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CoBL-area D-III Power Rankings: Feb. 28, 2024 (MBB)

02/28/2024, 2:00pm EST
By Jeff Griffith

By Jeff Griffith (@hooplove215)

The Division III men's basketball season is nearing its conclusion with conferences crowning their tournament champions this past weekend and the NCAA Tournament getting underway Friday.

Here’s the latest and final update of our Division III men’s power rankings: 

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


1. DeSales Bulldogs

Record: 24-3 (14-0 MAC Freedom)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in Final vs. Stevens, 54-53

Despite just three losses on the 2023-24 season — including one in conference tournament play to Stevens, whom the Bulldogs swept during the regular season — DeSales will go on the road to open NCAA Tournament play. The Bulldogs’ undefeated conference streak was thwarted in heartbreaking fashion, but aside from their one-point loss to Stevens, they haven’t lost a game since November, and intend to keep that streak going into March. Senior forward Elijah Eberly closed the regular season with a team-high 12.1 ppg, while junior forward Caleb Gibbs added 11.0 ppg to go with a team-high 9.0 rpg. 

NCAA Tournament: vs. Williams (Mar. 1, 3:30 p.m., Oswego, N.Y.)

2. Widener Pride

Record: 23-4 (12-2 MAC Commonwealth)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in Final vs. Eastern, 98-69

Widener came up surprisingly short in the MAC Commonwealth conference tournament, reaching the final but getting dismantled by an upstart Eastern side. The Pride still put together an impressive enough body of work on the 2023-24 season to host first-weekend NCAA Tournament games in Chester, and will look to punctuate a historic season with a postseason run. Graduate forward Dominic Dunn will play a key factor, as the experienced leader averages team-highs in scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg). 

NCAA Tournament First Round: vs. Roger Williams (Mar. 1, 7:40 p.m., Chester, Pa.)

Donyae Baylor-Carroll, PSU-Harrisburg (Photo: PSU-Harrisburg Athletics)

3. Penn State Harrisburg Lions

Record: 24-4 (11-1 United East)

Conference Tournament Finish: Won Championship vs. Saint Elizabeth, 84-61

In conference tournament play, the Lions did what they spent the entire regular season doing and rolled through their United East opponents, winning their three postseason games by an average of 20 points. They’ve lost just one game since the start of January, and two of their four losses have come against teams ranked in’s national top five. Penn State Harrisburg, which was led by 18.7 ppg from senior guard Donyae Baylor-Carroll, will open NCAA Tournament play against a 19-6 Hood team that earned an at-large bid. 

NCAA Tournament First Round: vs. Hood (Mar. 1, 5:30 p.m., Greensboro, N.C.)

4. Swarthmore Garnet

Record: (20-8, 14-4 Centennial)

Conference Tournament Finish: Won Championship vs. Johns Hopkins, 67-62

Undeniably the best program in the area over the last several seasons prior to the current one, Swarthmore’s 2023-24 experienced a major road bump when the Garnet lost six out of seven in January. Swarthmore rallied, though, and has lost just once in its last 13 contests, including a string of three wins to take home the Centennial Conference title, bringing down nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins along the way behind 20 points from leading scorer and senior guard Vinny DeAngelo (17.4 ppg).

NCAA Tournament First Round: vs. Virginia Wesleyan (Mar. 1, 4 p.m., Hartford, Conn.)

Zubair Lee, Eastern (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

5. Eastern Eagles

Record: 20-7 (10-4 MAC Commonwealth)

Conference Tournament Finish: Won Championship vs. Widener, 98-69

Eastern is undoubtedly the area’s most unexpected NCAA Tournament team; the Eagles sat at 13-7 and 5-4 in conference at the end of January, but now ride a seven-game win streak into March as MAC Commonwealth champions. En route to their conference title, the Eagles toppled a pair of NCAA Tournament at-large teams by 14 points and 29 points respectively, and got 25 points and 12 boards from sophomore forward Zubair Lee — who leads Eastern on the year with 17.0 ppg and 9.9 rpg. 

NCAA Tournament First Round: vs. The College of New Jersey (Mar. 1, 3:45 p.m., Keene, N.H.)

6. Franklin & Marshall Diplomats

Record: 20-7 (14-4 Centennial)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in Semifinal at Johns Hopkins, 76-55

After one of the program’s best seasons in recent memory, the Diplomats came up just short of an NCAA Tournament bid, falling at Johns Hopkins in conference tournament play and missing out on an at-large spot despite a 20-win campaign. Even so, Franklin & Marshall nearly doubled its overall win total from a year ago — and did double its conference win total — behind a stellar year from sophomore guard Vakaris Grauslys, who led the way with 15.6 ppg on .422/.398/.807 splits.

7. Arcadia Knights

Record: 17-9 (10-4 MAC Freedom)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in First Round at Stevens, 73-70

Arcadia fought valiantly in its MAC Freedom tournament appearance, but couldn’t replicate its magical run of 2022-23 and fell short in the first round against eventual champion Stevens despite 25 points from graduate guard Justin Money. The Knights certainly made a push down the stretch, though, winning their last five regular season games, with graduate forward and walking double-double Jalen Watkins leading the way with 16.5 ppg and 11.6 rpg on the season. 

Brandon Lavitt, Susquehanna (Photo: Susquehanna Athletics)

8. Susquehanna RiverHawks

Record: 17-11 (12-6 Landmark)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in Final at Catholic, 87-65

After dropping four of its last five regular season games, Susquehanna made an admirable run to the Landmark championship game before losing to nationally-ranked Catholic. Sophomore forward Brandon Lavitt led the way with 19 points and hit the game-winner in the RiverHawks nail-biting semifinal win over second-seeded Drew. Lavitt served as Susquehanna’s leading rebounder with an average of 6.9 boards, and was second in scoring with 11.0 ppg behind junior guard Marcus Mitchell’s 11.2 ppg. 

9. Gwynedd Mercy Griffins

Record: 17-10 (9-3 Atlantic East)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in Final at Marymount, 83-72

The Griffins’ only appearance on this list came at the right time. Having won seven of its last eight regular season games, Gwynedd Mercy ended the season as one of the area’s hottest teams, and reached the Atlantic East title game before falling to top-seeded Marymount. Gwynedd Mercy’s top scorers, senior guard Aziz Parker (14.4 ppg) and senior guard JoHaan Vinson (13.7 ppg), each had career days in conference tournament play; Parker dropped 30 in the Griffins’ championship game loss, while Vinson’s 21 powered Gwynedd Mercy past Marywood in the semifinals.

10. Bryn Athyn Lions

Record: 17-9 (12-4 United East)

Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in Semifinal vs. Saint Elizabeth, 69-66

Bryn Athyn’s season skidded down the stretch, but the Lions’ 17-9 mark, which was the most wins  in program history, was enough to hang on to the 10th spot on our list. The Lions lost three of their last four in regular season play, with all three losses coming by 10 points or fewer. Conference tournament play was no less of a close call; Bryn Athyn lost by three in its semifinal game, despite 15 points from leading scorer and sophomore guard Will Little (16.5 ppg). Despite a challenging end to the season, Bryn Athyn noticeably improved its win total from last year’s 11-14 mark, and nearly doubled its number of 2022-23 conference wins, five. 

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