Tyheim Monroe (above) and Cabrini made a strong move in the last three weeks of the season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The 2017-18 Division III regular season is over. But the stories are far from finished.
Playoff action starts this week in all 43 D-III conferences around the country, including the half-dozen or so with teams in the CoBL coverage region. Every single team in our top 10 (and most of the Others to Watch) will be playing postseason games in the next five days, and several will surely be advancing into the NCAA Tournament.
Here's a look at our final Top 10 of the 2017-18 season. Our season awards will be out following the conclusion of the postseason.
Others to Watch: Arcadia (13-12, 8-8 MAC Commonwealth), Dickinson (15-10, 11-7 Centennial), Eastern (15-10, 10-4 MAC Freedom), Immaculata (13-12, 9-9 CSAC), Lebanon Valley (16-9, 10-6 MAC Commonwealth), Messiah (14-11, 8-8 MAC Commonwealth), Moravian (18-7, 10-4 Landmark), Muhlenberg (11-14, 9-9 Centennial), PSU-Abington (10-13, 8-8 NEAC), Rosemont (16-9, 11-7 CSAC), Ursinus (16-9, 12-6 Centennial), Widener (15-10, 8-8 MAC Commonwealth)
10. Neumann Knights (Last Week: 6)
Record: 18-7 (13-5 CSAC)
Last Three Weeks: @ Marywood (W, 84-64), @ Hunter (L, 80-77), @ Rosemont (W, 98-77), @ Centenary (L, 64-53), vs. Gwynedd Mercy (L, 81-79), @ Cairn (W, 102-74)
Star Watch: Tyaire Hudson (Sr./G)
Update: After a terrific start to the season, the Knights stumbled a little bit down the stretch, losing three of their last five games to finish the regular season in third place in the CSAC. The loss to Centenary (7-18, 4-14 CSAC) on Feb. 10 was particularly head scratching. Neumann opens the PSAC playoffs with a game against Keystone College in the opening round. The Knights dropped the first meeting on Dec. 2 by 11 points, but they won the rematch 93-87 on Jan. 27. Hudson, who leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game, has been steady on the offensive end all season long for Neumann. He has failed to reach double digits in scoring just twice. Sophomore guard Raquan Brown-Johnson (14 ppg), freshman forward Aaron Johnson-Chavis (14.7 ppg) and senior guard Billy Cassidy (12.8 ppg) are all averaging double figures for Neumann. Junior forward Gemil Holbrook (14.6 ppg) is also averaging double figures in nine games, but he hasn’t played since Jan. 24.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Keystone (CSAC Quarterfinals, Feb. 19, 8 PM)
9. Moravian Greyhounds (OTW)
Record: (18-7, 10-4 Landmark)
Last Three Weeks: @ Scranton (W, 89-64), vs. Elizabethtown (W, 99-81), vs. Goucher (96-55), vs. Juniata (W, 96-84), vs. Drew (W, 93-81), @ Catholic U (L, 90-88)
Star Watch: C.J. Barnes (So./G)
Update: Moravian was on a seven-game win streak before losing to Catholic University on a 3-point shot with two seconds left in their final regular season contest. A win would have clinched first place in the Landmark outright for the Greyhounds. Instead, they finished the regular season tied with Juniata in the conference standings. Moravian will match up with Drew in the the Landmark Semifinals on Wednesday. The two teams split their two regular season meetings. Drew took the first matchup 87-80 on Jan. 10, but Moravian took the second contest last Wednesday, 93-81. Junior guard Jimmy Murray (17.5 ppg) and junior forward Oneil Holder (17.2 ppg) are two of the top eight scorers in the Landmark. Barnes, who is the team’s third lead scoring at 10.4 points per game had a strong finish to the season. Coming off the bench, he posted games of 23, 16 and 15 points in the last three games.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Drew (Landmark Semifinals, Feb. 21, 7 PM)
8. DeSales Bulldogs (7)
Record: (19-6, 11-3 MAC Freedom)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Manhattanville (W, 64-56), @ FDU-Florham (W, 82-80), vs. Wilkes (L, 72-67), vs. King’s (W, 96-68), @ Misericordia (L, 59-58), @ Delaware Valley (W, 69-67)
Star Watch: Kweku Dawson-Amoah (So./F)
Update: DeSales won seven of its last nine games to end the regular season, but lost two of their last four. It could have very easily been three of four if not for senior forward Connor Jones’ 3-point shot with 18 seconds left in the regular season finale against Delaware Valley. The Bulldogs finished tied for second in the MAC Freedom standings with Eastern and Misericordia. As the No. 3 seed, DeSales will play No. 2 seed Eastern in the Mac Freedom Semifinals on Wednesday. After an 11-point loss on Jan. 3, the final meeting was a good one with DeSales coming out on top 71-70 on another Jones game winner. DeSales has a very balanced attack that features four players in double figures. The Bulldogs play a lot of guys with no players averaging more than 29 minutes per game and 11 seeing at least nine minutes of action per game. Dawson-Amoah is the team’s unquestioned most valuable player though. He leads the team in both scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rpg).
