The 2023 DII Males’s Elite Eight suggestions off from Evansville, Indiana at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 21, when Black Hills State takes on Minnesota Duluth. For the primary time since 2018, the ultimate eight appears a bit totally different, because the Northwest Missouri Bearcats is not going to be defending their crown.
Heading into the match, I made some predictions primarily based on historical past, and fairly a little bit of historical past at that. That historical past confirmed a number of issues, the principle one being that No. 1 seeds have had a better than 50 % likelihood of creating the DII Males’s Elite Eight for the reason that daybreak of the 64-team bracket. On prime of that, there was by no means lower than three No. 1 seeds within the present DII Males’s Elite Eight format, whereas not many seeds beneath a No. 4 made the journey to Evansville.
Welcome to 2023.
FOLLOW THE DII ELITE EIGHT: Reside updates: 2023 NCAA DII males’s basketball championship
My bracket was blown to bits as a mere No. 1 seed superior to the DII Males’s Elite Eight. That No. 1 seed is Nova Southeastern. Becoming a member of the Sharks are three No. 2s, one No. 3, one No. 4, and two No. 6 seeds. In essence, the 2023 DII males’s basketball championship made no sense.
And we like it.
BRACKET: Observe the interactive bracket
1 factor to know concerning the DII Males’s Elite Eight remaining groups
No. 1 Nova Southeastern. The DII Males’s Elite Eight started seeding the ultimate eight groups in Evansville in 2016. Since that course of began, the Sharks are the primary workforce to earn consecutive No. 1 general seeds. It’s also the second-straight yr the Sharks have entered the DII Males’s Elite Eight undefeated. It is fairly outstanding what coach Jim Crutchfield has accomplished since taking on in 2017-18. The Sharks have reached the DII Males’s Elite Eight in 2019, 2022 and now 2023, had been a No. 2 seed within the South when the 2020 season shut down, and by no means performed the 2021 season. That is fairly the monitor document.
No. 2 West Liberty. The Hilltoppers have the longest successful streak of the seven remaining groups, getting into the DII Males’s Elite Eight winners of 16 in a row. They’re additionally the one different workforce outdoors of the Sharks to common greater than 100 factors per sport this season. Crutchfield was the longtime coach at West Liberty and the best way the bracket is seeded, a showdown for the ages may occur within the finals if nobody can decelerate both of those rocket-fueled offenses. Bryce Butler is considered one of a handful of gamers that might win participant of the yr.
No. 3 Black Hills State. What a street traveled for the Yellow Jackets. After a torrid begin to the season, they stumbled to the end line, dropping 4 of their final seven video games. Nonetheless, they pulled out three-straight upsets excessive three seeds within the South Central area, barely escaping the regional ultimate with a one-point victory over West Texas A&M in a last-shot thriller. None of that issues. Black Hills State is again for the second yr in a row, however this yr aren’t within the place to drag off essentially the most stunning upset of the match (and presumably the DII Males’s Elite period).
No. 4 Cal State San Bernardino. This can be a historic yr for the Coyotes, already setting this system single-season wins and scoring document. Whereas this is not the primary journey for the Coyotes to the DII Males’s Elite Eight, it’s their first in over a decade. By no means has a Coyote ultimate eight workforce made the championship sport, so why not this historic bunch. The Yotes are coming off one of many extra memorable video games within the match, taking down No. 1 Level Loma. With DII famous person Brandon Knapper (considered one of 4 2023 Bevo Francis finalists within the DII Males’s Elite Eight) main the best way, this workforce has the make-up to proceed its historic run.
No. 5 Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters had been a No. 3 seed within the Southeast, however that does not converse to the expertise this workforce has. Lincoln Memorial is considered one of two groups remaining (the opposite being the Sharks) to open the season within the Small Faculty Basketball Corridor of Fame Basic, the official opening to the DII season. Just like the Sharks, the Railsplitters eclipsed the 100-point mark on opening evening, displaying this workforce is usually a bulldozer if not D’d up. Lincoln Memorial isn’t far faraway from its earlier Elite Eight look, when it made it to the semifinals in 2017.
No. 6 Minnesota Duluth. Within the bracket prediction article, I did point out that the Bulldogs had been essentially the most harmful six seed in the whole match. Now that they’re in Evansville, that very nicely should still maintain true. Final yr, the Bulldogs returned to the match for the primary time in practically 20 years and did not need to wait that lengthy once more. Each win since then has been of historic proportions: their first-ever match win was in upset trend towards Central Oklahoma after which they gained their first-ever Central Area title to advance to their first-ever DII Males’s Elite Eight. This workforce is loaded with veteran management, albeit in uncharted territory. Can the Bulldogs proceed to rewrite their historical past books in Evansville?
No. 7 New Haven. The East continues to mystify everybody, with nary a repeat champion in additional than six years. For the Chargers, the tenth time was the appeal, as they’re heading to the DII Males’s Elite Eight for the primary time in program historical past after their first 9 tourney appearances fell brief. The Chargers survived the East Area gamut with the NE10’s greatest scoring protection which was additionally a top-10 mark in all DII males’s basketball, and one of the best remaining scoring protection within the match. Going towards a West Liberty workforce that may drop 100 factors with relative ease, that protection would be the key to scoring an enormous upset.
No. 8 Missouri-St. Louis. UMSL broke a 32-year NCAA match drought in 2020 solely to have the match canceled attributable to COVID. That is the Tritons third-straight yr within the dance and each has gotten progressively higher. Final yr they made it to the Midwest Area championship sport and this yr, they gained it, securing their spot within the quarterfinals for the primary time since 1972. What a rollercoaster season it has been for UMSL. At one level this workforce was 12-0 and within the prime 10 earlier than a midseason velocity bump. The Tritons will look to be the second No. 8 seed in as a few years to advance to the semifinals, however it can as soon as once more have to come back over Nova Southeastern.