haven’t paid enough attention to. As a result, I keep looking around and finding others I want to at least consider – dive into their numbers and season and see what I find. Usually that leads me to teams like Penn State-Behrend, Southern Vermont, or others who have gaudy records, low SOS numbers, below-average conferences, and interesting out-of-conference results. Sometimes I wait these teams out a little longer; other times I go with my gut and add them. In all cases, I am waiting for my gut to be wrong (maybe I am a pessimist at this whole thing – especially this year).

This week, I certainly had 40 teams – leaving myself 25 teams to slot into the final ten spots. I decided to cut bait on some teams that are just not finishing the season well while waiting a couple others out. I left some teams out that probably deserve to be in; I left some on the ballot that probably need to go. It is a lose-lose scenario sometimes.

One thing I know for sure… in a week’s time… I suspect I will be throwing my entire ballot out and starting over. Does anyone really think the majority of the Top 25 is going to get through conference tournaments unscathed?

As always before we begin, here is a look at last week’s ballot:

1 – Randolph-Macon
2 – UW-Whitewater
3 – Babson
4 – St. Thomas
5 – Augustana
6 – St. Norbert
7 – WPI
8 – UW-Stevens Point
9 – Virginia Wesleyan
10 – Dickinson
11 – Marietta
12 – Albertus Magnus
13 – St. John Fisher
14 – Emory
15 – Johns Hopkins
16 – Ohio Wesleyan
17 – Elmhurst
18 – Chapman
19 – Whitworth
20 – Catholic
21 – Wooster
22 – New York Univ.
23 – St. Olaf
24 – Washington Univ.
25 – Penn State-Behrend

And now on to this week’s ballot with some explanations for some of the moves:

1 – Randolph-Macon* (Unchanged)
First undefeated ODAC season in program history and the first ODAC team to accomplish the feat since 2001 (Hampden-Sydney)… impressive! Now they have to get through the ODAC tournament at the Salem Civic Center. A gauntlet that has tripped up many a top-seed… including the Yellow Jackets just last year.

2 – UW-Whitewater (Unchanged)

3 – Babson (Unchanged)

4 – Augustana (Up 1)

5 – St. Thomas (Down 1)
I thought about moving the Tommies down even further than just one spot, but I just can’t move them below some teams right now. I am worried about consistency from St. Thomas. You can’t go and blow the socks off a team like St. Olaf on the road and then roll over against Bethel at home if you are really that good this year and want to make a decent run in the NCAA tournament. The advantage UST has is they will probably be on the road at least to start the NCAA tourney (women get rights to host first weekend), but that loss could have also cost St. Thomas a hosting chance at hosting the second weekend.

6 – St. Norbert (Unchanged)
Another undefeated season in the MWC. Wow. This is a really good team, it appears. But they are really going to have to prove themselves in the NCAA tournament because I just don’t see a way for them to avoid a major Central Region team in the first weekend.

7 – WPI* (Unchanged)

8 – UW-Stevens Point (Unchanged)

9 – Virginia Wesleyan (Unchanged)
If there is one thing I will say about the Marlins… who have they really beaten? They finished second in the ODAC and got beat by Randolph-Macon in some very good games, but I am starting to get nervous that Virginia Wesleyan doesn’t have a signature win this season. Are the Marlins overrated? Just stuff I ponder, but sure I believe just yet.

10 – Marietta (Up 1)

11 – Albertus Magnus (Up 1)
Despite a really close call to Emmanuel (buzzer beater to force overtime and then win going away), I just don’t have anywhere else to put other teams. Those now below AMC didn’t seem to deserve being ahead of the Falcons. I really hope AMC doesn’t trip in the conference tournament risking the chance to make the NCAA tournament, because I think the Falcons could be dangerous. I just don’t know what kind of match-ups are in store for AMC.

12 – Dickinson (Down 3)
The Red Devils are worrying me. They aren’t finishing the season strong. I still think they make the NCAA tournament even if they lose in the semifinals against Franklin & Marshall* on Friday, but the way Dickinson lost to F&M on Saturday is a little concerning. That’s three losses in the last five games with a win over Johns Hopkins in the middle. I probably should have moved Dickinson down a little more. Here’s hoping the talented senior class decides this is not how their careers is going to end – stumbling to the finish.

