Dave’s Top 25 Ballot (’22-’23) – Week 2

Julianne Sitch led the UChicago men’s soccer team to it’s first-ever national title. In the process, Sitch became the first-ever woman to lead a men’s soccer team to a collegiate national title. (Courtesy: Dave Hilbert, D3photography.com)

Welcome back to my D3hoops.com Top 25 ballot blogs. I apologize for not getting my Week 1 ballot out as expected. The combination of basketball games (three) and Division III Men’s Soccer Championships coupled with some personal distractions caused this to be put on the back burner. I am hoping to make up at least by showing you my ballots so far in this blog. I will try and provide some comments about some of the teams, though not all (especially to keep these blogs shorter).

Please remember I am just one voter of 25 in this poll and I have never pretended to be one who is absolutely right on these nor do I pretend I am not wrong.

First, here is a reminder at my preseason ballot and a look at how I voted in Week 1 (Nov. 28):

Rank Preseason Week 1 +/-
 1. Randolph-Macon Christopher Newport +2
 2. Mary Hardin-Baylor Mount Union +3
 3. Christopher Newport St. Joseph’s (Conn.) +5
 4. UW-Oshkosh Case Western Reserve +2
 5. Mount Union Johns Hopkins +9
 6. Case Western Reserve UW-La Crosse UR
 7. Middlebury Oswego +9
 8. St. Joseph’s (Conn.) Randolph-Macon -7
 9. Oswego Keene State UR
10. Pomona-Pitzer Williams UR
11. Emory Middlebury -4
12. Trinity (Texas) Emory -1
13. Dubuque Rochester UR
14. Johns Hopkins Claremont-Mudd-Scripps UR
15. WPI Mary Hardin-Baylor -13
16. Hardin-Simmons Calvin UR
17. Rowan Mary Washington UR
18. Wesleyan Nazareth UR
19. Heidelberg WPI -4
20. Babson Hope UR
21. WashU Guilford UR
22. Stockton Swarthmore UR
23. Marietta UW-Oshkosh -19
24. St. John’s WashU -3
25. Nichols Stockton -3

Fell off the Preseaon ballot: Pomona-Pitzer, Trinity (TX), Dubuque, Hardin-Simmons, Rowan, Wesleyan, Heidelberg, Babson, Marietta, St. John’s, Nichols

Note: For both the preseason and Week 1 ballots, I did not refer back to how I had previously voted. Neither the end of last season or my preseason ballot. No notes, eye on positions, nothing. I certainly remembered a few items like Randolph-Macon had been my top selection, but nothing more significant.

That said, this week I went back to my more normal voting methods. I write down my previous ballot, then write down notes on results alongside each team, write additional note the print out receive, and then make decisions from there and finish my new ballot along side the old. I went back to it mainly because I noticed prior to my Week 2 ballot I had lost track of a couple of teams between Preseason and Week 1 that I would have spotted had the regular system been in place. So apologies to Dubuque, especially. They fell out of my ballot on Week 1 for no really good reasons, at the time. (I didn’t just put them back this week, the loss to Central gave me pause.)

Now to Week 2’s ballot. I may comment on a few of them:

Jahn Hines is leading CNU in scoring, but the Captains have a lot of weapons that make them the best team in DIII.

1 – Christopher Newport (unchanged)

2 – St. Joseph’s (Conn.) (up 1)

3 – Mount Union (down 1)

4 – Cast Western Reserve (unchanged)

5 – UW-La Crosse (up 1)

6 – Keene State (up 3)

7 – Johns Hopkins (down 2)

8 – Randolph-Macon (unchanged)

Brandon Roughley and the William Ephs are undefeated through the first-third of their season. (I’m shamelessly getting a pic of Roughley in as he’s a fellow Sarum Knight.)

9 – Williams (up 1)
I am not going to lie, I’m nervous about the Ephs. Their schedule is nothing to crow about, but at least they haven’t taken an early season loss that leaves everyone scratching their heads. The win over RPI stood out and gave me some confidence, though in the Top 10 feels too high. But as always, gaps develop on ballots and teams have to fill slots one wouldn’t have expected.

10 – Rochester (up 3)

11 – Emory (up 1)

12 – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (up 2)

13 – Middlebury (down 2)

Oswego has lost two of their tougher games so far this season – that could be a concern.

