It’s that time of the week! The Week 11 D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll is out and I submitted by ballot yesterday afternoon, which I posted to Twitter. It is crazy to believe we only have two ballots left to submit this year…this season has flown by. A few conference tournaments are starting this week, the rest coming next week. Before postseason action begins, here’s how I saw the Week 11 Top 25, with the ranking for each team in the poll listed in parentheses next to the ranking I gave that team in my ballot. As always, drop your thoughts in the comments section below. Also feel free to shoot me a DM on Twitter (@ZayasRiley) or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always appreciate insight from readers! All the info listed below should be spot-on, but apologies in advance for any flaws. This is not a perfect perspective on the Top 25 by any means. Just one voter’s view of things. As we’ve said so many times this season, there is such a vast number of top quality D3 WBB programs that several great teams will be left off ballots each week.
Side Note: Your D3 hoops viewing schedule tonight should include the rematch between DeSales and Stevens, as DeSales seeks to avenge its only loss of the year. 8 pm EST tip-off in that one. Additionally, Hoopsville had yet another phenomenal show last night with a number of great MBB & WBB interviews that you should certainly check out. Link to that archive is here: https://www.d3hoops.com/hoopsville/archives/2022-23/feb13. And Dave will be on air again Thursday, as Hoopsville is the home of the Top 16 reveal from the MBB and WBB national tournament selection committees. These Top 16 are ideally the 16 who would host in the first weekend of the national tournament if the season ended today. Link to that show will be put out in my Thursday morning post.
Getting to the poll…
The Week 11 D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll
Biggest risers: Gustavus Adolphus (+7), Baldwin Wallace (+7)
Biggest drops: Trinity CT (-7), Puget Sound (-5)
ADDITIONS: Loras (#24), Millikin (#25)
SUBTRACTIONS: La Verne (#23), Rochester (#25)
I really liked…that Gustavus Adolphus broke into the Top 15. This is a team that will really do some damage in the NCAA Tournament, and currently has a .913 win percentage and a .529 SOS. Not enough for one of those Top 16 seeds probably, but still pretty exceptional. They continue to separate themselves in the MIAC.
I didn’t like…Messiah sliding all the way up to #13. I will say that middle part of the ballot is a challenge at times, with no good options for a team in that 12-15 range. But Messiah seems to be a team relying on its win percentage rather than the quality of opponents played. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good team, I’ve seen them play. But #13 good? I don’t know about that. Most of their “quality” wins came before Dec. 10, so in late February, that’s a hard argument to make, sliding a team up two spots.
1-Christopher Newport (#1)- The Captains rolled past Salisbury on the road in their lone game of the week. They’re at that No. 1 caliber and likely won’t move out of this spot for me, unless a loss makes me reconsider.
2-Trinity TX (#4)- Trinity bounced back from the loss to Colorado College by trouncing Dallas 109-47, and Austin, 84-40. The Tigers play at home from here on out, with two regular season games left (both at home), then the SCAC Tournament on their campus in the week to follow.
3- -NYU #6)- The Violets made a statement this week, and moved up two spots in my ballot. I debated whether or not to mvoe NYU higher than 5th, but with a statement win over Chicago and another over WashU this weekend, I couldn’t keep them that low.
4-Scranton (#3)- The Lady Royals pulled out a road win at Elizabethtown in overtime in a solid effort and also beat Drew, 54-42, this past week. Two nice wins there. These top 8 or so are very close in margin for me. They could honestly be put in any order, and I’d probably agree, somewhat.
5- Smith (#5)- Smith had a really strong week of its own, winning by a somewhat surprising 74-56 winning margin at Springfield, along with an exceptional 80-67 win over Babson. Smith is now 22-1 and watching them multiple times recently, they appear to be a squad that will make a tournament run.
6-Transylvania (#2)-Transy held Mount St. Joseph and Anderson each below 40 points in two more dominant defensive efforts this past week. I really like the way the Pioneers are playing right now, with an experienced roster, and I expect they will be in the Top 16 on Thursday, despite many of the numbers (such as SOS and results v/RROs) being lower than most of the teams in that conversation.
