Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
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Rich Dunham (above, in 2018) and Gwynedd Mercy made a nice jump from their preseason rankings thanks to an undefeated start. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
It’s time for our first in-season update to our D-III Power Poll!
In case you forgot, unlike our old D-III Power Rankings, this year’s rankings are voted on by a panel of 15 area Division III coaches and SIDs, then compiled by the CoBL staff. This week’s voting revealed a few tiers: a clear No. 1, six teams behind them who were included on just about everybody’s ballot –– and then a free-for all, with seven teams getting serious consideration for those last three spots, and a couple more picking up votes as well.
Look for the next update to this Power Poll midway through December.
This year’s voting panel: John Baron (Head Coach/Gwynedd Mercy), Justin Baxter (Head Coach/Bryn Athyn), Pat Doherty (Head Coach/Haverford), Andy Edwards (SID/Ursinus), Scott Guise (SID/York), Robert Hughes (Head Coach/Rosemont), Tim McDonald (Head Coach/Cabrini), Casey McGarvey (SID/Elizabethtown), Mike McGarvey (Head Coach/Lycoming), Laurence Messler (SID/Immaculata), Dan Mouw (SID/Eastern), Jason O’Connell (Head Coach/Cairn) Alan Seretti (Head Coach/Dickinson), Jon Tanous (Head Coach/Penn State-Abington), Adam Van Zelst (Head Coach/Arcadia)
Next to each team's name is their Power Points ranking (PP) in parenthesis. We took the average of their votes with an assigned point scale (10 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, etc.). So a team with a Power Point rating of 6.5 was picked on average between 4th and 5th; a team with a power point rating of 3.1 was picked on average just above 8th place, etc.
Receiving Votes: Messiah (3-1), PSU-Harrisburg (4-1), Arcadia (4-2), PSU-Abington (3-1), Lycoming (4-1), Eastern (3-3), Neumann (3-3)
Dropped out: Cairn (7), Arcadia (8), Eastern (10)
10. Franklin & Marshall (Last Poll: 9; Power Points: 1.33)
Standout Star(s): Justin Kupa, Jr./G (18.0 ppg, 4.3 steals/game), Solomon Mathis, Soph./G (11.0 ppg)
Notes: The Diplomats have only played three games thus far, beating Lancaster Bible before losing to nationally-ranked Christopher Newport, then bouncing back to beat Albright on Friday night. They’ve held both of their opponents to 55 or below in their wins, limiting Albright to 1-of-10 from 3-point range and forcing 26 turnovers in the win. They’re losing the rebound battle by an average of 12 per game, however.
9. Gettysburg College (NR; 1.80)
Standout Star(s): Alex Leder, Jr./G (14.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Nick Lord, Sr./F (12.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg), Avery Close, Jr./F (11.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
Notes: The Bullets knocked off Southern Virginia and SUNY-Geneseo to win their own season-opening tournament, then kept it going by destroying PSU-Berks (98-54) and traveling for a win at Del-Val (86-77) on Saturday. They’re outscoring opponents by 19.8 ppg, shooting 46.5% from 3-point range while limiting opponents to 28.8% from deep. Conference tests start next.
8. Susquehanna University (6; 2.00)
Standout Star(s): Lukas Yurasits, Soph./G (16.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Zachary Knecht, Sr./F (10.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
Notes: The River Hawks bounced back from their second defeat of the season, at Messiah on Wednesday, by downing Misericordia by 44 on Saturday, scoring 90+ for the third time this year. Eight players are averaging five or more points per contest, and 17 different players have scored a point for head coach Frank Marcinek’s squad. They’re also shooting a nifty 41.3% from 3-point range and holding opponents to 32.6%, with a turnover margin of +5.3/game and double the points off turnovers as their opponents (18.5 to 9.7/game).