13 – Emory (Up 1)

14 – Johns Hopkins* (Up 1)
I debated about flipping the Blue Jays and Dickinson, but decided the recent win by Dickinson was good enough to not make that move. However, Johns Hopkins may very well be the better team of the two. The blue-collar, bring a lunch pail to work mentality to this team doesn’t overwhelm you when you watch them, but they get the job done. Hopkins is one of those dark horses who might surprise in a few weeks.

15 – Ohio Wesleyan (Up 1)

16 – Whitworth (Up 3)

17 – St. John Fisher (Down 4)
Not the time of the year to start losing! The Cardinals lost to Alfred and Stevens in the last three games – all in the past week – but luckily had such a commanding lead in the Empire 8 it didn’t cost them. However, it might be hard to get the right match-ups in the NCAA tournament now and if St. John Fisher loses again they might be out as a host the first weekend! Talk about all that hard work being for nothing. Hopefully SJF takes flight again and finds their mojo!

18 – Wooster (Up 3)

19 – Washington Univ.* (Up 5)
Ok… good weekend for the Bears. Beat Brandeis and New York Univ.* to make up for the lousy trip to New York City last month. Despite a crazy season, Washington Univ. is positioned to win the UAA title and get the automatic bid to the tournament. They just have to get past Chicago* which handed them one of their worst losses of the season. The one thing going for Wash U – Chicago has to go to St. Louis. It will be a mini-conference title game between the Bears and Maroons with Emory hoping for just the right outcome (along with a win) to take the title from both of them!

20 – St. Mary’s (Md.) (Unranked)
Here’s one of those teams that might have been flying under the radar. I took a long, hard look at the Seahawks this week. They are 20-4 right now (producing their sixth 20-win season in the last seven years), they are on a 12-game winning streak, and they haven’t had a “close” game (less than double-digits) since a five point win over Mary Washington on February 4. They may not have a great SOS (thanks to losing two games and a lousy bottom part of the conference), but they are also markedly improved from the team that lost to Eastern Mennonite and Delaware Valley* to start the season. Could I be buying in a little too much? Maybe. But this team could create some nasty match-up problems in the NCAA tournament. Who knows… maybe the year no one was paying attention to SMC was the perfect year for them.

21 – Catholic* (Down 1)
I can’t say I was surprised Catholic lost to Scranton* on the road. Scranton needed that win badly and playing in the Long Center is anything but easy. It did bring to the end a 15 game winning streak. The Landmark Conference tournament still goes through Washington, DC and hopefully CUA realizes that loss is the perfect jolt to their season.

22 – Southern Vermont (Unranked)
Hmm… could the Mountaineers be one of the most underrated teams in the Northeast? Ok, I might be going a little too far, but considering Southern Vermont hasn’t lost since a close game against Bates on January 3 and has gone undefeated in a conference they hadn’t won more than 10 games in … ever … SVC may be a team to watch. They once again started the season with a win over Williams, but hard to read them with a ho-hum out-of-conference schedule. But as I have said in the past, I look at win streaks this time of year with a little extra credit… 15-straight for the Mountaineers means they haven’t beaten themselves just yet.

23 – Penn State-Behrend (Up 2)

24 – St. Olaf (Down 1)
I am tried not to jump to too many conclusions with the Oles lost to St. Thomas. Yes, it was on their home court and, yes, it wasn’t close. Those are all big concerns for me. However, St. Olaf is 21-4 and that is a significant mark for this squad. Maybe I should be cutting bait like I did last time, however I also regretted that move a week later. Let’s see how St. Olaf does in the MIAC tournament.

25 – Elmhurst (Down 8)
They played one game this week and got blown out on the road at Illinois Wesleyan. I know the CCIW is tough this season, but at some point you have to stand up and at least be competitive in a game you had a week to prepare for! Those are all the reasons I probably should have dropped the Blue Jays from my ballot. The only reason I didn’t… I just couldn’t argue anyone else ahead of them right now. Or I could, but I wasn’t confident in them either. Rematch with IWU (at Augustana) is coming this week.

Dropped out:

Chapman (Previously 18)
Chapman is struggling to keep it together, it would appear. They have lost four of their last eight in groupings of two-at-a-time and have lost two of those games to 9-15 Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer. I know the SCIAC is “interesting” this season, but Chapman might be running out of gas at the wrong time in the season. And watch out… a red-hot Caltech team is coming to town Tuesday night. I just can’t keep riding on the Panthers bandwagon right now.