14 – Oswego (down 7)
I think the Lakers are going to be a very good team and likely will win the SUNYAC, but they have already stumbled in a couple big tests. Losing to Nazareth (likely one of the top three teams in the region) is one thing and losing to Brockport isn’t a shocking result … but the loss to Brockport was at home and the offense barely scored xx. It is a bit concerning and I likely am holding on to Oswego a bit more than I should – and I likey should have had them behind Nazareth at this point.

15 – Mary Washington (up 2)

16 – Calvin (unchanged)

17 – Nazareth (up 1)

Heidelberg’s win over Mount Union put them back on the ballot. (Courtesy: Alexis Calhoun/Heidelberg Athletics)

18 – Heidelberg (unranked)
I’ve been a bit yo-yo with the Student Princes. Part of that is similar to what happened with Dubuque and my process with my Preseason and Week 1 ballots, but the other was I may have overreacted to the UWW loss and the tight outcome against Bluffton. I still think Heidelberg will be part of the absolute battle atop the OAC.

19 – Swarthmore (up 3)

20 – Guilford (up 1)

Muhlenberg’s only loss this season is an overtime defeat to Swarthmore. (Courtesy: Muhlenberg Athletics)

21 – Muhlenberg (unranked)
Going into the season, I had my eyes on Gettysburg as being a threat to the top two in the conference (and I bought in to that too much) – I should have remembered some notes I left myself at the end of last season. The Mules (or is it Muhls?) have been a sneaky threat for a few seasons now and had more weapons going into this season than I remembered. Muhlenberg beating Johns Hopkins (first loss other than to Swarthmore in several years) was a bit surprising considering how JHU has been playing, but not when one remembers how much of a threat Kevin Hopkins’s squad really is.

22 – Wheaton (Ill.) (unranked)
I finally got a CCIW team on my ballot. I like what the Thunder have on paper, I just for some reason always want to see what happens ahead of them. I finally told myself to stop waiting.

23 – UW-Oshkosh (unchanged)

24 – Catholic (unranked)
I could have gone a bunch of different directions looking for the final team to add to my ballot. I felt stuck and dove into several corners looking for what I was missing .., and ultimately the Cardinals stood out.

DJ Campbell is leading Stockton in scoring (21.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) while taking twice as many shots as anyone else. (Courtesy: Stockton Athletics)

25 – Stockton (unchanged)
I am unsure if the Ospreys are a Top 25 team right now. I’ve left them on my ballot knowing they are down a few starters and other key guys haven’t been a full strength. My concern is I don’t think Stockton is the best of the conference (Rowan beat them good already this season; but has stumbled themselves) and I don’t know if the NJAC will do more than beat the heck out of themselves. Unsure when the next game will be to answer questions (other than a loss).

Fell off Week 2 ballot:

Mary Hardin-Baylor (previously 15)
Once again the Crusaders have had a turbulent start to the season. I loved that they went to the West Coast and got two quality wins with one interesting loss. However, a month off followed and that resulted in stubbing their toes again dropping the next game to Concordia-Texas. We will have to wait a bit longer to see if UMHB is going to be what we expected this season, but any at-large back-up plan is already in jeopardy.

WPI is off my ballot though is still a team I think we will still be talking about in March. (Courtesy: WPI Athletics)

WPI (previously 19)
I may be heavy-handed here with WPI, but I’ve been unnerved since the first game of the season (yes, I know it was a midnight game). Their schedule hasn’t been great other than their game against Hamilton which they loss. I think I’m going to wait and see … on a team, again, I was high on to start.

Hope (previously 20)
The Dutch have had a good start to the season. A loss to UW-Oshkosh isn’t bad and really the loss to Hanover isn’t too bad, either. However, when I’m looking for reasons to get other teams that I think deserve to be on my ballot I start to nit-pick for reasons to remove teams. Two-losses at this point along with a loss to the Panthers (which I don’t think is a Top 25 team) was my reasoning this week.

WashU (previously 24)
Like others, I think the Bear are going to be a very good team this season, but when looking for reasons to get other teams on the ballot kinks are magnified. A one-point win (following a loss) to Webster, a one-point win over 2-5 Augustana, and then the loss to Pomona-Pitzer (who I thought was going to be good but is 5-4 right now).

