D3 WBB Daily: Catholic stays perfect, Linfield upsets Whitman, Emory wins 12th straight

January 13, 2024

By Riley Zayas

Good morning! We’ve got a full Saturday of D3 women’s basketball ahead! But first, let’s take a look back on last night’s action and key storylines. There were several across the country…literally. We had a huge win in Washington D.C. to start the evening, and finished with an upset in McMinnville, Oregon.

So here we go…

Tipping Off

Catholic remains undefeated in a big win over Scranton

On its home court, Catholic came up with the biggest win of its season, knocking off ninth-ranked Scranton Friday night in an overtime thriller, 89-86. Considering the Cardinals hadn’t beaten Scranton at home since the 2019-20 season, it was a huge result, and even more so, because it kept Catholic undefeated, backing up a #13 national rank that I was admittedly a bit skeptical of entering the matchup. I knew Catholic was a Top 25 team, certainly, but was unsure how the 13-0 record stacked up with the Cardinals having played the nation’s No. 200 strength-of-schedule thus far. But to beat a team with the talent level of Scranton (in addition to having already beaten Elizabethtown on the road) says a great deal about Catholic’s place amongst the nation’s best. The Cardinals certainly appear to be the frontrunner in the Landmark Conference title race, with victories over the league’s other two main contenders already.

With 4:44 left in regulation, Scranton took a 60-47 lead, appearing to be en route to a huge conference win. With 2:20 left, Catholic still trailed by 11. But then came a 10-0 run from the Cardinals, eerily similar to the comeback made late in the win over Elizabethtown back on Nov. 29. Kerry Flaherty kept connecting from 3-point range, and Catholic never backed down in the face of a double-digit deficit. In the blink of an eye, it went from a 66-55 game to a 66-65 game, and Keegan Douglas’ 3-pointer with one second left in the fourth sent the contest in OT, where Catholic emerged with the victory.

What an effort from Douglas, who played 42 minutes, and scored 29 points, shooting 4-of-7 from 3 and 11-of-13 at the free throw line. As a team, Catholic shot 11-of-27 from beyond the arc, making up for the -20 rebounding differential. The Cardinals will take a big step forwards in my ballot this week.

#6 Emory wins at #25 WashU, extends win streak to 12 games

The UAA never seems to disappoint when it comes to down-to-the-wire battles and thrilling finishes that leave you on the edge of your seat. We saw one of those in St. Louis last night, as #6 Emory made the trip west for a duel with #25 WashU. Though Emory led 61-49 entering the fourth quarter, WashU proved exactly why the Bears are a Top 25 team, coming all the way back to cut the deficit to 74-73 with 48 seconds left. Emory ultimately hung onto its lead, pulling out a 76-73 victory as two chances at a tie were missed by WashU in the final seconds. Emory did a number of things well in this game, including the ball movement, which yielded 16 assists and contributed to the Eagles shooting 42.4%. WashU did challenge Emory in the paint, as the Bears scored 46 points there, and found consistent offense at the rim. But overall, on the road against a top-quality team like WashU, the defense was sound.

Interestingly, while nobody in Emory’s rotation entered the game averaging more than 30 minutes per game, four of the Eagles’ starters played at least 31 minutes, including Claire Brock, who was on the floor for 38 of the game’s 40 minutes. Brock and Morgan Laudick, who played 34 minutes, accounted for 40 of Emory’s points, pacing the offense quite well. Emory, now 12-1, closes its road trip tomorrow in the Windy City, facing Chicago. I was really impressed by last night’s performance from the Eagles, who continue to trend upwards in my Top 25.

Is Bowdoin the team to beat in the NESCAC?