New York Univ.* (Previously 22)
Guh. Talk about not matching what I have seen in person. The Violets jumped into the national conversation with a pretty darn good weekend at home against Wash U* and Chicago*, but just haven’t been able to keep up the pressure since including losing badly to Wash U (97-75) and Chicago (77-60) on the road this past weekend. I think NYU is a dangerous team if they make the NCAA tournament. The problem is I think they just ended any hope of playing in the NCAAs with this past weekend’s results.

* – teams I have seen in person versus most who I have seen on video.

Previous ballots:
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11

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rmc-giggetts-actionThe second NCAA regional rankings were released Thursday morning. One more ranking will follow on Feb. 25, along with one on Sunday, March 1, which we do not get to see.

If you’ve missed it, the men’s region formerly known as the Midwest was renamed the Central Region this season, and the WIAC was moved into that region from the West. Other conferences moved, primarily between the Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic regions, for both men and women. Need to know more about the regional rankings process and what they mean? Need to know more about the NCAA Tournament? Check out our NCAA Tournament FAQ.

The second record is Division III record, followed by overall.
Through games of Sunday, Feb. 15.

NCAA Division III men’s basketball championships handbook

Men’s rankings
Atlantic Region – NCAA data sheet

1 Richard Stockton 19-5 19-5
2 William Paterson 19-5 19-5
3 Baruch 18-5 18-5
4 Brooklyn 19-5 19-5
5 Rutgers-Newark 16-8 16-8
6 Sage Colleges 18-4 19-4
7 Staten Island 17-7 17-7

Central – NCAA data sheet

1 Augustana (IL) 20-4 20-4
2 Wis.-Whitewater 19-2 20-3
3 Wis.-Stevens Point 20-4 20-4
4 Washington-St. Louis 17-5 17-5
5 Elmhurst 19-5 19-5
6 St. Norbert 21-1 21-1
7 Ill. Wesleyan 17-7 17-7
8 North Central (IL) 15-7 17-7

East – NCAA data sheet

1 St. John Fisher 20-2 20-2
2 Plattsburgh St. 16-6 16-6
3 NYU 16-6 16-6
4 Hobart 16-6 16-7
5 Skidmore 16-7 16-7
6 Clarkson 17-5 18-5

Great Lakes – NCAA data sheet
1 Marietta 21-2 21-2
2 Ohio Wesleyan 19-4 19-4
3 Wooster 18-5 18-5
4 Mount Union 18-5 18-5
5 John Carroll 17-5 17-5
6 Case 12-6 14-7
7 Calvin 16-5 17-6
8 Penn St.-Behrend 21-2 21-2
9 Hope 14-7 15-8

Mid-Atlantic – NCAA data sheet
1 Johns Hopkins 20-3 20-3
2 Dickinson 19-4 19-4
3 Catholic 20-2 20-3
4 Frank. & Marsh. 19-4 19-4
5 Scranton 18-5 18-5
6 St. Mary’s (MD) 16-4 18-4

Northeast – NCAA data sheet
1 Babson 21-2 21-2
2 Bates 18-5 18-5
3 Trinity (CT) 18-4 19-5
4 Amherst 18-6 18-6
5 Eastern Conn. St. 19-4 19-4
6 WPI 19-4 19-4
7 Bowdoin 17-6 17-6
8 Springfield 16-7 16-7
9 Albertus Magnus 21-1 21-1
10 Rhode Island Col. 16-7 16-7
11 Southern Vt. 19-2 20-3

South – NCAA data sheet
1 Randolph-Macon 21-2 21-2
2 Emory 17-5 17-5
3 East Tex. Baptist 19-4 19-4
4 Va. Wesleyan 18-4 19-4
5 Centre 17-4 18-4
6 Hardin-Simmons 17-6 17-6
7 Louisiana College 13-5 13-9
8 Mary Hardin-Baylor 16-7 16-7

West – NCAA data sheet
1 St. Thomas (MN) 20-2 20-2
2 St. Olaf 20-3 20-3
3 Buena Vista 17-5 17-6
4 Dubuque 18-4 19-4
5 Whitman 17-4 18-5
6 Whitworth 20-3 20-3
7 Chapman 13-3 18-3


The first record is in-region record, followed by overall record.



