Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
It’s been two weeks since our last Division III power rankings, which means it’s time to once again take a look around the region’s small-college scene and see who’s playing well, and who’s slipping.
There wasn’t a ton of action this last fortnight, though several programs did make various trips down to Florida for a pair of games; as such, there wasn’t too much movement in this week’s rankings.
Here’s our current top 10, as well as the programs that are battling for a mention:
Others to Watch: Albright (5-5, 3-0 MAC Commonwealth), Arcadia (5-4, 2-1 MAC Commonwealth), Bryn Athyn (4-4, 2-2 NEAC), Centenary (7-4, 3-1 CSAC), Delaware Valley (3-5, 0-0 MAC Freedom), Franklin & Marshall (5-3, 1-3 Centennial), Immaculata (3-5, 2-1 CSAC), Lebanon Valley (6-5, 2-2 MAC Commonwealth), Muhlenberg (6-3, 2-2 Centennial), Penn State-Abington (3-4, 2-1 NEAC), Penn State-Harrisburg (4-5, 1-3 Capital), Rosemont (4-5, 2-2 CSAC), Ursinus (5-4, 3-1 Centennial), Widener (5-5, 1-3 MAC Commonwealth), York (6-3, 2-2 Capital)
10. Lebanon Valley Dutchmen (Last Week: OTW)
Record: 6-5 (2-2 MAC Commonwealth)
Last Two Weeks: vs. Cairn (W, 74-54), @ Elizabethtown (W, 73-61)
Star Watch: Andy Orr (Jr./F) -- 20.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg
The Dutchmen move back into the rankings after going back above .500 with a pair of wins, making them 6-4 against D-III competition and winners of three of their last four games. They’re overly-reliant on two stud juniors, Orr and Sam Light (21.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg), with no other player on the team averaging more than the 7.2 ppg of Travis Conrad. But Conrad, who missed the first five games of the season, looks like he’s rounding into form, going for 17 points in the win over E-Town; getting a consistent third scorer would be a huge boost to LVC.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Brooklyn College (@ Daytona Beach, Dec. 28, 7 PM), vs. Clark University (@ Daytona Beach, Dec. 29, 9 PM), @ Lycoming (Jan. 4, 8 PM, vs. Albright (Jan. 7, 1 PM)
9. Alvernia Crusaders (4)
Record: 6-4 (2-2 MAC Commonwealth)
Last Two Weeks: @ Lycoming (L, 86-85) vs. Buffalo State (@ Miami, Fl., L, 72-65), vs. Goucher (@ Miami, Fl., W, 67-44)
Star Watch: Marquis Marshall (Sr./F) -- 22.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Maybe this is a little bit too steep of a drop considering those two losses were by a combined eight points before the win over Goucher, but I couldn’t justify having them any higher. Then again, they’re 3-3 in their last six games, which doesn’t merit much considering everybody above them has been better of late. Anyways, Marshall had his most dominant individual performance of the season with 34 points and 12 rebounds against Lycoming, knocking down six of his 10 3-pointers, but it wasn’t quite enough as Lycoming won it on a Chris Wallace layup with 22 seconds left.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Juniata (@ DeSales, Dec. 29, 8 PM), vs. DeSales/St. Joe’s Brooklyn (@ DeSales, Dec. 30, 6/8 PM), @ Arcadia (Jan. 4, 8 PM)
8. Gwynedd-Mercy Griffins (9)
Record: 8-2 (2-1 CSAC)
Last Two Weeks: @ Gallaudet (W, 82-77), vs Manhattanville (@ Miami, Fl., W, 78-63), vs. Goucher (@ Miami, Fl., W, 82-62
Star Watch: Cedric Elleby (Sr./F) -- 18.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg
The Griffins’ record implies that they should be higher than No. 8 in this poll, but we weren’t going to bump teams above them for losing to Division I opponents, so they’ll need to wait a little longer to move up the rankings assuming the winning continues. John Baron has a squad with a lot of weapons, and lately it’s been Elleby, a 6-3 forward out of Delsea (N.J.) who’s been leading the way, going for 20 against Gallaudet, 21 (and eight rebounds) against Manhattanville and then 24 and seven boards against Goucher, pacing the team in all three games. Coming up, they’ve got two league games against teams with a combined 4-14 (0-6) record, so anything less than two wins will be a significant let-down.
Next Two Weeks: @ Clarks Summit (Jan. 5, 8 PM), vs. Keystone (Jan. 7, 3 PM)
7. Cabrini Cavaliers (8)
Record: 5-3 (3-0 CSAC)
Last Two Weeks: @ Lehigh (L, 93-72)
Star Watch: Tyheim Monroe (Jr./F) -- 21.4 ppg, 16.3 rpg
No shame in losing to Lehigh, which is not only a Division I opponent but the Patriot League favorite, and staying within 20 points of Brett Reed’s Mountain Hawks is a moral victory for sure. Monroe showed that he’s capable of handling himself against a terrific mid-major big man in Lehigh’s Tim Kempton, going for 17 points and 14 rebounds against the two-time defending Patriot League Player of the Year; Ivan Robinson (16 points) and Joe Mostardi (10) also got in double figures. After two games at the Moravian Greyhound Classic, the Cavaliers start off the league stretch of the season with a clash against conference favorite Neumann in a can’t-miss game.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Montclair State (@ Moravian, Dec. 30, 6:30 PM), @ Moravian (Dec. 31, 5:30 PM), vs. Neumann (Jan. 5, 8 PM), vs. Centenary (Jan. 7, 3 PM)
6. DeSales Bulldogs (7)
Record: 6-3 (0-0 MAC Freedom)
Last Two Weeks: vs. Penn State-Harrisburg (W, 91-56)
Star Watch: Kuity Slanger (Sr./G) -- 9.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.2 apg
What stands out about the Bulldogs’ one win these last two weeks isn’t just the margin of victory, but the balance. Slanger (15 points) and Connor Jones (16 points) led the way, but then there were seven other players who scored either six or eight points; all-in-all, a dozen DeSales players scored at least four points in an impressive display of depth. That makes it three wins in a row for DeSales, which opens the Al Senavitis Memorial Tournament with St. Joe’s-Brooklyn; the New Year brings with it the first games of MAC Freedom play, and they’re not easy ones.
