DII Tourney Predictions by conference (I need to really see how many pan out)
CCAA - (6 in) -
2nd best conference in DII this year, and lots of impressive new coaching talent. Out with the old guard. Pretty new on the DII Iba scene, Grand Canyon coach Robert Sponge is quite the gameplanner, constantly shifting lineups, and currently has his squad ranked #1 in the country with 2 early season losses. Cal Poly Pomona is also very new on the scene with coach ssn, with some big wins over Wayne and Augusta St. and a solid defense, and Stanislaus and veteran superstar coach bvb has been winning with a lot of great inside play. Those three teams are legit final 4 contenders. CSU San Bernadino is kind of an unknown - they're 18-2, but their OOC schedule hasn't been super tough. Cal San Diego will be scary next season with all of those great juniors. PIT veterans CSU Los Angeles should be make their first NT appearance in 16 seasons with another newcomer coach.
CVAC -(9 in) -
The #1 conference in DII Iba, once again (though the Heartland and Cal CAA give them a great push) Belmont Abbey and Longwood are leading the conference, and are both nat. title candidates. Belmont has a top-notch, well rounded team without real weaknesses and are national title favorites. Defending National Champion Longwood has possibly the best defense in the country, but a very inconsistent offense. The rest of the conference has kind of beaten the crap out of each other, so it's hard to tell what's what. Erksine, Pfieffer, Limestone, and Queens should all get to at least the 2nd round, if not further. Mt. Olive is a complete wild card, upsetting Longwood, but losing to the likes of Kinnesaw St. Barton is middle of the pack CVAC, which would be tops in most other conferences. Coker will most likely limp their way in as the 8th CVAC squad.
Cen Atlantic (4 in) - Catjuggler has taken over New Jersey tech and kept them a contender, despite a weak recruiting season. They are still tops in the Cen. Atlantic, due to the ridiculous play of Hessler, scoring 30 PPG. Traditional powers continue to reign here, as backcourt-talented Goldey-Beacom and very young U. Of the Sciences are still strong. Felician is looking squarely at the bubble, and I pick them to sneak in aroudn a 15 seed. The rest of the conference is not good.
Central Int. (2 in) - Bowie St isn't dominant like they used to be, but they are still hanging around in the tournament picture, and project to end up being a #8 or #9 seed that absolutely no #1 seed wants to face in the 2nd round. Winston Salem St. could get in, but they will have a very low seed.
East Coast (1 in) - It's Mercy, like usual, and they should be making their 11th NT appearance in a row. The furthest they have gone is the sweet 16. They might be able to make it to round 2 or 3 depending on matchups. If New York Tech gets in, they're probably stealing the spot from Mercy.
GLIAC (2 in) Out of nowhere, Michigan Tech is a very upperclassman laden team with a propensity to penetrate and draw fouls, while playing excellent defense. They could go far and might surprise some people as a #4 or #5 seed. Hillsdale will sneak in, though they're very young, so don't expect a 4th Sweet 16 in a row, despite the good coaching.
GLV - (5 in) - not as much depth as the big three conferences, but they could be the most talented conference in Iba at the top. Wisconsin-Parkside is my favorite to win it all - they have a scary mix of athleticism and defense, and an all Senior starting lineup. Even if they have a bad shooting night, it's impossible to score on them consistently, so they can beat just about anyone. U. of I. is an extremely efficient team, shooting 3's infrequently, but at a 48% clip - they could get into the final four as well. Also, anyone who counts out Bellarmine is an idiot - while their young team is capable of flaming out in their first round, greenhawks might be the best coach in the game, and I would not want to bet against them. Mercyhurst should get in, returning from an elite-8 bid. Kentucky Wesleyan is inexplicably winning games despite mediocre talent and a complete lack of in-game adjustments by the coach - they should sneak in as the 5th team and then get plastered. SIUE could still find their way in as well, but right now they are on the outside looking in.
Great NW (3 in) Seattle, Humboldt, and Chaminade. Seattle is a real Final Four contender. Their combo of athleticism and defense is only rivaled by wisconsin parkside nationally. Humboldt is probably 1 season away from a real shot at the national title. Chaminade rebounds very well - their physical play will help them get in and maybe win a game in the first round.
Gulf South - (3 in) the "Hacker and everyone else" conference is pretty much the same in theory, with Harding returning from their championship game appearance with a very strong team. Their seed might not be that high, but I doubt anyone wants to run into them in the tourney. West Georgia is very interesting......they are undefeated, but their schedule was awful - however, they did squeak out a win vs. Harding in OT, so that definitely counts for something. Watch out for them - nobody really knows how good they are. Ouachita Baptist somehow side-stepped the "6 seniors" rule, and might make their way into the tourney, despite being coached by the robot from Short Circuit.