It certainly seems that way. The Polar Bears went on the road to what I believe is a very underrated Middlebury team and emerged with a 68-65 victory last night, improving to 2-0 in the NESCAC and 14-1 overall. Bowdoin is rolling right now, and the fact that Middlebury won at Amherst last weekend adds even more value to last night’s victory for the Polar Bears. It came down to the wire, but Bowdoin’s defensive effort forced a pair of Middlebury turnovers in the final 20 seconds, which was key, considering Middlebury only needed a 3-pointer to tie it up at that point. Statistically, Bowdoin shot 51.9 percent, and that offensive success was something I noted in yesterday morning’s write-up. The Polar Bears have been fairly consistent offensively and while 3-point shooting is one of their strengths, Bowdoin found most of its scoring from short-range, battling inside and scoring 40 points in the paint. Amherst is certainly close to Bowdoin at this point, but I’m not sure anyone in the NESCAC is playing with more poise and consistency. Bowdoin has won 11 straight and is 5-0 on the road this season. We’ll see how the matchup against Williams plays out today, but Bowdoin really did a nice job of picking up yet another notable road victory last night. Great stuff from the Polar Bears.

Chaos in the NWC

We saw two huge results in Northwest Conference play last night, with Willamette taking down Puget Sound on the road, 70-62, and Whitman falling in a surprising loss to Linfield, 51-45. Wow, where to start…

I thought Willamette looked sharp in a number of facets, particularly on the offensive end. Willamette’s two go-to post players—forward Elyse Waldal and center Ava Kitchin—posted a pair of strong performances that certainly gave the Bearcats an advantage, at least on the offensive end. Waldal had 20 points and Kitchin added eight, along with three assists. That said…Puget Sound tallied 21 offensive rebounds, and won the battle on the boards as a result, 42-33. The Loggers capitalized on those offensive rebounds, with 20 second-chance points. But Willamette shot 52.9% and was in an offensive rhythm for much of the game…and that was key to the Bearcats maintaining their advantage. Willamette now has wins over Whittier, Whitman, Trinity (TX), and Puget Sound. Not to mention being 5-1 in NWC play.

As mentioned, Linfield pulled off the upset of #19 Whitman, and I didn’t see that one coming at all. Linfield has been good this season, but Whitman, especially as of late, looked to be the frontrunner in the NWC. Yet, Linfield walked away with a 51-45 victory, benefitting from a handful of favorable calls but also playing tremendous defense through all four quarters. Whitman struggled from 3-point range (3-of-12) and couldn’t get much of a rhythm going, especially in the second half. The fact that the Blues were just 8-of-14 at the FT line didn’t help either.

I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again…this might be one of the most interesting conference races of the season. We’ve now got Willamette leading the league at 5-1, Pacific just behind at 4-1, and Linfield, Puget Sound, and Whitman all tied for third at 3-2. It’ll be an interesting next few weeks in that league.

Fast Breaks

» In an 84-58 victory over Case Western Reserve, #1 NYU tallied 48 points in the paint, as the Violets scored time and time again from short-range. Another big stat? 40 bench points for NYU in that dominant win.

» Amherst defeated Tufts, 68-63, in another tightly-contested battle. The Mammoths earned their fifth straight regular season win at Tufts in the process, and bounced back in a big way after being held to just two points total in the second quarter; Amherst scored 43 over the next 20 minutes, earning a crucial NESCAC road win.

» Trinity (TX) held an opponent below 50 points for the first time this season, defeating St. Thomas (TX), 83-39. That large margin of victory was largely helped by the fact that the Tigers forced 40 turnovers, which directly led to 49 points.

» For the first time since Jan. 8, 2017, Millsaps won at Rhodes, 61-55, and it was a big result, considering both were undefeated in SAA play. Millsaps improved to 14-2, and 5-0 in the SAA.

Looking Ahead

Springfield at MIT, 1:00 pm ET

Oberlin at DePauw, 1:00 pm ET

Lebanon Valley at #21 DeSales, 1:00 pm ET

#20 Mary Hardin-Baylor at McMurry, 2:00 pm ET

Mary Washington at #23 Washington & Lee, 2:00 pm ET

#16 Amherst at Bates, 3:00 pm ET

UW-Platteville at UW-La Crosse, 5:00 pm ET

#22 UW-Stout at #4 UW-Whitewater, 6:00 pm ET

Dave’s Top 25 Ballot (’22-’23) – Week 3

Trey Barber has missed a few games for CNU, but going into the Week 3 voting the Captains were still undefeated. Will they remain #1 on my ballot next week? (Courtesy: CNU Athletics)

I hope this finds everyone well. The Top 25 voting this past week ended up being less “fluid” than I expected, especially how the season started. I considered taking some extra time to dive into the details of every team, but figured this wasn’t exactly the time to blow up a ballot just because there wasn’t a lot of results. We really need to see some more games from a lot of teams to better understand things this season. That said, it’s amazing how some teams have already played more than a third of their games!

