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Division III Power Poll: Dec. 16, 2019

12/16/2019, 10:30am EST
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

It’s time for our next 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 on Mon., Jan. 6.

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: PSU-Abington (6-2, 1-0 NEAC); DeSales (3-3, 0-0 MAC Freedom); Moravian (5-3, 1-0 Landmark); Messiah (6-3, 1-2 MAC Commonwealth); PSU-Harrisburg (5-3, 1-0 NEAC)

Dropped Out: Franklin & Marshall (10)

10. Gettysburg College (Last Poll: 9; Power Points: 2.07)
Record: 6-2 (1-2 Centennial)
Standout Stars: Nick Antolini, Sr./G (16.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Avery Close, Jr./F (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
Update: The Bullets have gone 2-2 since our last update, beating F&M (67-55) and Juniata (73-54) before losing road games to top-15 programs in Johns Hopkins (72-66) and Swarthmore (93-65). It’s a tough stretch for G’burg, which doesn’t play a home game from Nov. 26 until Jan. 9, but the Bullets are rewarded with a home-friendly back stretch. As a team, they’re shooting 40.5% from deep, with small advantages on the glass and turnovers. 

9. Lycoming College (RV; 2.14)
7-3 (2-2 MAC Commonwealth)
Standout Stars: Dyson Harward, Fr./C (12.7 ppg/7.8 rpg), D’Yante Doughty, Jr./G (12.4 ppg/7.0 rpg)
Update: The Warriors hadn’t had much trouble scoring the ball this season (74.7 ppg) but they only managed 54 in a three-point loss to Widener on Saturday, their second loss in three games, though they’re 3-2 since our last update. They’ll be off to Florida for their holiday tournament, host Juniata on Jan. 5 and then jump back into league play. Albright, Hood, Lebanon Valley and Arcadia are the next four Commonwealth games on their schedule, so we’ll have a much clearer picture of that conference race and where they stand by then.

8. Ursinus College (5; 2.50)
Record: 5-3 (1-2 Centennial)
Standout Stars: Ryan McTamney, Sr./F (18.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Jimmy Kpadeh (9.1 ppg, 4.9 apg)
Update: Since opening 4-1 by our last poll, Ursinus lost to upstart Haverford and then nearly knocked off Swarthmore (88-86) before beating McDaniel on Dec. 7, their most recent contest. They get three of their next four at home before a brutal mid-January stretch of @ Muhlenberg, @ Hopkins and @ Swarthmore, where we’ll find out just how good this Bears squad really is. They’re really making a difference around the arc, hitting 39.5% from deep while holding opponents to 29.9%.

7. Susquehanna University (8; 2.60)
Record: 6-3 (1-0 Landmark)
Standout Stars: Lucas Yurasits (14.9 ppg/4.4 rpg), Danny Frauenheim (11.4 ppg/4.6 apg)
Update: The River Hawks went 2-1 since our last check-in, losing at Lycoming in OT before winning at Juniata (their first conference game) and then at home against Neumann, also in OT. There isn’t really a bad loss on the schedule, but there aren’t any eye-opening wins, either. They’ll play at F&M’s holiday tournament to close out the year, then at Wilkes on Jan. 4 before getting into the meat of Landmark play. Of the top nine players in the rotation, six are shooting better than 35% from 3-point range, making them tough to guard from deep (38.9% as a team).

6. Muhlenberg College (7; 5.07)
8-2 (2-2 Centennial)
Standout Stars: Dan Gaines (13.3 ppg/4.8 rpg), Matt Gnais (11.5 ppg/3.2 apg)
Update: The Mules’ unbeaten start to the season came to a halt this week, as No. 11 Johns Hopkins came up to Allentown for a 59-55 win and then the Mules traveled to Haverford but were downed 68-62. Those close results show that the Mules are very much in the Centennial conversation, but they’ll need to start picking up conference wins soon –– although their next league game is No. 1 Swarthmore on Jan. 9. Things get a little easier after that, but they’ll have some work to do if they pick up a third loss.