Again, I have never said I think I know who are the best teams, the Top 25 order, etc. The one theme over the last decade (or more) is how much more difficult it is to narrow things down each ballot. There are so many teams that have legit points and arguments while also having their own flaws. There is a reason there are 25 voters, and arguably have even more, for this poll – there needs to be that many opinions to truly suss out who the best are in Division III.


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: My Week 2 Top 25 ballot…with context

It’s Monday. And you what time that is! The Top 25 poll from D3hoops.com will be released tonight. As a voter for D3hoops.com, this is a day that is both a lot of fun, and a bit challenging. Getting up to No. 20 wasn’t all that hard, but filling those final five spots is always a real challenge. Bob Quillman, a D3hoops men’s voter, made a comment yesterday that voters will have to vote for teams they are not 100% sure on yet. That’s where I’m at in my Week 2 ballot. With six Top 25 teams falling to unranked opponents on Saturday alone, putting together this one was a little tougher than last week’s.

Anyway, here’s a look at how I’m putting together my Top 25 ballot…with context (though for the sake of time and word count, I did not put my full thinking on paper when writing up this post).

#1 Hope: Hope looked like a national title team at Calvin Wednesday night, making good in-game adjustments and putting tremendous pressure on the ball defensively. It resulted in a 62-56 win for the Flying Dutch over the nation’s #15 team, and makes No. 1 the easiest spot to fill in my ballot. An 86-64 win over Wittenberg improves Hope to 7-0.

#2 NYU: NYU slides up to No. 2 on my ballot after a week in which the Violets dominated in duels with Brooklyn and Connecticut College. They have continued to look sharp, and are playing all-around near-perfect basketball. Once they get into UAA play, that will be the real test, but for the time being, NYU is looking very unstoppable.

#3 Transylvania: No. 2 was really a 50-50 between NYU and Transylvania, though I felt (and the computer rankings backed this up) that NYU has been more complete in their contests up to this point. With that said, I would say Transy has faced slightly better competition early in this season (though they also just beat a Rose-Hulman team on Saturday that soon after canceled its season) and proven itself to be one of the nation’s best. Don’t want to take anything away from Transy here. Really not sure when we’ll see them actually tested…likely best possibility will be Dec. 29 against Wisconsin Lutheran.

#4 Trinity (TX): Against two opponents a combined 1-19 this season, the Tigers rolled to a pair of victories, including a 100-point performance at Centenary. They’ve met every challenge thus far, and for now, it appears the SCAC title is theirs to lose.

#5 Christopher Newport: Against a 6-1 Bridgewater team on Wednesday, CNU won by 28, and picked up another road win over Greensboro days later. CNU is playing very well on the offensive end right now, and remains at No. 5 in this week’s ballot.

#6 Scranton: I was interested to see how Scranton would fare against its first Top 25 opponent of the season in #14 Ithaca on Tuesday. The Lady Royals left little doubt in a 74-53 win, at least for me as a voter. Say what you want about the weak non-conference schedule for any of these highly-rated teams, but when they show up and play the way Scranton did against Ithaca, that’s what gives me confidence to slide them up to No. 6.

#7 Amherst: Amherst also moves up, having taken care of business against an NJCU team that I still can’t quite figure out. Amherst controlled the game for the larger part of three quarters, though NJCU did make a run in the closing minutes, but to no avail. The Mammoths are 5-0, and despite a close five-point win over Emmanuel earlier in the week, they’re still the favorite to win the NESCAC in my opinion.

#8 Baldwin-Wallace: At 7-0, Baldwin Wallace continues to impress, and I see no reason not to slide the Yellow Jackets up to No. 8. They came up with a solid victory over Wilmington (who is 5-2) in OAC play on Saturday, winning by nine, and added a 54-41 win over Heidelberg to open conference action on Wednesday.

#9 UW-Eau Claire: The only WIAC Top 25 team that did not lose on Saturday, UWEC instead came up with what I’d rate as its best win of the year, beating an 8-2 UW-La Crosse team 68-56. To add to that, the Blugolds edged UW-River Falls on Wednesday, winning 74-71, which is notable considering UWRF rebounded by beating #9 Whitewater on Saturday.