7-Hope (#7)- Hope took down Calvin in a great game on Wednesday, and held Olivet to just 18 points in Saturday’s win. 18 points! The bottom half of the MIAA is really weak, so from a numbers standpoint, that game actually hurts Hope’s SOS a bit. But what can you do? Overall, the Flying Dutch have a very solid resume, and more than pass the eye test for me. Hope is a national title contender, and I like the depth on the roster as well. That depth will help them tremendously come tournament time.
8-UW-Whitewater (#16)- The Warhawks pick up two more high-quality WIAC wins, taking down Oshkosh and Stout, and after having their struggles throughout the course of the conference schedule, became the first WIAC team to clinch at least a share of the conference title.
9-DeSales (#9)- DeSales dominated against Immaculata and Delaware Valley this past week, and should be in the Top 16 despite a very low SOS. I didn’t move DeSales up or down this week.
10-Hardin-Simmons (#8)- The Cowgirls slide up to 10th after putting 120 points on McMurry in their only game of the week. Kendra Whitehead has her team at top level right now, already locked in to host the final two rounds of the ASC Tournament, along with receiving a quarterfinal round bye.
11-Trine (#15)- I had the Thunder four spots higher than where they ended up in the poll. The win at Calvin on Saturday did it for me. Trine looked composed and played very well in a tough road atmosphere against an experienced and talented Calvin squad. That’s a big win there in addition to the other notable victories they have on their resume currently. However, I think #15 is fair…Massey has them #17.
12-Gustavus Adolphus (#14)- This is a team that continues to impress, and it was nice to see them rewarded with a Top 15 ranking this week. I had them 12th as I came away convinced in the Gusties’ standing as one of the nation’s top squads after Wednesday’s dominant 82-56 win over Concordia-Moorhead, who is in the Pool C conversation and Gustavus’ main challenger in the MIAC. Nobody has been able to slow the Gusties in MIAC play.
13- WashU (#22)- You can’t really fault the loss at NYU. That’s a tough place to play and an even tougher team to beat. They end up sliding down two spots for me, but part of that is me putting Gusty higher, rather than purposely dropping WashU lower. It’s somewhat of a mute point, but for the record, NYU certainly didn’t dominate WashU. The stats were fairly similar and WashU actually led by a solid margin throughout the first half and into the third quarter before NYU closed the gap and won by five. WashU also beat Brandeis this past week, moving to 16-6 overall.
14-Trinity CT (#19)- Trinity knew how tough the end of the NESCAC schedule was, but I’m not sure that many people anticipated Trinity going 1-3 to end the regular season. The Bantams were 0-2 against Bates and Tufts this past weekend, and though both games were competitive, Trinity was unable to get the job done on the road. Naturally, that hurts their ranking ability a little bit, especially as the three losses in their final four games moved them out of first place in the league standings. But I still think this is a team equipped for a deep run. Teams will key in on Reilly Campbell so it’ll be about who can step up around her in that post unit that will have an effect on Trinity’s postseason success. Just my $0.02.
15-Ithaca (#10)- Ithaca hasn’t played many top notch opponents within the last month and a half, but a 21-2 record can’t be easily ignored. I just don’t know how good the Bombers are. Outside of Skidmore (#96 Massey), Ithaca hasn’t played a Massey Top 150 team in their last 10 games. Looking forward to seeing them in a high-quality battle come tournament time.
16-Chicago (#18)- Chicago’s loss at NYU bothered me a little bit. I can understand a 10-point loss, even a 20-point loss. After all, NYU is stellar, and you’re on the road. But Chicago losing 80-44 definitely surprised me on Friday evening. Of course that’s not the only reason I dropped them two spots. Part of it was also Gustavus Adolphus playing really well and Ithaca jumping up in my ballot. Chicago is certainly in the Pool C conversation, but it appears that it’ll be a two-way battle between NYU and WashU for the UAA crown.
17-UW-Oshkosh (RV)- Maybe my most controversial (or questionable) selection of the week. I’ll admit, #17 is somewhat high. By my calculations, all eight points UWO received came from me. That’s ok. The Titans went 0-2 this past week, so I didn’t anticipate they would show up on a lot of ballots. But looking at the total body of work, UWO has an outstanding resume. Wins over Wartburg, DePauw, and Ripon are great in non-conference, and in the WIAC, they’ve beaten La Crosse, Stout, and Eau Claire all at least once. Their Pool C chances seem fairly favorable right now as well.
