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CoBL-area D-III Power Rankings: Feb. 6, 2024 (MBB)

02/06/2024, 2:00pm EST
By Jeff Griffith

By Jeff Griffith (@hooplove215)
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The area’s Division III men’s teams are fighting for conference titles, conference tournament seeding and more as the regular season nears its close; in the meantime, CoBL’s area rankings have shuffled slightly since mid-January including a flip at the top.

Here’s the full list:

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Previous Rankings: Preseason (Nov. 6) | Nov. 28 | Dec. 19 | Jan. 13 | Feb. 6

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DeSales and senior Christian Guldin are 19-2 this year. (Photo: Courtesy Stephanie Graffin/DeSales Athletics)

 1. DeSales Bulldogs

Record: 19-2 (10-0 MAC Freedom)

Last Three Weeks: vs. Stevens (W, 63-60), at Delaware Valley (W, 83-69), at Misericordia (W, 80-78), at Arcadia (W, 87-61), vs. King’s (W, 86-46), vs FDU-Florham (W, 74-47)

It’s been a truly banner year for both DeSales basketball programs; the two are both 19-2, both 10-0 in conference, and both ripped through their January slates. For the DeSales men, though, there have been a couple of key close wins — one by two at Misericordia (12-9, 6-4) and one by three over Stevens (17-4, 8-2) — that have kept the Bulldogs’ unbeaten league record and 16-game win streak afloat. The Bulldogs will visit Stevens one more time with a chance to clinch the MAC Freedom regular season title, and then face a manageable remaining schedule as they try to lock down an undefeated conference season. DeSales has gotten at least 7.0 ppg from seven different players this season, and has been paced by 12.5 ppg from senior forward Elijah Eberly

Next Up: at Stevens (Feb. 7), at Lebanon Valley (Feb. 10), vs. Misericordia (Feb. 13), vs. Delaware Valley (Feb. 17)

2. Widener Pride 

Record: 18-3 (8-2 MAC Commonwealth)

Last Three Weeks: vs. Messiah (W, 91-53), vs. Albright (W, 91-67), at York (L, 84-64), at Stevenson (W, 99-66), at Eastern (W, 87-69), vs. Hood (W, 78-62)

Widener’s five-game win streak skidded to a halt when the Pride got blown out at York — a loss which knocked them out of the area’s current top spot. The Pride turned around, though, and took out its anger on Stevenson, dropping nearly 100 and kickstarting a new three-game win streak. Most recently, Widener earned a comfortable win over 16-4 Hood, avenging its only other conference loss. Leading scorer Dominc Dunn (14.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.9 apg) and the Pride will have the chance to avenge their York loss as well before the end of the season, as they look to wrap up a MAC Commonwealth regular season title; Widener is currently tied with Hood atop the league standings. 

Next Up: at Messiah (Feb. 7), vs. Alvernia (Feb. 10), vs. York (Feb. 13), at Albright (Feb. 17)

3. Penn State Harrisburg Lions

Record: 19-3 (9-0 United East)

Last Three Weeks: at St. Mary’s (W, 70-66), vs. Lancaster Bible (W, 80-72), vs. Penn College (W, 83-67), at Penn State Berks (W, 91-66), at Gallaudet (W, 66-49)

It’s simple; Penn State Harrisburg just keeps winning. The Lions have won eight in a row, are undefeated in conference, and have just three losses on the season; two of which came against teams that currently rank inside the nation’s top 10, per d3hoops.com. With just three games left, all against teams the Lions have already beaten, Penn State Harrisburg looks well on its way to an undefeated finish in conference play. A road trip to Lancaster Bible will likely prove the toughest remaining test; the Lions only beat the Chargers by eight when the two played in Harrisburg in mid-January. 