#10 UW-Whitewater: Before you say anything, I get it, Whitewater has two losses. But this poll is about grading the top 25 best teams, not the top 25 best records. The Warhawks have dropped two games by a combined margin of five points to two teams that I value somewhat highly (Calvin, UW-River Falls). Plus, they were impressive in a 64-56 win over UW-La Crosse, who was unbeaten entering Wednesday’s matchup. So while Whitewater does slide down four spots in my ballot, I am going to keep them in the Top 10 for the time being, especially considering the fact that we know deep the WIAC is this year.

#11 Mary Hardin-Baylor: The Crusaders needed a late layup to beat Schreiner on the road on Wednesday, but remain perfect, at 4-0, having opened ASC play with a 78-57 road win at Concordia (TX) Saturday. I haven’t seen Mark Morefield’s team play enough to get a good enough feel for where UMHB stands against the rest of the nation’s best, but by this point, I’m feeling good about where the Crusaders are at, heading into a notable matchup at ETBU on Dec. 10.

#12 Smith: Smith drops back two spots in my ballot, as I just haven’t seen it from the Pioneers yet. A 78-74 loss at Framingham State is not a bad loss by any means, but I just haven’t seen a Top 10-caliber performance yet. The talent is certainly there, and I believe it will only be a matter of time before Smith gains serious traction and is considered for a Top 10 spot once again, at least in my ballot.

#13 Tufts: Tufts fell on the road to a good Emory team who is 7-1, though I would’ve liked to have seen the margin be smaller than 15 points. It was not a great showing by Tufts, and on Sunday, the Jumbos did get back in the win column, edging Piedmont, 79-78. This really seemed to be an off weekend on the road, considering Piedmont is fairly good, but not great (4-3 overall).

#14 Trine: Trine actually doesn’t move in my ballot this week! It’s almost as if I had projected they would take down #15 Calvin on Saturday, by putting them No. 14 when they ended up No. 20. But the one thing I know about Trine is that even with two losses, the Thunder are deep and have begun playing better defensively. It led to a 2-0 week, and I’m keeping them at No. 14 for the time being.

#15 Springfield: Springfield also stays at #15 for me. The Pride put up a 12-point win over a Middlebury team at .500 on Saturday, and I see no reason to move them down. Springfield is 6-1 overall with the lone loss coming at Amherst.

#16 Babson: I’ll need to see more from Babson to move them higher, but they remain perfect at 6-0, having taken down a 6-2 Bridgewater State squad by a convincing 22-point margin at a neutral site, and came back for a 59-56 win over Williams on Williams’ home court.

#17 DeSales: Still undefeated, DeSales breaks into my ballot, having defeated #25 Messiah on Monday night very convincingly, 61-35. That win alone was enough for me to put DeSales into the Top 20, but they then followed that by making a statement against winless FDU-Florham, with a 113-32 victory. A 77-35 win over King’s made it a 3-0 week for DeSales.

#18 Ithaca: Ithaca did not meet the challenge against Scranton to the level I had thought they would, falling by 21 on the road, leading me to drop the Bombers by three spots. With that said, I still think their resume is very strong, with wins over Cortland, SUNY-Geneseo, and at Catholic. And to put it this way, I was 50-50 between Ithaca and Calvin, but ultimately, Ithaca’s three most notable wins compared to really just one for Calvin (over Whitewater) led me to put Ithaca just ahead of Calvin.

#19 Calvin: Yes, Calvin lost twice this past week. But show me a tougher span of four days than what the Knights faced a few days ago, hosting Hope then traveling to Trine. No doubt an extremely challenging start to conference play, I’m looking past the scores as I evaluate the overall body of work. Calvin played Hope tougher than I’ve seen any other team (including UW-Eau Claire) this season. That is worth a lot in my opinion. The 15-point loss at Trine is the main reason I expect Calvin will drop, though the win at UW-Whitewater is enough of a resume boost to keep Calvin in the Top 20.

#20 Hardin-Simmons: HSU looked sharp in an 81-65 home win over ETBU, who received votes in last week’s poll. The Cowgirls rebounded nicely from losing to Trinity twice a week ago, displaying that facing tough competition, regardless of the result, often proves beneficial in the long run. HSU is 2-0 in ASC play, having beat LeTourneau by 29 on Thursday as well. Also should note that UTD played without starting PG Paris Kiser for both games this week.