Due to a lot of things going on right now, this is going to brief this week (it’s already a few days late). Before getting to this week’s Top 25, here is a reminder of what my ballot was for last week’s Top 25:

1 – Christopher Newport
2 – St. Joseph’s (Conn.)
3 – Mount Union
4 – Case Western Reserve
5 – UW-La Crosse
6 – Keene State
7 – Johns Hopkins
8 – Randolph-Macon
9 – Williams
10 – Rochester
11 – Emory
12 – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
13 – Middlebury
14 – Oswego
15 – Mary Washington
16 – Calvin
17 – Nazareth
18 – Heidelberg
19 – Swarthmore
20 – Guilford
21 – Muhlenberg
22 – Wheaton (Ill.)
23 – UW-Oshkosh
24 – Catholic
25 – Stockton

St. Joseph’s remains in the second-slot of my ballot, though their last real challenge was Tufts a few weeks ago. (Courtesy: St. Joseph’s Athletics)

Now to how I voted in the Week 3 poll and maybe some comments if needed:

1 – Christoper Newport (unchanged)

2 – St. Joseph’s (Conn.) (unchanged)

3 – Mount Union (unchanged)

4 – Case Western Reserve (unchanged)

5 – Keene State (up 1)

6 – Williams (up 3)
I continue to be nervous about the Ephs. I like the make-up of their team, but worried the schedule hasn’t been much of a test. They beat SUNY Oneonta top follow up the win over RPI plus didn’t let Wesleyan trip them up. As a result, I figured I should move them up my ballot a little further. One small issue: Williams won’t play again until Dec. 29th though that will be a great holiday test against Clark.

7 – UW-La Crosse (Down 2)

8 – Rochester (Up 2)

9 – Randolph-Macon (Down 1)

Johns Hopkins fell a few more spots on my ballot after I thought more of the Muhlenberg result. Carson James is leading JHU in scoring this season at 16.3 ppg while handing out 4.3 assists per contest. (Courtesy: Johns Hopkins Athletics)

10 – Johns Hopkins (Down 3)
The Blue Jays didn’t do anything for voters to move them downward. They didn’t play any games. However, I had other teams moving around in the 5-10 slots plus the Muhlenberg result was still on my mind. I am not sure I reacted to the result enough last week (moving JHU down two) considering Muhlenberg had a loss to Swarthmore (five points in overtime). So, I moved Hopkins down a few more spots to where they felt more comfortable especially with others around them.

11 – Emory (unchanged)

12 – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (unchanged)

13 – Middlebury (unchanged)

14 – Oswego (unchanged)

15 – Mary Washington (unchanged)

16 – Calvin (unchanged)

17 – Nazareth (unchanged)

18 – Heidelberg (unchanged)

19 – Swarthmore (unchanged)

20 – Guilford (unchanged)

21 – Muhlenberg (unchanged)

22 – UW-Oshkosh (Up 1)

Freddie Ricks III leads the Celts in scoring (16.3 ppg) while being one of three in double-figured. Ricks and others have a number of eyes on St. Thomas (Texas) this season. (Courtesy: St. Thomas (Texas) Athletics)

23 – St. Thomas (Texas) (unranked)
I was wondering how long until I was voting for the Tommies Celts. I know they have a loss to what seems like a good Redlands team, but it was how they handled Trinity (Texas) – a team that isn’t what we expected them to be this season. Plus there are wins over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and East Texas Baptist that gives the impression this UST team is for real especially now that they fully qualify for NCAA stuff.