Next Two Weeks: vs. St. Joe’s-Brooklyn (Dec. 29, 6 PM), vs. Juniata/Alvernia (Dec. 30, 5/7 PM), vs. Eastern (Jan. 4, 8 PM), @ Delaware Valley (Jan. 7, 3 PM)
5. Moravian Greyhounds (6)
Record: 7-3 (1-0 Landmark)
Last Two Weeks: @ Lafayette (L, 104-67)
Star Watch: Oneil Holder (Soph./F) -- 10.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg
The Leopards certainly didn’t go easy on their Lehigh Valley neighbors, dropping 14 3-pointers and shooting better than 53 percent overall in the easy victory; Holder, a 6-5 forward from East Stroudsburg South, led the way with 14 points for the Greyhounds. After an 11-day layoff, Moravian gets back to business on Friday against a 5-3 PSU-LV squad before hosting No. 8 Cabrini on New Years’ Eve; conference play then begins for real with a trip to Susquehanna, which we’ll see further down (up?) the poll.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Penn State-Lehigh Valley (Dec. 30, 4:30 PM), vs. Cabrini (Dec. 31, 5:30 PM), @ Susquehanna (Jan. 7, 4 PM)
4. Dickinson Red Devils (5)
Record: 6-2 (3-1 Centennial)
Last Two Weeks: N/A
Star Watch: N/A
No action for Dickinson these last two weeks, but they move up a spot thanks to Alvernia’s two losses. Tough two games in D.C. no matter who they play, then another non-conference test as Susquehanna comes to down before a visit from Haverford signifies the beginning of the league stretch, which leads right into the playoffs. Time to find out just how good this young (no seniors) group of Red Devils are.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Stockton (@ Catholic, Dec. 29, 7 PM), vs. TBD (@ Catholic, Dec. 30), vs. Susquehanna (Jan. 3, 7 PM), vs. Haverford (Jan. 7, 4 PM)
3. Swarthmore Garnet (2)
Record: 8-1 (4-0 Centennial)
Last Two Weeks: vs. Rowan (L, 92-84), vs. Averett (W, 61-60)
Star Watch: Chris Bourne (Sr./F) -- 9.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg
The Garnet suffered their first loss of the year in their own holiday tournament, turning it over 22 times as Rowan came into town and literally stole a win away. And beating a 2-8 Averett team by a point isn’t exactly inspiring either, especially considering Averett shot under 40 percent from the floor and made only a quarter of its 16 3-pointers. They’ll need to snap out of that quickly, as two much tougher non-conference opponents in Hood (10-1) and Catholic (7-2) await on the road before Centennial play starts in earnest.
Next Two Weeks: @ Hood (Dec. 30, 6 PM), @ Catholic (Jan. 3, 6 PM), @ Gettysburg (Jan. 7, 3 PM)
2. Susquehanna River Hawks (3)
Record: 9-1 (1-0 Landmark)
Last Two Weeks: vs. LaGrange (@ Miami, Fl., W, 82-65), vs. Eastern (@ Miami, Fl., W, 82-76)
Star Watch: Steven Weidlich (Sr./G) -- 21.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg
A nine-game winning streak has lifted Susquehanna into the second slot in our rankings, as once again Frank Marcinek has his squad playing at a very high level. The two wins last week included a victory over Eastern in the Eagles’ event down in Miami; Weidlich, a 6-1 guard, scored 26 (on 11-19 shooting) against LaGrange and then 19 plus nine rebounds against Eastern. Junior forward Ryan Traub also continues to play well, scoring 22 and grabbing eight rebounds against EU after a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) against LaGrange.
Next Two Weeks: @ Dickinson (Jan. 3, 7 PM), vs. Lancaster Bible (Jan. 5, 7 PM), vs. Moravian (Jan. 7, 4 PM)
1. Neumann Knights (1)
Record: 8-0 (3-0 CSAC)
Last Two Weeks: N/A
Star Watch: N/A
Pretty simple -- Neumann had two weeks off, and they stay in the top spot. Aside from the game against Scranton, and one against Rutgers-Camden (Jan. 9), the Knights have CSAC play for the rest of the season. The trip to Cabrini, as noted above, will be the team’s biggest game of the season so far, but there’s a lot of hoops still to be played.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Scranton (Dec. 30, 3 PM), vs. Marywood (Jan. 3, 8 PM), @ Cabrini (Jan. 5, 8 PM), @ Cairn (Jan. 7, 3 PM)