#21 Rochester: Rochester has notable wins this season over UT-Dallas, Messiah, and St. John Fisher, but falls back by three spots due to a five-point loss at Hamilton on Saturday. Because the loss was on the road, by single digits, to a team I’d likely rank in the Top 35, I’m going to keep Rochester at No. 21 for now.

#22 Whitman: Every voter has a couple teams in which he/she spends more time on when putting together a ballot than any of the others. For me that was Whitman and Puget Sound this week. Here’s why. Whitman went to Puget Sound on Saturday, and lost by 15 in their first D-III loss of the year. Now, the trouble is that Puget Sound lost at home to Wheaton (5-3 overall), just two weeks ago. 62-56. Because they are so similar besides those two results, I’m not going to put Puget Sound above Whitman just yet. They do share a common opponent in Chapman, whom they both beat rather easily, though Whitman was on the road, while Puget Sound was at home. I don’t see a bad loss on Whitman’s resume, and losing at Puget Sound is much different than losing on your home court. Time will tell. One of these two will separate itself.

#23 Puget Sound: Reference my explanation above when discussing Whitman. But side note that the Loggers looked really good on Saturday, as well as in the win over Whitworth. Definitely a team trending upwards in my opinion, which is why they jump up to No. 23 after a 2-0 week.

#24 UC Santa Cruz: UCSC’s lone game of the week was on the road at D-I Santa Clara, and ended in a 74-30 loss. As I said last week, I really try not to let non-D3 results affect my rankings all that much. So I’m putting UCSC at No. 24, especially when you consider that leading scorers Kaylee Murphy and Ashley Kowack did not even see action at Santa Clara. The win for Puget Sound over Whitman forced me to slide UCSC down, though the margin between Whitman, Puget Sound and UCSC is relatively thin in my opinion. I’m interested to see how UCSC fares against Linfied and Cal Lutheran next weekend.

#25 Ohio Northern: ONU has crept up on a lot of people, with a solid resume, but little attention. The Polar Bears had just 1 vote in last week’s poll, and it wasn’t from me. But I’ve been tracking ONU’s progress, and the 11-point win over Marietta on Saturday was enough to land ONU a spot in my ballot. They won by three at Trine, and also handed Washington & Jefferson its only loss thus far. Fairly strong team at No. 25. I could see ONU moving into the Top 20 by the time we hit the new year.

Dropped out: Millikin, UW-Oshkosh, Illinois Wesleyan

Who I’ll be watching this week: Bowdoin, Hamilton, WashU, UW-Stout

Got comments? Questions? Opinions? Drop them below!

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: December 4, 2022: Chaos in the Top 25

What a day it was yesterday in D3 women’s hoops! If you were a fan, you had nonstop action for the better part of the afternoon and evening. It was an especially notable day considering six Top 25 teams fell to unranked opponents. The Top 25 on Monday might look pretty different than what it was a week before. I’ll touch on some of those games in addition to a news item about the future of a particular HCAC program that made a fairly big announcement yesterday evening. But first…here’s a look at the Game of the Day.

Game of the Day: #7 Amherst @ NJCU, 3 pm EST

Could we see a third Top 10 team go down on this first weekend of December? It’s possible. But NJCU, who opened the year with such a convincing performance against D-I Monmouth, has dropped three of its last four, and is not quite looking like a team that will claim yet another NJAC title. I’m not sure why the Gothic Knights have been struggling, but it definitely is something they’re working to fix. The key will be finding ways to score on a defense as good as Amherst’s. NJCU is desperately in need of a win and playing at home, but Amherst’s undefeated record is also on the line. I can’t see Amherst dropping this one, though it could be decided by single digits if we see the NJCU team we saw earlier in the year.