18-Millikin (#25)-Millikin broke back into the Top 25, though seven spots lower than where I had them. The CCIW’s leader is in a tough Region 8, with WashU, Transylvania, and Chicago all in there. But I don’t think Millikin will be contending for a Pool C on Selection Monday (or “Matchup Monday”, I’ve heard both terms used). They won twice on the road at IWU and Carthage this past week, looking very sharp in both. Head coach Olivia Lett has her squad ready for a tournament run.
19-UW-Eau Claire (RV)- The Blugolds aren’t ranked for the second straight week, and like UWO, I can see why. But applying my similar line of thinking and approach to this ballot, UWEC’s SOS and total body of work cannot be overlooked. Massey has the Blugolds #2 nationally in SOS and while I thought the last five games from UWEC were decent but not outstanding by any means, overall, when I compare UWEC to the rest of the teams in competition for these final six spots in my ballot, I don’t see a better resume or a more dangerous tournament team.
20-Puget Sound (#21)- The tough part about teams with resumes like Puget Sound’s is that one loss can cause some significant ramifications. Though the Loggers had been frequently trailing NWC opponents in the first half of games only to dominate in the second half, Pacific found a way to maintain its lead and shock PS on the Loggers’ home court this past week. I had no choice but to drop them five spots, mostly because other teams were just more deserving. I’m more interested to see how much the loss affects regional rankings in Region 10. It shouldn’t be too much, though R10 has been a roller coaster this year.
21-Wartburg (#20)- Wartburg enters my ballot after yet another 2-0 week, with wins over Central and Buena Vista. The Knights will have a challenge on their hands against the next team in my ballot, Loras, in Saturday’s regular season finale, but haven’t lost since Dec. 20. I’ve watched a bit more of them since they broke into the poll last week and this definitely appears to be a team that will be dangerous in March. They’ll almost certainly have a tough first weekend draw, though, so a tournament run will not come easily.
22-Loras (#24)- The Duhawks, also out of the ARC remain in my ballot, and are back in the poll as well. That’s good to see. Loras has taken a pair of losses in conference action, but since losing to Wartburg on Jan. 18, the Duhawks have rattled off six straight victories. It’s a two-way battle between Wartburg and Loras atop the ARC standings and right now, there isn’t a clear favorite.
23-Babson (#17)- Babson slides down five spots in my ballot, in part due to Wartburg and Loras rising and PS and UWEC sliding further down, but still deserving a higher ranking than Babson from perspective. The Beavers were 1-1 this past week, losing by 13 at Smith, while beating Wellesley. I need to see a bit more of Babson if I’m going to rank the Beavers ahead of a team like UWEC or Puget Sound.
24-Baldwin Wallace (#12)- The Yellow Jackets prevailed in a big way on Wednesday night, taking down ONU in overtime, 66-62. It was a well-executed performance from BW, and though I’m not yet sold on the Yellow Jackets, they have the resume of a Top 25 team in my opinion. I will say it feels a bit too high to have BW at #12 in the poll; Massey has them #24 and Scott Peterson’s model has them #31.
25- Ohio Northern (#11)- I wasn’t sure what to do with ONU. They have an .850 win percentage and .585 SOS but at the same time struggled at times against Capital and John Carroll. I thought they were decent against BW, despite coming away with the loss. Maybe I’m being too harsh on ONU, I don’t know. This is the largest point of difference between my ballot and the poll, with a difference of 14 spots. I’ll reevaluate next week, but it’s really difficult with these teams who have been inconsistent in their last 8-10 games and aren’t generally favored as a Top 25 team by computers, but still have some quality wins and a resume worthy to be in the Top 4 of their region.
30-Rhode Island College
Fell Out: Rochester, Calvin
Back In: Wartburg, Baldwin Wallace
Biggest risers: Gustavus Adolphus (+7), Ithaca (+5), Hardin-Simmons (+3), Millikin (+3)
Biggest drops: Puget Sound (-6), Babson (-5), ONU (-3)
I’ll end it here. Some good games tonight that you’ll want to tune into…livestream/live stat links are always on D3hoops.com.
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