With a 14-0 record and the No. 3 rank in all of Division II basketball, how could this season get any better for the Minnesota State men’s basketball team?
Try the No. 1 team in DII, Nova Southeastern, losing their first game of the year.
The Sharks suffered their first loss of the year at the hands of in-state rival Florida Southern College. The Mocs defeated the Sharks 93-82 Wednesday, and in the most recent edition of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Poll, the Mavs leapfrogged the Sharks on their way to their first No. 2 ranking in almost 20 years.
The new top three has fellow NSIC team MSU-Moorhead as the No. 1 team in the country followed by Minnesota State and Nova Southern. The last, and only other time the Mavs were ranked No. 2 in the NABC poll was December 2004.
Nevertheless, rankings only mean so much if the team plays up to their mark. This weekend, the Mavs will have a chance to prove they are worthy of the honor with two road games. Bemidji State will be the first opponent Friday night, and Minnesota-Crookston will welcome the Mavs to Lysaker Gymnasium Saturday.
Bemidji State currently has a 9-5 record, which is good enough for sixth place in the NSIC. They are coming off of a weekend in which they lost by double digits to Southwest Minnesota State and came away with a nail biting, one-point win over Sioux Falls to pick up their first win of the new year.
The Mavs have not yet played the Beavers this year, but in their last meeting from a year ago, the Beavers edged out a three-point victory, 79-76. The Mavericks own the all-time series record 74-38.
As for the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles, the Mavs have undoubtedly owned them in the past. This weekend will be the 28th all-time meeting between the two teams, and the Mavs hold a 26-1 record over the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles will enter this weekend with a 4-10 record, which slots them as the worst team, record-wise, in the NSIC. A 16-0 record is a real possibility if the Mavericks take care of business like they are projected to this weekend.
Nothing will be guaranteed, except Friday’s game beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the BSU Gymnasium and Saturday’s game tipping off at 3:30 p.m. in Crookston.
Header Photo: This is the second time in program history that the Mavericks have been ranked #2 in the NABC Poll with the first time coming back on Dec. 21, 2004. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)
Write to Hayden Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org