How the Top 25 fared + 1 more news item

  • In yet another wild day in WIAC play, two of the Top 25 teams in the league lost to unranked opponents, with #9 Whitewater (vs River Falls, 64-67) and #19 Oshkosh (@ Stout, 58-66), coming up short. The parity in the WIAC this season is going to be, in my opinion, much more noticeable than in years past. Rankings don’t seem to matter in this league, in any sport.
  • To add to that point, River Falls has really impressed me as of late. For a team picked to finish sixth in the league, the Falcons are 6-2, 1-1 in WIAC play, with a three-point loss to #12 UW-Eau Claire, and now a three-point win over Whitewater. Shelby Lyman, as the interim head coach, is doing a fantastic job getting the most out of her guards, as UWRF typically starts four guards in the lineup.
  • Whitewater wasn’t the highest ranked team to fall yesterday. That distinction belongs to #6 Smith, who led by five with seven minutes left, but struggled offensively in the game’s final minutes, losing 78-74, to Framingham State. The loss is Smith’s first of the year, but as I mentioned in my Top 25 breakdown, they’ve struggled at multiple points this season, going into overtime against both Maine-Maritime and Trinity (CT). To their credit, both were solid programs, and so is Framingham State, now 6-1. But it was not quite the performance you want to see out of a team ranked as high as #6 in the nation. Smith will be fine, and very much has the talent to make a tournament run, though their ranking may drop on Monday. I was most impressed by the 21-15 run by Framingham State to end the game, with near-flawless execution in the final minutes.
  • Emory made a big-time statement at home against #11 Tufts, winning by 15, 70-55, in a marquee victory for the Eagles. Maggie Russell was held to a 6-of-20 shooting mark for Tufts, a credit to Emory’s defensive gameplan, and Tufts as a team, were 31.7% from the field, 16.7% from three-point range. Emory’s defense has been a major factor in wins, time and time again this season, and will certainly help once UAA play gets going. Claire Brock scoring 20 didn’t hurt either, as she played 34 minutes.
  • Hamilton has been on my radar since the they went to St. John Fisher and left with a win, but Saturday’s performance was on another level. On their home court, they took down #18 Rochester, 80-75, holding onto a narrow lead throughout the fourth quarter. Rochester shot the ball well, but Hamilton was even better. Take a look at these percentages: 46.8% from the field, 46.2% from 3-point, 80% from the free-throw line. When you shoot the ball with that kind of success, how could you lose? Hamilton went down 22-9 in the opening quarter, but credit to them. They stayed poised, and got right back in it, coming away with what is their most notable win up to this point.
  • Puget Sound, perhaps with a little bit of a statement to make after dropping out of the Top 25, handed #21 Whitman its first D-III loss of the year, 78-63. PS held nothing back, racing out to a 20-7 lead. Whitman also never led at any point, and PS forced 22 turnovers, turning them into 20 points.
  • In what I called the “Game of the Day” yesterday, #15 Calvin traveled to #20 Trine, and in what was honestly a bit of a surprise to me, Trine came away with a 60-45 victory. As the final score suggests, both defenses were fairly effective. Trine stepped up especially in the second half, outscoring Calvin by eight. Gabby Timmer had 20 for Calvin, but the Thunder mostly limited the production of the rest of the lineup in an impressive victory, which moves them to 2-0 in MIAA play.
  • I heard through D3boards.com yesterday morning that Rose-Hulman was going to shut down its program for the remainder of this season, but was unsure of the validity of those claims, so simply waited to see what would happen. At 8 p.m. last night, hours after losing to Transylvania, the athletic department announced it would indeed cancel the remainder of the schedule, citing player safety due to “low roster numbers”. There are 10 listed on the roster, but once you factor in possible injuries and things like that, 10 is not enough to weather the storm that is a college basketball season. Only’ seven played in yesterday’s game. The press release stated that the administration will meet to discuss the future of the program next week. Full press release here: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/news/2022/12/3/rose-hulman-announces-cancellation-of-2022-23-womens-basketball-season.aspx

As always, be sure to read The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops each day, right here on the D3hoops.com Daily Dose. Have a great Sunday.

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: December 2, 2022: Business as usual in the world of D3 women’s hoops

It was business as usual in the world of D3 women’s hoops last night. The Top 25 teams took care of business, and the rest of the “favorites” did the same, with no large-scale upsets coming about, a stark difference from the way Wednesday night went. And that’s a good sign. As much as I enjoy the fact that on any given night, “anybody can beat anybody”, it is good to see a level of consistency as we approach the one-month mark of the season. Most teams are close to one-third of the way through their schedules, and after nearly two full months of practice, are finding their rhythms.