Next Two Weeks: @ Eastern (MAC Freedom Semifinals, Feb. 21, 7 PM)
7. Lancaster Bible (10)
Record: 20-5 (15-1 NEAC)
Last Three Weeks: @ PSU-Berks (W, 102-87), @ Cazenovia (W, 74-65), @ Wells (W, 91-80), vs. St. Elizabeth (W, 93-76), @ PSU-Abington (L, 84-76), vs. Bryn Athyn (W, 98-57)
Star Watch: Quentin Davis (Jr./F)
Update: The Chargers didn’t suffer their first conference loss until an 84-76 defeat at the hands of Penn State-Abington last Wednesday. They recovered with a blowout win against Bryn Athyn on Saturday. Less than a week removed from the loss, Lancaster Bible will face Penn State-Abington in the NEAC Quarterfinals on Tuesday. They picked up a 93-79 win against PSU-Abington on Jan. 27. Senior guard Herbie Brown leads the team at 16.6 points per game, while shooting 51 percent from the floor. Junior forward Christo Majok does a little bit of everything for Lancaster Bible, averaging 12.1 points per game and leading the team with 3.5 assists and 9.3 rebounds per contest. Davis started six of seven games to close out the season. He’s averaging 11.3 ppg and 6.2 rpg, while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Penn State-Abington (NEAC Quarterfinals, Feb. 20, 6 PM)
6. York Spartans (3)
Record: 21-4 (14-4 CAC)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Wesley (W, 76-64), vs. Southern Virginia (W, 93-78), @ PSU-Harrisburg (W, 75-64), vs. Salisbury (L, 83-75), vs. St.Mary’s (Md.). (W, 81-78), @ Christopher Newport (L, 81-71)
Star Watch: Dalton Myers (Sr./F)
Update: The Spartans got off to a 16-1 start, which included a school record 14-game win streak, but went just 5-4 in their final nine games of the regular season. Coach Matt Hunter has stayed consistent through the season though. The Spartans have had the same starting five for 24 of the team’s 25 games. Martin (18 ppg/ 4.8 rpg) is part of a talented senior trio that also includes forward Blayde Reich (17 ppg/ 7.7 rpg) and guard Matt Scamuffo (11.8 ppg). Sophomore guard Jared Wagner (11 ppg/ 4.3 apg) and junior guard Jason Bady (10.1 ppg/ 3.0 apg) are the other two starters. The loss to Christopher Newport in the season finale dropped York to the No. 2 seed in the Capital Athletic Conference standings. The Spartans will play either Salisbury or Wesley in the CAC Semifinals. They split the two meetings with Salisbury and swept the matchups with Wesley in the regular season
Next Two Weeks: vs. TBD (CAC Semifinals, Feb. 22, 7 PM)
5. Albright Lions (8)
Record: 19-5 (12-4 MAC Commonwealth)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Hood (W, 101-79), @ Lebanon Valley (W, 86-76), vs. Alvernia (W, 94-71), @ Messiah (W, 85-73), vs. Lycoming (W, 87-80 OT)
Star Watch: DeJuan Smith (Sr./SG)
Update: Look out for Albright, which closed the season on a six-game win streak to win the MAC Commonwealth by a full two games over Lebanon Valley and Lycoming, which had been as high as in the top 10 in the country before losing five of its final six games of the regular season; Albright trailed by as many as 23 in the first half against Lycoming before the comeback win at home to clinch the crown. Smith (17.3 ppg/7.9 rpg) was the catalyst, but Brandon Lindsay (14.8 ppg/3.0 rpg) and Fred Rowles (14.3 ppg/7.5 rpg) are major pieces in this puzzle as well. Albright now waits on the winner of a Monday night playoff game between No. 4 Messiah and No. 5 Arcadia to start preparations for Wednesday night semifinals.
Next Two Weeks: vs. TBD (MAC Commonwealth Semifinals, Feb. 21, TBD)
4. Gwynedd Mercy Griffins (2)
Record: 20-5 (15-3 CSAC)
Last Three Weeks: @ Cabrini (L, 92-88), @ Lehman (L, 85-68), vs. Clarks Summit (W, 89-69), vs. Marywood (L, 65-57), vs. Keystone (W, 88-67), @ Neumann (W, 81-79), vs. Centenary (W, 72-58)
Star Watch: Will Davis (Sr./C)
Update: Three losses in a four-game stretch certainly knocked the Griffins for a loop, considering they’d won seven in a row prior, but they righted the ship with three consecutive wins -- including a nifty road match at Neumann -- to get some confidence back going into the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the CSAC. Assuming Neumann knocks off Keystone in the first round, Gwynedd gets the Knights; otherwise, they’ll get the winner of the Rosemont/Marywood matchup. Davis, a Philly native, continued his breakout senior season with double-digit scoring in all but three games as he averaged a team-high 19.2 ppg and 7.3 rpg, hitting over 59 percent of his shots. Fellow senior Rip Engel (13.4 ppg/5.2 apg) is also nearing the end of his college career, but there’s talent throughout the roster, like sophomore Rich Dunham (12.4 ppg/5.1 rpg) and junior Courtney Cubbage (13.3 ppg/6.4 rpg).