1 Montclair State 23-1 23-1
2 FDU-Florham 22-1 22-1
3 Cabrini 21-3 21-3
4 Richard Stockton 20-4 20-4
5 Eastern 17-4 19-4
6 Baruch 19-4 19-4
7 Rowan 16-7 17-7
8 Brooklyn 18-5 18-5


1 Wheaton (Illinois) 18-3 21-3
2 Washington U in St. Louis 19-2 20-2
3 North Central (Illinois) 19-4 20-4
4 St. Norbert 19-3 19-3
5 Wisconsin-Oshkosh 18-4 19-4
6 Wisconsin Lutheran 19-4 19-4
7 Chicago 15-6 16-6
8 Wisconsin-Superior 17-5 17-6
9 Spalding 16-3 16-3


1 New York University 20-2 20-2
2 SUNY Geneseo 18-3 18-4
3 Ithaca 19-4 19-4
4 Stevens 19-3 19-3
5 SUNY Cortland 19-4 19-4
6 St. John Fisher 17-5 17-5
7 St. Lawrence 18-5 18-5

Great Lakes

1 Thomas More 21-0 23-0
2 Calvin 20-0 22-0
3 DePauw 22-1 22-1
4 John Carroll 20-3 20-3
5 Hope 21-2 21-2
6 Transylvania 21-1 22-1
7 Saint Vincent 20-3 20-3
8 Baldwin Wallace 18-5 18-5
9 Ohio Northern 18-5 18-5


1 Salisbury 22-1 22-1
2 Scranton 22-2 22-2
3 Stevenson 20-2 20-2
4 McDaniel 22-1 22-1
5 Muhlenberg 16-6 16-6
6 Albright 17-6 17-6


1 Tufts 23-1 23-1
2 Amherst 21-2 21-2
3 Bowdoin 20-3 21-3
4 Williams 19-5 19-5
5 University of New England 19-4 19-4
6 Springfield 18-6 18-6
7 Massachusetts Dartmouth 17-6 17-6
8 Westfield State 19-4 19-4
9 Eastern Connecticut State 15-8 15-8
10 Roger Williams 17-6 17-6
11 Norwich 17-4 19-4
12 Castleton 20-4 20-4


1 Texas-Tyler 23-1 23-1
2 Eastern Mennonite 19-2 19-3
3 Randolph-Macon 18-3 18-4
4 Maryville (Tennessee) 21-2 21-2
5 Texas-Dallas 19-4 19-4
6 Lynchburg 16-7 16-7
7 Trinity (Texas) 18-5 19-5
8 Louisiana College 16-5 16-5
9 Piedmont 18-5 18-5


1 George Fox 22-0 23-0
2 St. Thomas (Minnesota) 23-0 23-0
3 Whitworth 14-3 20-3
4 Puget Sound 18-3 20-3
5 Luther 17-4 19-4
6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 19-3 20-3
7 Bethel (Minnesota) 19-3 19-4
8 Whitman 12-6 15-8

Regional score reporting forms (including SOS) below:
Atlantic | Central | East | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast | South | West

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This week was hard. Plain and simple. Hard.

The most challenging part was picking a number one team. Simply put: who really is the best team in the country this season? There is no way there will be a consensus pick (as I write this before the rankings have been published). I ended up coming down to picking between four teams. I could see an argument for six.

I considered St. Thomas, UW-Whitewater, Randolph-Macon, and Babson and eventually went with … Randolph-Macon. It wasn’t easy. I probably thought about the number one vote in some capacity for three or so hours. I mulled over schedules, results, SOS numbers, lottery numbers, quantum physics, and even threw a dart or two. Every single team I considered had results on their schedules I didn’t like, flaws with their teams, and concerns with the last two weeks. There just wasn’t a team that jumped up and looked like a number one team.

But it got harder after that. So many teams once again lost last week. I had twelve losses on my previous ballot. Not a record, but certainly not good. I tried to stick with many of the “rules” I had set to governing how I moved teams around, but some of those rules (like losing to a team ranked ahead of you) got me in trouble with leaving teams on my ballot that really argued to not be there anymore. And of course with a season so wide open, there are far more teams I am considering for the Top 25 than I have room for on my ballot.