5. Haverford College (NR; 6.29)
Record: 8-1 (4-0 Centennial)
Standout Stars: Jesse Turkson, Jr./F (14.7 ppg/8.9 rpg), Jonathan Lang (12.9 ppg)
Update: There’s certainly no bigger surprise in the area than Haverford, which didn’t get any votes in our last poll –– and has never appearanced in a CoBL Power Ranking, in the previous five years we did it –– but there’s no ignoring the Fords now. They’ve taken out Ursinus, Dickinson, F&M and Muhlenberg so far in league play, and while Haverford hasn’t yet played Hopkins or Swarthmore, they’re the only other unbeaten team in the Centennial. They’re outshooting opponents, winning the rebound battle and the turnover battle, out-scoring opponents by 11.2 ppg, and have seven different regular rotation members averaging 6.0 ppg or more. The big test will come Jan. 15 @ Swarthmore, but that’s five games away.

4. Gwynedd Mercy (2; 6.50)
Record: 7-2 (0-0 Atlantic East)
Standout Stars: Rich Dunham, Sr./G (14.3 ppg/3.8 rpg), Austin Harriott, Sr./F (12.3 ppg/7.1 rpg)an
Update: The Griffins split their games this past weekend at York (N.Y.), and have won three of four since our last update. There’s still four games to go until AEast play begins, including a trip to Miami this week for the HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout, followed by games at PSU-Abington and against Rutgers-Camden at home before league play starts Jan. 11 at Marywood. They’re a strong shooting team, hitting 37.8% from deep while holding opponents to 30.2%, and have slight advantages on the glass and in turnovers.

Junior guard Jared Peters is one of four double-figure scorers on unbeaten Widener. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

3. Widener Pride (6; 8.07)
10-0 (3-0 MAC Commonwealth)
Standout Stars: Elijah Boyd, Sr./G (12.7 ppg/5.0 rpg), Kenny Lewis, Soph./F (12.0 ppg/7.3 rpg)
Update: The Pride are one of just two teams in the region without a loss, and while they don’t quite have the resume of Swarthmore, there’s no doubt that Chris Carideo’s group is on a roll. Widener’s out-scoring their opponents by an average of 14.5 ppg, shooting 43.5% overall and 34.9% from deep while holding opponents to 37.5% and 27.9%, respectively. They’re also winning on the glass (+4.2/game) and turning it over two times fewer per game than their opponents, and have five players averaging between 9.1 and 12.7 ppg. They’re the real deal. Up next are a couple of D-I opponents, Lafayette and Penn, though the first of those is technically an exhibition for Widener.

2. York (Pa.) Spartans (3; 8.71)
7-2 (0-0 Capital Athletic)
Standout Stars: Jared Wagner, Sr./G (16.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg), David Giuliani, Jr./F (13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Update: The Spartans have got things cooking, on a four-game win streak that started with a road victory over previous No. 2 Gwynedd Mercy (88-67) and followed up with F&M, @ Scranton and Del-Val at home. Matt Hunter has a roster with size on the wings and in the frontcourt, and Wagner makes sure the Spartans control the pace and run their stuff. Still five games until they get to CAC league play –– for the last time, as they’ll be joining the MAC Commonwealth next year.

1. Swarthmore College (1; 10.00)
Record: 9-0 (4-0 Centennial)
Standout Stars: Zac O’Dell, Sr./F (12.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg), Conor Harkins, Sr./G (9.8 ppg)
Update: Even without leading scorer George Visconti (14.6 ppg) for a couple games, the Garnet kept their unbeaten streak rolling, with Harkins jumping into the starting lineup to deliver a 22-point outing against Gettysburg. They’ve been busy since our last update, winning five games –– including over No. 11 Johns Hopkins on Dec. 10 in their toughest test of the year –– but now get a three-week break until they resume play Jan. 2 against Rochester. Oh, and Visconti’s already back.

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