Heartland (7 in) - no dominant squad here, but W. Alabama, St. Mary's , and Incarnate word are all very legit and will be difficult outs come tourney time. St. Mary's and Incarnate Word have two legendary coaches that can never be counted out to make deep runs. W. Alabama's meteoric rise was no fluke. N. Alabama and Valdosta st should be teams 4 and 5, with Rockhurst and St. Eds getting in with low seeds.
Lone Star (1 in) - Northeastern has a top-notch coach, they can really mix it up inside, like to play ugly, and have a lot of talent. They should not be a high seed, and whatever #3 or #4 seed runs into them in the first round will be very upset about their matchup. The rest of the conference is PIT bait, or worse.
Mid-America (1 in) - this is the year that Pittsburgh St. breaks their one-and-done streak in the national tourney. They have 6 talented seniors that will very possibly get them all the way to the sweet 16.
North American (1 in) Slippery Rock is the team to beat here - another traditional power.
North Central (1 in) Nebraska Omaha will win this conference, mostly because they have 2 really good players in Jones and Ellis, and also because somebody has to. Those two guys might help them sneak into the 2nd round.
N-10 (3 in) cregen's St. Rose team has been "pretty good" for a frustratingly long time - this might be the season that they are finally "very good" - I project Sweet 16 for them. Franklin Pierce makes it in with a seed in the teens, and St. Michaels could squeak in, and should be looking forward to a first-round matchup with Bel Abbey, Parkside, Longwood, or Grand Canyon.
Northern Sun - (2 in) Wayne St. beat Longwood and Harding, the 2 teams in the NT game last season, so that definitely counts for something. They've also lost some head-scratchers, but will be a strong 5 or 6 seed most probably. Somebody should tell Mr. Wiggles to schedule some out of conference opponents with a pulse - despite SW Minnesota St. 's consistently horrifically bad schedule and complete refusal to attempt a 3-pointer, their excellent record will find them a place in the tourney - no idea what to make of that team, as usual.
Peach Belt (4 in) This conference might make some noise in the tourney. First off, count me in the "Who the hell is Pembroke, and how are they undefeated" club. Either way, they've beaten their main in-conference competition despite pretty average talent, so I'll chalk it up to good gameplanning and coaching from Paul Simon, folk singer turned DII basketball coach. Now Augusta St. is VERY talented, and will be a scary tourney matchup, albeit a matchup that a lot of the veteran coaches might take for granted, due to Augusta's 15 year absence from the NT. Super offensively-efficient Lander is a traditional power that could still take charge of the conference. Armstrong Atlantic St. always finds their way to the national tourney, and just about always knocks off a higher-seeded team once they get there.
Penn St. (1 in) E. Stroudsburg is lacking in athleticism and has no marquee wins, but they are definitely the best this poor conference has to offer.
Rocky Mtn. (1 in) - probably the conference with the most beautiful campuses - but they don't do much as far as playing great college basketball./ However, Mesa St. is the real deal, having taken Wisc. Parkside down to the wire, and having beaten Augusta St. They might be counted out, but they are a pretty legit squad.
S. Atlantic (1 in) - most probably Lenoir Rhyme, who I'm expecting to go on a roll and overtake Wingate and their pulse-less style of basketball.
Southern (1 in) - Miles was pretty competitive in a challenging non-conference, which is good because their conference is nothing but a bunch of bums. Their offense is pretty high powered.
Sunshine State (1 in) Eckerd should win, and they've had much better teams than this, so they are most likely one-and-done.
WVIAC - (4 in) Concord is probably the most fun team in DII Iba to watch, as they just try to run you off the court - but their style doesn't always translate to big wins in the NT. (though they got to the sweet 16 last season). Concord and Charleston both have veteran coaches who know how to win big games, though. W. Liberty St. is an enigma wrapped inside of a riddle - they have a poor record in games against top-notch opponents, with only 1 win - but that was against Wisconsin Parkside, one of the top teams in college basketball. They're rich with athletic players but haven't put it together. Fairmont is talented and plays mean defense. All 4 of these teams could make a sweet 16 run, but could all get bounced early as well.
Final 8 - Bel Abbey, Parkside, Longwood, Seattle, St. Mary's (TX), CSU Stanislaus, U of Indy, UNC Pembroke
Final 4 - Bel Abbey, Parkside, Longwood, Seattle,
Final 2 - Bel Abbey, Parkside
Winner - Wisconsin Parkside