24 – Catholic (unchanged)

25 – Stockton (unchanged)

Dropped off:

Wheaton (Ill.) (Previously 22)
Admittedly, I am not sure what to think or do with the CCIW. Some teams are off to what look like terrific seasons and others stubbing their toes. Wheaton had an OT loss to one of those former squads – Elmhurst – and it left me scratching my head. I am going to have to dive in on the CCIW likely before the next vote and figure things out. Maybe Wheaton will show back up on my ballot at that point. For now, there are just so many teams across the country to consider small things seem to be reasons to make changes.

So that’s my ballot for Week 3. With already some interesting results (Hampden-Sydney knocking off CNU), we shall see what the pre-holiday break poll may look like.

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,

Welcome back to my 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: November 23, 2022: Trinity’s defense, the ARC, and scoring 1 point in the first half?!?

Good morning! Hope you are enjoying the holiday week. I’m writing this after writing my “thoughts” section on yesterday’s games…I’ll tell you, it’s a long one today. But that’s because yesterday’s slate had so many great contests worth mentioning, and it was the last full slate we’ll get until Saturday. There are a couple of teams in action today, so here’s a quick look at what you should be watching on the last day of college hoops before Thanksgiving…

Game of the Day: Colby @ #3 NYU, 7 pm EST

I’ll be honest, there are only 3 games between D-III programs today…but don’t overlook this one. Colby is off to a 3-0 start, but hasn’t faced anyone to the caliber of NYU. NYU hasn’t been challenged all that much either, with an 11-point win over Haverford being its closest result. This will be a good chance to see what NYU is putting together, especially with a lot of reliable defenders off the bench, who have added to the depth in these first four games of the season. I’m not sure how close it will end up being, but it’ll be worth a few minutes of your time to tune in and see what the nation’s #3 team can do in a contest of two unbeatens.

Thoughts from yesterday…

  • The highly-anticipated Top 25 showdown between #5 Trinity and #18 Hardin-Simmons in Abilene lived up to the expectations, with Trinity pulling out a 76-69 win on HSU’s home court. It was 51-50 heading into the fourth quarter, with the Tigers pulling away late, in large part due to their exceptional defense. HSU tends to beat teams by its remarkable accuracy from beyond the three-point arc, but on this night, the Cowgirls struggled to get open looks, and it seemed to be the biggest difference-maker in the result. Parris Parmer, HSU’s remarkable three-point sharpshooter, was 0-for-6 from long-range, and as a team HSU shot just 17.9%. Again, that seemed to be more a credit to Trinity’s defense, than a lapse of HSU’s offense, though I’d probably say that had something to do with it as well.
  • Another point on this game above…It rarely happens, even in conference play, but as I mentioned yesterday, these two teams will play again on Saturday, this time in San Antonio. Playing the same team twice within a span of five days in an interesting move by both coaching staffs, as each seeks to correct the mistakes made in the first meeting. We could see a very different game play out on Saturday afternoon.
  • Hamilton College moved to 2-1 in an impressive 70-64 win over #17 St. John Fisher. I can say with some degree of certainty that SJF won’t be #17 next week when the Top 25 is released, but for Hamilton to go on the road and pick up a win over a nationally-ranked team that returns three starters is huge. Perhaps the NESCAC will be even deeper than I anticipated it being this season. The most notable part of Hamilton’s win came in the 23-point fourth quarter, as they actually trailed by three entering the final 10 minutes.
  • Since the four-point loss to Amherst, #16 Springfield has looked pretty good. I saw them race out to a 20-9 lead in the first quarter against a quality Williams team yesterday. Williams stayed in it, despite the early deficit, but Springfield continued to make shots on the offensive end. The Pride ended up shooting 40%. Sam Hourihan is going to be a really big piece of that offense, as she looked to be in her element yesterday, with 23 points and nine rebounds.
  • In a battle of unbeatens, Mary Washington pulled out a convincing 70-58 win over Washington & Lee. On first glance, it doesn’t appear to be all that competitive of game, but the fact is, this one went into overtime! But Mary Washington’s defense stepped up in a huge way, holding W&L to just two points in the extra period. More than the 14 points in overtime, it was the fact that the Eagles held a good offense that had scored 56 in regulation to such as low percentage with the game on the line. The Coast-to-Coast programs are hard to evaluate at times (though Mary Washington has more scheduling options than say, UCSC), but they’ll get another good test on Dec. 10, when playing Catholic on the road. Marymount, who they’ll play on Dec. 3, is also off to a good start, at 6-1.
  • NJCU opened its D-III schedule in a 66-48 win over Montclair State, and after watching them play, I’m even more certain that they’ll be the best in the NJAC. They shoot the ball with such efficiency, and interestingly enough, Damaris Rodriguez wasn’t their leading scorer; Laney Fox was, with 21. Rodriguez had 12, but it is good to see other players starting to step up around her.
  • Wartburg and Dubuque kicked off ARC play in a very exciting duel, with the game going into overtime before Wartburg pulled out a 78-71 win. Wartburg will be one I’m keeping an eye on. I didn’t like the performances against UW-Eau Claire or UW-Oshkosh, though I would rate both losses lower considering how much I value those two WIAC programs. Even UWO, with its young talent, is going to be a force in the WIAC, in my opinion. Wartburg will get Scranton and Trine back-to-back just before Christmas, which will be two good measuring sticks for where the Knights stand.
  • Happened to see the Emory halftime score and honestly thought it was a glitch in the system, because it showed Emory leading Agnes Scott 42-1 at halftime. But a look at the box score proved I was incorrect…Emory’s defense was just that good yesterday. I don’t care who you’re playing…if you hold any team to just a single point in 20 minutes, that deserves a bit of recognition.
  • To wrap up what is becoming a long list of thoughts on yesterday’s action. Luther pulled out a 2-point win over Coe, 50-48. The ARC is going to be really fun to watch, between Wartburg, Coe, Luther, and maybe even Simpson, if the Storm finds its footing. This is probably Luther’s most notable win up to this point, though there’s also the win over UW-Platteville, and it didn’t come easy. Coe nearly won the game on a late three that just missed, and also had a chance at a layup, but couldn’t get it to go. Luther plays Wartburg next on Nov. 30…that will be a matchup to watch.
  • Oh, and the WBCA released its first in-season Top 25 yesterday…the top 5 is Hope, CNU, Amherst, NYU, Trinity. More on this Friday, but to look at the poll for yourself, here’s the link:

No post tomorrow…enjoy your Thanksgiving! I’ll be back with more on Friday!

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

In the previous blog on my preseason ballot I gave a brief idea of my methodology this preseason along with a look at who was in the Top 10 of my Preseason Men’s Basketball Top 25. Here we will go through 11-20. A quick reminder, here are the Top 10 on my Men’s Preseason Top 25 ballot:

Josiah Johnson and his Crusaders found themselves #2 on Dave’s Preseason Top 25 ballot. (

1 – Randolph-Macon
2 – Mary Hardin-Baylor
3 – Christopher Newport
4 – UW-Oshkosh
5 – Mount Union
6 – Case Western Reserve
7 – Middlebury
8 – St. Joseph’s (Conn.)
9 – Oswego State
10 – Pomona-Pitzer

Reminder, the note after each team in parenthesis is where I ranked them at the end of last season – information I did not know or look-up prior to voting this season.

11 – Emory (#12)
One of the most consistent programs in the last decade has been in Atlanta. Jason Zimmerman has built a very good program not only in the deep south, but the UAA. Emory had the winningest class in program history graduate, including two starters and 60% of their points. That may seem like a lot for a near-Top 10 team. Like Middlebury, I didn’t initially expect Emory to be this high, but I needed to fill in areas with teams I initially expected to be lower. The Eagles do have their leading scorer, Logan Shanahan, back who was also second in rebounding and tops in blocks. Plus, watch out for Max Fried who gained a lot of experience and his game excelled in the final half of last season.

Trinity (TX) looked to be a beast, but they appear to not have their leading scorer back from last season … which raises questions. (Trinity Texas Athletics)

12 – Trinity (Texas) (unranked)
I spent much of last season watching the Tigers wondering when their balloon would pop. I had my own red flags placed on Trinity, but they continued to prove to not only be the best in the SCAC, but one of the best in Texas – which is saying something. Jimmy Smith has all five starters returning including multiple all-conference selections and SCAC Player of the Year Kaleb Jenkins. Trinity also has Ben Hanley returning after showing he would be a key contributor before a season-ending injury. The challenge will be they can’t fly under anyone’s radar anymore.