7. Muhlenberg College (RV; 5.14)
Standout Star(s): Spencer Duke, Jr./F (14.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Dan Gaines, Soph./G (13.7 ppg, 4.3 apg), Matt Gnais, Sr./G (10.8 ppg, 4.5 apg)
Notes: The Mules haven’t been dominant, winning their games by an average of 8.9 ppg, but you can’t deny an unbeaten start in six games, and the rest of the area has taken notice. They’re out-rebounding opponents by 9.4 boards/game, and are out-shooting their opponents overall (.475 to .432) despite a deficit in 3-point shooting (.314 to .368), further showing their dominance around the rim. Former Amherst standout Kevin Hopkins might have something special brewing in his third season in the Lehigh Valley.
6. Widener Pride (RV; 5.20)
Standout Star(s): Elijah Boyd, Sr./SF (13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Pat Holden, Soph./G (12.2 ppg) Kenny Lewis, Soph./F (10.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg)
Notes: The Pride have to be pretty proud about the way they’ve come out, winning their five games by an average of 13.8 ppg, holding opponents to 37.5% from the floor while holding small-but-effective margins in rebounding and turnovers. Their trophies so far include Mount Aloysius, PSU-Harrisburg, Bryn Athyn, Kean, and Catholic; Misericordia and a trip to Farmingdale State in the way before MAC Commonwealth play begins on Dec. 4.
5. Ursinus College (5; 5.86)
Standout Star(s): Ryan Hughes, Soph./G (18.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg), Ryan McTamney, Sr./F (16.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
Notes: The Bears have come out on fire, making more than half of their shots through their first five games, hitting 44% from deep while holding opponents to 27.5%. Their only loss, to No. 24 Randolph-Macon at Messiah, came by four points; overall, they’re outscoring opponents by 10.4 ppg. Best win so far has been at Lycoming, but opportunities for more are coming up soon, with Haverford (at Haverford) and Swarthmore (at home) next.
4. DeSales University (3; 6.53)
Standout Star(s): Kweku Dawson-Amoah, Sr./F (15.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg); Tracy Simsick, Sr./SF (14.5 ppg), Timmy Edwards, Jr./F (13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Notes: The Bulldogs lost their season opener to Muhlenberg but have ripped off three straight wins since, beating Wesley and Alvernia up at SUNY-Oneonta before taking out Rosemont on the road on Saturday. DeSales has been great on the boards, with 10 players averaging multiple rebounds each game and the team holding a +9.7 advantage on the glass, but they’re also allowing opponents to hit 40% from 3-point range.
3. York (Pa.) Spartans (2; 6.71)
Standout Star(s): Jared Wagner, Sr./G (13.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.4 apg), David Giuliani, Jr./F (10.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Notes: The Spartans have dropped two games early, but no shame in losing to either Roanoke or Hopkins on the road. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, with a trip to Gwynedd, followed by a visit from F&M, then a trip to Scranton; Capital Athletic play doesn’t begin until January. The Spartans are remarkably close to their opponents in rebounds/game (36 to 34), turnovers/game (15.6 to 15.4), and 3-point percentage (33.9 to 33.7), but are ahead in overall field-goal percentage (47.3 to 40.6) and scoring (76.6 to 66.0).
2. Gwynedd Mercy (4; 8.50)
Standout Star(s): Rich Dunham, Sr./G (16.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Jeff Segiafuse, Sr./G (13.8 ppg), Austin Harriott, Sr./G (12.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg)
Notes: The Griffins have started off the season with road wins at Alvernia and Lebanon Valley, with home wins over Centenary and Arcadia (in the annual Battle of 309). The Griffins have been outshooting their opponents from 3-point range (36.4% to 28.2%), and also forcing 18 turnovers/game while only giving it away 12.3/game. Still nine games to go until Atlantic East play begins in January, with some tough opponents to come soon.
1. Swarthmore College (1; 10.00)
Standout Star(s): George Visconti, Soph./G (16.8 ppg), Zac O’Dell, Sr./F (12.8 ppg, 11.0 rpg)
Notes: The No. 1 team in the country per D3Hoops.com hasn’t disappointed thus far, winning their four games by an average of 18.2 ppg as head coach Landry Kosmalski keeps it clicking down in Delco. They’re outshooting their opponents over (.454 to .377) and from 3-point range (.364 to .305), crushing opponents on the glass (+10.0/game), with a +2.0/game turnover differential and +6.5/game points off turnover differential. In other words, they’re really, really good.