Next Up: vs. Penn State Abington (Feb. 7), vs. St. Mary’s (Feb. 10), at Lancaster Bible (Feb. 13)

4. Franklin and Marshall Diplomats

Record: 17-4 (12-2 Centennial)

Last Three Weeks: at Dickinson (W, 56-42), vs. Haverford (W, 75-46), vs. Gettysburg (W, 81-76), at McDaniel (W, 75-69), at Ursinus (L, 67-65), vs. Muhlenberg (W, 70-49)

Franklin and Marshall is two points away from having an active 10-game win streak, but dropped a heartbreaker at Ursinus to close the month of January. Even so, the Diplomats are still red hot, having won nine of their last 10 and owning a 12-2 conference mark. Sophomore guard Vakaris Grauslys — the Diplomats’ leading scorer with 16.7 ppg — had a three-game stretch in which he averaged 26 points to close out January. Franklin and Marshall currently sits in a three-way tie with Gettysburg and nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins atop the Centennial Conference standings, and has a road date with the Blue Jays upcoming this week; if the Diplomats can earn a win, they may be in line for a regular season conference title, having already swept Gettysburg in two meetings. 

Next Up: at Johns Hopkins (Feb. 6), at Swarthmore (Feb. 10), vs. Dickinson (Feb. 14), vs. Washington College (Feb. 17)


Gettysburg senior Carl Schaller goes up for a shot against Haverford this weekend. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

5. Gettysburg Bullets

Record: 16-5 (12-2 Centennial)

Last Three Weeks: at McDaniel (W, 76-54), vs. Washington College (W, 67-39), at Franklin and Marshall (L, 81-76), vs. Swarthmore (W, 74-67), vs. Johns Hopkins (W, 68-60), at Haverford (W, 70-46)

Gettysburg’s placement directly below Franklin and Marshall on this list is fitting; the Diplomats have been the Bullet’s kryptonite, and account for their only two conference losses this season. On the flip side, Gettysburg owns a win over nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins, which has kept the Bullets’ in the thick of the Centennial Conference race. While the Bullets have been largely paced by three double-digit scorers this season, sophomore forward Aidan Mess (5.3 ppg) had a breakout game against the Blue Jays, scoring a third of Gettysburg’s points with a final line of 22 points, seven boards and four blocks. Gettysburg arguably has the most manageable remaining schedule of the three teams vying for a regular season title; none of its four remaining opponents have a conference record above .500.  

Next Up: at Dickinson (Feb. 6), at Ursinus (Feb. 10), vs. McDaniel (Feb. 14), vs. Muhlenberg (Feb. 17)

6. Bryn Athyn Lions

Record: 17-6 (12-2 United East)

Last Three Weeks: at Notre Dame of Maryland (W, 63-61), at Rosemont (W, 81-66), vs. Valley Forge (W, 81-70), vs. Keystone (L, 82-76), at Saint Elizabeth (W, 82-80)

Bryn Athyn was riding a seven-game win streak before picking up a surprise home loss to Keystone; it’s not the best loss on paper, as the Giants sit at 8-13 on the season, but all eight of Keystone’s win have come in conference play. A two-point win over Saint Elizabeth behind 23 points from junior forward Jalen Parker (13.5 ppg) got Bryn Athyn back on track, and clinched Bryn Athyn at least a share of the United East Conference Skye Division regular season title. Alongside Parker, leading scorer Will Little (16.2 ppg) has also been a key contributor, he pitched in 28 points in a recent win over Rosemont, and followed it up with 20 against Valley Forge. 

Next Up: vs. Wilson (Feb. 7), at Maryland Eastern Shore (Exh., Feb. 10), at Cairn (Feb. 13)

7. Alvernia Wolves

Record: 15-6 (7-3 MAC Commonwealth)

Last Three Weeks: vs. Eastern (L, 100-78), at Stevenson (W, 87-71), at Hood (L, 81-55), at Albright (W, 73-72), vs. Messiah (W, 79-69), vs. York (W, 89-79)

Alvernia’s triple-overtime win over York, behind 29 points from senior guard Nigel Cooke — who is one of three Wolves averaging between 14.0 and 14.5 points — provided a thrilling start to the final month of the regular season, as the Wolves jostle for seeds in the MAC Commonwealth standings. Alvernia, which currently stands in third overall, has taken blowout losses to each of the league’s other top-four teams — Widener (8-2), Hood (8-2) and Eastern (6-4) — and will face all three of them down the stretch, including two on the road, before closing out at second-to-last-place Stevenson.