Next Two Weeks: vs. TBD (CSAC Semifinals, Feb. 21, 8 PM)
3. Franklin & Marshall Diplomats (4)
Record: 20-5 (14-4 Centennial)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Ursinus (W, 80-77), vs. Muhlenberg (W, 77-70), @ Johns Hopkins (L, 89-86 2OT), vs. Washington (W, 65-59), vs. Dickinson (W, 64-57), @ Swarthmore (L, 58-56)
Star Watch: Brandon Federici (Sr./G)
Update: F&M had a chance to capture the Centennial title but fell short by two points at Swat on Saturday, its second loss in four games to close out the season; the Diplomats haven’t had a win streak longer than five since opening the year with eight straight. In that season-ending loss, Federici achieved the lastest in a season of milestones, becoming the first men’s basketball player in the Centennial’s history to go for 2,000 points; he already was its leading men’s scorer all-time. He’s concluding a stellar career by averaging 19.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 1.8 apg, but he’s not ready to be done yet, despite a tough challenge against a Hopkins squad that’s riding an 11-game win streak into the postseason. Senior guard Matthew Tate (13.9 ppg/4.0 apg) and junior wing J.C. McGrath (13.0 ppg/7.0 rpg) join him in double figures.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Johns Hopkins (Centennial Semifinal @ Swarthmore, Feb. 23, 6 PM)
2. Swarthmore Garnet (1)
Record: 21-4 (15-3 Centennial)
Last Three Weeks: @ Muhlenberg (L, 91-88 OT), vs. McDaniel (W, 60-54), @ Ursinus (W, 84-62), @ Johns Hopkins (L, 93-91 2OT), vs. Haverford (W, 81-69), vs. Franklin & Marshall (W, 58-56)
Star Watch: Zack Yonda (Sr./G)
Update: Coming off the best season in Swarthmore history, Landry Kosmalski’s squad certainly proved its here to stay at the top of the Centennial standings, finishing with a share of the league title and earning the right to host the league’s semifinals and championship for the second straight year. Yonda (14.2 ppg), Cam Wiley 915.3 ppg) and Zac O’Dell (10.4 ppg) lead a rotation that gets good production from its top eight, all of whom play at least 19 mpg. Swarthmore’s hardly playing bad ball as the season ends, winning eight of its final 10 regular-season games -- and the two losses both came only after extra time was needed; that was still enough to knock the Garnet off the top spot, though. Despite finishing with the exact same overall and league record as Johns Hopkins, a tiebreaker gave Swarthmore the No. 1 overall seed, which means it has to wait on a game between No. 4 Ursinus and No. 5 Dickinson this Tuesday to find out its semifinal opponent.
Next Two Weeks: vs. TBD (Centennial Semifinals, Feb. 23, TBD)
1. Cabrini Cavaliers (5)
Record: 22-3 (16-2 CSAC)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Gwynedd Mercy (W, 92-88), vs. Staten Island (W, 76-74), @ Keystone (W, 92-72), vs. Rosemont (W, 88-83), @ Immaculata (W, 87-75), vs. Clarks Summit (W, 97-70)
Star Watch: Tyheim Monroe (Sr./F)
Update: The Cavaliers closed strong, winning their final eight games -- and 17 of 18 overall -- to finish the regular season atop the CSAC standings, no easy feat with the likes of Neumann and Gwynedd-Mercy in the running. They’ll find out their semifinal opponent Monday night, most likely the winner of No. 4 seed Rosemont hosts No. 5 Marywood unless No. 3 Neumann loses to No. 6 Keystone in the first round of the playoffs. There’s no doubt Cabrini is hoping for an upset in the Rosemont game; the Cavs have beaten Marywood by 27 points (at home) and 11 points (on the road), while taking down Rosemont by 11 on the road and by just five at home on Feb. 10. Monroe, who’s going to pull in quite a few postseason honors, finished the regular season averaging 21.8 ppg and 15.5 rpg, one of five Cabrini regulars in double figures: Keith Blassingale (17.5 ppg), Anthony Wright-Downing (13.6 ppg), Deryl Bagwell (11.0 ppg), D.J. Smith (10.0 ppg).
Next Two Weeks: vs. TBD (CSAC Semifinals, Feb. 21, TBD)