As always before we begin, here is a look at last week’s ballot:

1 – St. Thomas
2 – UW-Whitewater
3 – Marietta
4 – Randolph-Macon
5 – Babson
6 – Virginia Wesleyan
7 – St. Norbert
8 – Augustana
9 – WPI
10 – Dickinson
11 – Chapman
12 – Albertus Magnus
13 – St. John Fisher
14 – UW-Stevens Point
15 – Johns Hopkins
16 – Emory
17 – Ill. Wesleyan
18 – Ohio Wesleyan
19 – Whitworth
20 – Elmhurst
21 – Catholic
22 – Wooster
23 – New York Univ.
24 – Washington Univ.
25 – Chicago

And now on to this week’s ballot with some explanations for some of the moves:

1 – Randolph-Macon* (Up 4)
I’d be lying if I told you this felt comfortable. The loss at home to Frostburg State on November 30 still bothers me. But here is the kicker: The Yellow Jackets haven’t loss since. 18 straight. And with an ever larger target on their back, Randolph-Macon continues to get the job done even when the games might not be pretty. We already know RMC is playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country, but they have also beaten everyone including Virginia Wesleyan twice. Undefeated in the ODAC with two to play… that just doesn’t happen! In fact, the last time a team went undefeated in the ODAC was 2000 (Hampden-Sydney)!

2 – UW-Whitewater (Unchanged)
It came down to the fact I couldn’t knock the Warhawks for losing to a certainly underrated UW-Stevens Point squad. Furthermore, Whitewater didn’t have probably their best player on the floor due to apparently a personal matter (just as Stevens Point didn’t have their best player on the floor due to injury when the two teams first met). Maybe I am giving the Warhawks a little too much credit since they have three losses – two of them in Division III. However, there is something unflappable about UWW that just makes me feel fine with them at number two.

3 – Babson (Up 2)
I think the Beavers are underrated. They have lost twice to very good teams, Bates and WPI, and avenged that conference loss to WPI* a few weeks ago. Certainly they have had some tight games, but they are winning and getting contributions deep on their bench. They have also played a far more difficult schedule than people want to give them credit for including wins over Bowdoin and Amherst this season.

4 – St. Thomas (Down 3)
I actually debated about leaving the Tommies in first despite their loss. Heck, UW-Whitewater would have moved up one despite a loss if I had given them number one slot. However, it came down to the fact St. Thomas lost to a middle-of-the-MIAC team in Concordia-Moorhead and thus couldn’t put the MIAC regular season title further out of reach with three games left to play. Call it a mental lapse. That loss to Moorhead is worse than the loss to Stevens Point for Whitewater and thus why the Tommies fell three spots.

5 – Augustana (Up 3)
Not only did the Vikings get a big win over Illinois Wesleyan in dominating fashion on the road (82-56), they avoided the mental collapse in the trap game that followed against Millikin. That performance means the CCIW playoffs will have to go through Rock Island where, despite IWU’s earlier win this season, is not the easiest place to play in the Midwest. I realize I might be buying in a little too much with Augustana since we aren’t that far removed from the collapse against North Park and North Central in back-to-back games, but I also think those games woke Augustana up.

6 – St. Norbert (Up 1)
I’m not sure I can keep moving St. Norbert up. They have a slightly below average SOS and their conference just isn’t that competitive at the top (the Green Knights have won 41 straight conference games). I’m only setting myself up for disappointment if St. Norbert doesn’t go far in the NCAA tournament because, remember, this is still a somewhat young team.

7 – WPI* (Up 2)

8 – UW-Stevens Point (Up 6)
I am fully on board with the Pointers, now. Message received. I have been downplaying Stevens Point all season, but finally woke up a few weeks ago. They have their best player back and the win over UW-Whitewater looks to make the conference home court decision come down to a coin flip – yes, a coin flip. Well done Pointers.

9 – Virginia Wesleyan (Down 3)

10 – Dickinson (Unchanged)
Well, I was going to ding the Red Devils pretty good for their loss to McDaniel*. However, reports were they had a lot of players sick which happens this time of year. That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to move them down a couple of spots anyway until they turned around and beat Johns Hopkins* to at least make the Centennial finish a little more interesting.