Next Up: at Eastern (Feb. 7), at Widener (Feb. 10), vs. Hood (Feb. 13), vs. Stevenson (Feb. 17)

8. York Spartans

Record: 13-8 (6-4 MAC Commonwealth)

Last Three Weeks: at Albright (W, 65-53), vs. Hood (W, 69-62), vs. Widener (W, 84-64), vs. Eastern (W, 68-58), at Stevenson (W, 78-65), at Alvernia (L, 89-79)

One of several teams stuck in the thick of an exciting MAC Commonwealth conference race, the Spartans’ impressive January skidded to an abrupt halt with their loss at Alvernia. Prior to the Feb. 3 contest, York had bounced back from a surprise loss to Stevenson by winning six in a row, including home wins over the league’s top two teams, Hood and Widener, both of which were ranked nationally at the time of the respective games. Sophomore guard Jayden Rowe (14.6 ppg), who had 24 points and nine rebounds in the win over Hood, is among the Spartans’ leading scorers, behind top contributor Kai Cipalla, a junior forward who averages 19.5 points and 7.4 boards, and dropped 21 in the win over Widener. York faces a gauntlet to end the year, with road trips to both Widener and Hood in its final two games. 

Next Up: vs. Albright (Feb. 7), vs. Messiah (Feb. 10), at Widener (Feb. 13), at Hood (Feb. 17)

9. Susquehanna RiverHawks

Record: 14-7 (11-3 Landmark)

Last Three Weeks: at Juniata (W, 85-74), at Moravian (W, 71-67), at Catholic (L, 75-67), vs. Elizabethtown (W, 76-66), vs. Goucher (W, 89-65), at Wilkes (L, 92-58)

One of just a handful of schools with teams listed in both of CoBL’s men’s and women’s rankings, Susquehanna has picked up steam down the stretch. While getting blown out by Wilkes (16-5, 9-5) wasn’t preferable, the RiverHawks have still won five of their last seven, and the only other loss in that stretch was at nationally-ranked Catholic. Susquehanna — which has been led by 11.3 ppg from redshirt sophomore guard Cooper Haberern, 11.0 ppg from sophomore forward Brandon Lavitt, and 10.5 ppg from junior guard Marcus Mitchell — will end its season with a trip to Drew (17-4, 10-4), but otherwise closes its season against the league’s bottom-feeders, and has a good chance to look up second place behind Catholic to end the regular season. 

Next Up: at Lycoming (Feb. 7), vs. Scranton (Feb. 10), vs. Juniata (Feb. 14), at Drew (Feb. 17)

10. Eastern Eagles

Record: 14-7 (6-4 MAC Commonwealth)

Last Three Weeks: at Alvernia (W, 100-78), vs. Messiah (W, 75-51), vs. Albright (W, 80-72), at York (L, 68-58), vs. Widener (L, 87-69), vs. Stevenson (W, 84-64)

Eastern is one of four MAC Commonwealth teams to appear in this week’s rankings, and owns a dominant win over area No. 7 Alvernia. Sophomore forward Zubair Lee — who leads the Eagles at 16.7 ppg and 9.9 rpg, just ahead of graduate guard Jaron Fairweather’s 16.2 ppg — dropped 21 of Eastern’s 100 points in that game, to go with 10 rebounds. Eastern’s been tough pinpoint this season, but has one of the more manageable remaining schedules when compared to its conference counterparts; Eastern will host Alvernia and Hood, but won’t see York or Widener again, and its only remaining road games are against Albright and Messiah, which currently combine to 3-17 in conference play. 

Next Up: vs. Alvernia (Feb. 7), vs. Hood (Feb. 10), at Albright (Feb. 13), at Messiah (Feb. 17)


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