13 – Dubuque (unranked)
While doing the lead-up work and putting my ballot together I couldn’t get a voice in my head to stop saying “you may be the only one putting Dubuque (this high) on your ballot.” It did make me wonder if I was over-thinking things. Yes, losing a two-time conference player of the year stings, but there are still three starters back and half the team with lots of experience. I was also intrigued with some of the transfers coming in including one who played in every game for UW-Parkside last season.

Ethan Bartlett and the Blue Jays hope to keep JHU in the national conversation. (Johns Hopkins Athletics)

14 – Johns Hopkins (#21)
I debated putting JHU higher on my ballot, but I am curious how the Blue Jays adjust to losing Conor Delaney who helped shoot Johns Hopkins to a couple of Centennial championships. Hopkins has a wealth of talent back for a program that under Josh Leffler has returned to its former glory. The conference should be a tougher road this season, but JHU seems to be in the driver’s seat and Goldfarb Gymnasium is usually pretty difficult for visitors.

15 – WPI (#11)
I’m nervous on whether I’m making the right call with the Engineers. I mentioned on Bob Quillman’s Q-Cast in October that WPI is a team to watch. They had a seemingly unexpected, but great season last year and I mentioned I am expecting them to be even better. However, I then wondered if I had misread things when we got the Top 25 data. That data showed WPI graduated 35% of its offense. I still think WPI will be at the top of a competitive NEWMAC and looking to make waves, but they are 15 when I had initially thought they would be a Top 10 program.

Hardin-Simmons is out to a 1-3 start. Cowboys looked like a serious threat this season, but it may require reevaluating later in the season. (HSU Athletics)

16 – Hardin-Simmons (unranked)
Texas could be an interesting place to watch in DIII this season, especially the ASC. The Cowboys bring back a lot while losing some key pieces. However, I am more intrigued with the core group returning along with the transfer the team informed us via the Top 25 data request. They also may be a faster, more up-tempo, team than in the past and that could make Hardin-Simmons far more difficult to beat. They just must stay consistent. I thought about waiting to see more on HSU before buying in but went with a vote for the Cowboys anyway.

17 – Rowan (unranked)
The NJAC is always competitive as a lot of teams in the last few years have had coaching changes and are building strong programs. Rowan is a great example of that shift. Joe Crispin took over the program a few years ago and has seemingly re-built the Profs. Last year’s squad was pretty good but fell short a conference title. They bring back four starters, eight players who saw significant time, which adds up to most of their offense. Plus, they bring in a few DII transfers and Ryan Ems formerly of Scranton who is a large presence inside for Rowan.

Welseyan had it’s best season in program history in 2021-22. Nicky Johnson and the rest of the Cardinals could make it an even better history this season. (Wesleyan Athletics)

18 – Wesleyan (16th)
The Cardinals are coming the program’s best ever season. Yes, like many programs, Wesleyan graduated some of their talent, but they still have a wealth of experience returning. The NESCAC will not be easy (has it ever?). The bottom of the league has become more competitive and coaching changes in the last few years are starting to show results. I like Wesleyan and think they could maybe surprise while everyone is watching Williams, Middlebury, and others.

19 – Heidelburg (unranked)
The Student Princes surprised everyone last season and likely were a year ahead of expectations. Four starters and more than three-quarters of their scoring returns and they will need all the experience they can muster. The OAC will be yet another battle at the top with half the conference capable of winning the title.

Sophomore Nate Amado is averaging 25 ppg for Babson to start the season.

20 – Babson (unranked)
Something about Stephen Brennan’s squad has me intrigued. I didn’t think I would be voting for more than one NEWMAC team when I started this, but the Beavers have peaked my interest. They may be one of the riskier teams I’m eyeing as they have three starters and less than 30% of their scoring returning. However, Amado and Kirkpatrick are a strong duo and some of the talent coming in looks like it could contribute immediately.

In the final installment of the blog, I’ll share with you my 21-25 ranked preseason Top 25 men’s teams in Division III along with some final notes and personal reactions.