Friday’s slate has the potential for another night of Top 25 teams going undefeated, but it won’t be easy. For one thing, Babson has a test tonight in Bridgewater, MA…

Game of the Day: #17 Babson (4-0) @ Bridgewater State (6-1), 8 pm EST

Babson has started off well, but so has Bridgewater State, and this is a big one for both teams, as it should increase each of their the non-conference SOS numbers. BSU’s offense looked good in Tuesday’s 95-91 win over Mass-Dartmouth, with Kylie Grassi and Sydney Bradbury forming a scoring duo that tallied 47 points. But they’ll be up against a strong test tonight, as Babson’s defense has not allowed more than 69 points in a game, and limited opponents to 28.2% from the field this season. Expect a game decided by single digits, with the score getting into the high-60s, maybe 70s.


  • Top 25 teams went 2-0 last night, with #6 Smith pulling out a 66-55 win over Eastern Connecticut, and #24 Hardin-Simmons taking down LeTourneau, 81-52.
  • Bench production is something I always try to pay attention to, as it is a good indicator of the depth of a team. Smith’s Ally Yamada came off the bench last night, scoring 16 points in 26 minutes on 4-of-6 three-point shooting. Also worth a mention, MIT’s Elise Harvey had 12 points off the bench in MIT’s 82-77 overtime win at Worcester State, and Mary Washington’s Sydney Sherman scored 18 in just 23 minutes, making all 10 of her free throw attempts as Mary Washington rolled to victory.
  • Speaking to that same point about individual performances, forward Jordan Ouellette played a full 40 minutes in the win for St. Joseph (CT) and Mitchell, scoring 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting and added eight rebounds.
  • My game of the day, between ETBU and McMurry, was very competitive through the first half, with ETBU leading by just three, 34-31, at halftime. But ETBU held nothing back in the third quarter, outscoring McMurry 24-8 in the third quarter, as the Tigers ran away with a 76-51 victory. McMurry, now 6-1, has started very well as I said yesterday, and the Warhawks proved they could play with one of the ASC’s top-level programs last night, even leading 18-12 after the first quarter. ETBU, having to replace a number of key players due to graduation, has continued getting solid contributions from Jade Goynes and Bridget Upton, who each scored in double figures.
  • There was a conversation on Twitter yesterday in regards to the Coast-to-Coast Conference, which is an eight-team conference comprised of schools in 7 different states and all parts of the country. Due to this set up, very few conference games are played, though the conference does have an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. Why not? The C2C meets the requirements set forth for an AQ, but I can understand the argument from the other side too; the side that says the C2C having an AQ is somewhat unfair, considering the lack of conference games, and that the C2C teams should be forced instead to vie for a Pool B bid. It is definitely an intriguing situation, but we must remember that it is the coaches of those programs who are forced to schedule nearly triple the number of non-conference games as most teams across the country. Their job is not easy. Potentially something could be worked out to increase the number of conference games within the C2C during the regular season (thus making scheduling a little easier on the coaches and adding some confirmation to the C2C getting an AQ) though finances become a factor there as well. For the time being, the C2C has an AQ. And to be honest, whichever conference CNU plays in, there’s a good chance they will win the league title, so it’s really not all that controversial. Unless the NCAA changes its AQ requirements, there’s no reason for the C2C to change its way of life. Just my $0.02. So the question is, should those requirements for an AQ be changed?

With that, I’ll end it here. Lots of great action set for tomorrow, but there will be some great games out of this slate tonight as well. Enjoy the action, and as always, feel free to leave a comment, question, or feedback in the comments section below.

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: December 1, 2022: Conference openers did not disappoint!

Welcome back! Plenty of thoughts for you on last night’s action, but first, the Game of the Day…

Game of the Day: ETBU @ McMurry

I have to venture down to my home state for this one on a fairly light night for ranked teams. Neither of these two are in the Top 25, but nonetheless, there’s a few storylines here. One being that McMurry is 5-0, the program’s best start to a season in I don’t know how long. Th Warhawks will face an elevated level of competition in this ASC opener, but are on their home court, and it might be their biggest test of the year so far. ETBU has won its last four, after opening the year with a loss to CNU, three of those victories coming on the road. We’ll see how both teams fare. I haven’t gotten a good look at either squad yet, so I’m interested to see what has been working for each team.