11 – Marietta (Down 8)
It is one thing to lose your unbeaten streak at this point in the season, but I thought Marietta could at least stop it at one loss. Nope… two. Everyone knew this past week was going to be tough with Mount Union and John Carroll on the schedule, but I figured at worst it would be 1-1 for the Pioneers. Hopefully Marietta stops the latest streak in its tracks or they could be in trouble. The only reason I didn’t move Marietta even further down for two untimely losses… the simple fact they lost to two very competitive teams in their conference.

12 – Albertus Magnus (Unchanged)

13 – St. John Fisher (Unchanged)

14 – Emory (Up 2)
Held serve at home. Very important weekend for the Eagles and they got the job done against Washington Univ.* and Chicago*. That makes up for the trip to the Midwest where they lost both of those games. Now Emory is in a bit more control of the rest of the season and it’s thanks to the fact most of the back-end of their conference schedule lets them enjoy their Atlanta home.

15 – Johns Hopkins* (Unchanged)

16 – Ohio Wesleyan (Up 2)

17 – Elmhurst (Up 3)

18 – Chapman (Down 7)
I know they only lost one game this past week, but after starting the season undefeated the Panthers have now lost three of their last five including to two teams in the middle of the conference standings. And with that Chapman has also lost some control of whether the SCIAC playoffs come through Harold Hutton Sports Center. Their game against Cal Lutheran this weekend looms very large.

19 – Whitworth (Unchanged)

20 – Catholic* (Up 1)
I got to see the Cardinals in person for a third time this season and the first since the Hoopsville Classic and they are very much improved. However, I still have some concerns. They beat Goucher* 100-85 with their starters scoring 97 of their points. There just isn’t a lot of contributions from the bench except in minutes and some defensive help. If Catholic wants to make a run this year, I think they need more than minutes coming off their bench. They need some offensive help.

21 – Wooster (Up 1)

22 – New York Univ.* (Unchanged)

23 – St. Olaf (Unranked)
My concerns for the Oles may have been premature. Since losing back-to-back games, St. Olaf has won seven straight to leave themselves a half game behind St. Thomas atop the MIAC. And of course, they have a showdown with the Tommies coming up on Monday (as I write this). It is a big game for both teams. St. Thomas wants to not have a losing streak and St. Olaf would love to wrestle the regular season title and home court advantage away from the Tommies. Should be a great game in St. Paul.

24 – Washington Univ.* (Unchanged)
I probably should have dropped the Bears, but am sticking it out for another week. This split-the-weekend experience is getting old even if it is in the tough UAA. I realize the loss to Emory on the road doesn’t look bad on paper, but WashU is 4-4 in their last eight and 6-5 in conference action! In hindsight, I really should have dropped them. However, they have three straight home games remaining against NYU*, Brandeis, and Chicago* and those games could not loom larger.

25 – Penn State-Behrend (Unranked)
I’ve got nothing witty to say about the Lions except they have only lost two games this season, so it is probably about time to recognize that fact. Their SOS is pretty poor which tells you they are winning their games in a below-average conference and a not-so-great out-of-conference schedule. However, they are still winning (10 straight) and that can’t be discounted too much.

Dropped out:

Illinois Wesleyan (Previously 17)
If the Titans only loss this past week had been to Augustana, fine. If they had kept the game against the Vikings close, fine. But you get trounced by Augustana and you lost to North Park who you know has been gunning and beating plenty of good teams and I have seen enough. I realize the CCIW is tough this year, but Illinois Wesleyan is just so inconsistent this season. I just can’t keep rewarding IWU when can’t seem to win games they should be winning. Not to mention the fact, they cost themselves home court in the CCIW tournament as well.

Chicago* (Previously 25)
I have stated it often here, I don’t knock teams for losing to teams I have ranked higher. My ballot clearly states I expect that loss to happen. In other words, the loss to Emory by Chicago was expected. And until the very last minute I wasn’t going to drop Chicago. But it bothered me. As with WashU*, Chicago has been inconsistent in a very tough UAA. 4-4 in their last eight losing to nearly the same teams WashU has (except for Brandeis). So it came down to this, while the loss to Emory was close… 15-7 in the Top 25 seemed inappropriate. I still like the Maroons as a team and think next year they are going to be dangerous. They are home for the next two including a very important game against NYU. Then they hit the road where WashU is looking for some payback. Interesting finish to the UAA schedule is an understatement.

* – seen in person this season.

Previous ballots:
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10

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