  • The much-anticipated duel between #1 Hope and #15 Calvin certainly lived up to the expectations, as Hope came out with a 62-56 win. It’s hard to describe, but just by watching it, you can tell that is what good basketball truly is. Both sides were exceptional defensively, and yet it showed just how good each offense was, to find scoring opportunities despite the intensity opposing them. Hope did a nice job of keeping pressure on the ball, which led to 21 turnovers, and Calvin defended the three-point arc very well, holding the Flying Dutch to a 4-of-20 mark from long range. Ultimately, it was visible, as it always is, just how much this rivalry means to both sides. Each team had thoroughly prepared, and it showed. Also, thought it was notable that neither side went deep into its bench, instead relying on a small rotation. For Hope, that was just eight players, and Calvin played just one more, with nine.
  • UW-La Crosse hosted #9 UW-Whitewater in a key WIAC battle, as Whitewater was looking to rebound from the Calvin loss and UWL attempted to keep its undefeated record alive. What played out was a fantastic chess match of sorts in La Crosse, as Whitewater won by the low score of 58-53. Whitewater shot 41.5% from the field, 50% from three-point range, compared to a 28.8% shooting mark, and 7.1% three-point mark for UWL. So what kept the Eagles in it? They got the free throw line. When shots aren’t going down, the free throw line becomes your best friend, and UWL found ways to get there frequently, making 18-of-24 attempts. Maggie Trautsch was very impressive for Whitewater. She has a good feel for the game, and shoots the ball with a lot of confidence. Had 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting last night.
  • Staying in the great land of Wisconsin, #12 UW-Eau Claire was given all it could handle by UW-River Falls, on UWEC’s home court. The final was a 74-71 win for UWEC, but UWRF deserves a ton of credit. Down by 19 in the third quarter, the Falcons stormed back, cutting it to single digits early in the fourth then all the way to two. The shots just didn’t fall at the right times for UWRF late in that one, as UWEC kept its lead intact…barely. Just like in football, you never know what you’re going to get from the WIAC on any given night. Nobody has an easy victory in this league.
  • Speaking of ranked teams battling in close games, #13 Mary Hardin-Baylor trailed Schreiner by six with under five minutes left, before slowly chipping away, leading to Catherine Kaiser’s layup with three-tenths of a second on the clock that broke a 61-61 tie. Great resilience by UMHB, who overcame a cold shooting night, and I’m also impressed by Schreiner’s play as of late. A team that uses a pressing defense, the Mountaineers had won three of their last four entering last night, and also lost to #24 Hardin-Simmons by just four at HSU back on Nov. 12. Pay attention to Schreiner in the SCAC.
  • Getting back to the WIAC, be sure you’re paying attention to what head coach Kelly McNiff and her team from UW-Platteville is doing. At #19 UW-Oshkosh, UWP came away with a 60-35 win behind a huge second half. Very impressive effort from UWP, who had great bench contribution, and came up with 25 turnovers.
  • Loras is probably one of those unranked teams you should keep an eye on. I’m not sure if they have a Top 25 resume just yet, but it possible they will if they can keep this momentum going. At home last night, Loras took down a solid, yet somewhat struggling Coe squad, 58-53, moving to 4-1 overall, 2-0 in ARC play. Honestly, it looked like Coe might pull this one out, leading by two as the fourth quarter began. But Loras outscored Coe 24-17 in the final quarter.
  • Augustana looked really good in its CCIW opener against Wheaton last night, fighting for a 65-63 overtime win. I like what I’m seeing from Augie as of late, now 6-1 overall, and 1-0 in the CCIW. The Vikings shoot the ball so well (41% last night), and demonstrated tremendous poise down the stretch in what should give them some momentum heading into the duel with Millikin on Saturday.

I’m going to stop there! But the bottom line is there was a ton of great basketball last night, and so many impressive performances, both from teams and from individual players. That’s what conference play will do…it just elevates the intensity all the way around. Feels weird to be writing about conference play on December 1, but here we are. Whether a game is played on November 30 or February 15, every contest in conference play counts once it comes to tournament selection time. Hope you are doing well! Enjoy the start to the final month of 2022!