Eight teams walked into the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD on Tuesday. Four remain in the hunt for the 2018 DII Men’s Basketball Championship.
All four of the top seeds advanced.
Game 1 saw the No. 6 scoring offense in DII basketball square up against the No. 4 scoring defense in the division. Le Moyne was stingy in the first half, keeping most of West Texas A&M’s high-octane offense under control. A career-game from Ryan Quaid (25 points, 10 rebounds) was more than Le Moyne could handle. The Buffs found that offensive firepower in the second half and pulled away victorious 87-73.
No. 1 Ferris State had all they could handle from No. 8 Barry in Game 2. Ferris State jumped out to double-digit leads in both the first and second half, but Barry simply would not go away. The Bucs scraped away, getting defensive stops and winning the free throw battle, but Ferris State proved to be too much. The Bulldogs moved on in a thrilling 87-84 win.
FOUR TEAMS REMAIN!
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) March 21, 2018
Game 3 was a shootout, with No. 2 Queens (NC) needing every last one of its 100 points to win. California Baptist hung around all game, but the Royals’ Todd Withers put in arguably the best performance of the day. Queens’ big man went for a game-high 26 with seven rebounds, five assists, and four 3s. Queens moved on, 100-94.
The final game was a “home game.” Northern State, who traveled just 204.3 miles from Aberdeen, SD to Sioux Falls, packed the Pentagon. In the loudest game of the day, Northern State was able to down East Stroudsburg 79-71. The Warriors’ press flummoxed Northern State in the first half, keeping it a six-point game, but Northern State cleaned up its game in the second half and ran away with it. Despite an impressive 28-point output from ESU’s Steve Harris, Ian Smith (21 points, five assists) and the Wolves were able to hold the No. 4-ranked offense in DII to 71 points.
Elite Eight final scores:
The semifinals are set. West Texas A&M and Ferris State kick things off at 7 p.m. ET in a matchup featuring two schools making their semifinals debut. Queens and Northern State will follow in the nightcap.
We will be back Thursday with live updates, scores, and analysis from the first tip to the final buzzer. Until then, scroll down for all of the highlights from the DII Men’s Elite Eight.
Brace yourself. The stage is set for the grand finale of the 2018 DII men’s basketball season.
None of last year’s Elite Eight teams return, which means there will be a new champion in 2018. In fact, not a single team in the 2018 Men’s Elite Eight has ever won a championship, so history will be made. How’s that for intrigue?
1) Ferris State is having a year of historic proportions. The Bulldogs hosted their first-ever Midwest Regional and took full advantage of it. Their 80-65 win over Findlay in the regional championship gets the Bulldogs back to their first Elite Eight since 1988. Ferris State, winners of 23 in a row, is not flashy but grind out wins. Zach Hankins is one of the premier big men in DII, averaging 15 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game.
2) Queens (NC) went 31-3 this season. All three of those losses came to No. 1 Lincoln Memorial, including a 77-75 heartbreaker in the South Atlantic Conference championship. The Royals got their revenge when it mattered most, handing the No. 1 Railsplitters their second loss of the season in dominant fashion 69-57. This team is deep, with four starters that can drop double-digit points at will.
3) Talk about home court advantage. Though it is still a three-hour trek, Northern State brings its record-setting home crowd from Aberdeen, S.D. to Sioux Falls as the No. 3 seed. Wachs Arena has led both DII men’s and women’s basketball in attendance for nine years running, so you can be sure the Wolves faithful will pack out Sanford Pentagon as they look for a program-record 35th win.
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4) Meet David Chavlovich. West Texas A&M’s senior guard has scored 2,443 career points, the most in Lone Star Conference history and in the top 30 in DII history. He dropped 28 points in the in the South Central regional championship, getting the Buffs to their first Elite Eight in 20 years.
5) There are some nice NCAA coaching bloodlines in Syracuse, N.Y. Head coach Patrick Beilein, son of Michigan’s John Beilein, has the Le Moyne Dolphins in their first Elite Eight in program history. With Michigan getting ready as a three-seed for March Madness, there could be some friendly competition at the Beilein dinner table as to who can go further this postseason.
6) Also making its first Elite Eight appearance is East Stroudsburg. The Warriors have won 13 in a row and have racked up 27 total wins, the second most in program history. Keep an eye on Steve Harris. The senior forward leads the team in points (481), rebounds (237), and blocks (33).
7) It is quite the swan song for California Baptist. As the Lancers prepare for a jump to Division I, they met in a historic West Region championship. California Baptist upset No. 1-seeded Western Oregon in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. The victory was the Lancers’ first West Region championship, and they are now heading to the Elite Eight for the first time. Kalidou Diouf has been a beast this season, averaging 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
8) Barry had an up-and-down season but turned it on when it mattered most. The Buccaneers got hot in regionals, taking down the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds en route to their second South Regional championship in the past three years. Elvar Fridriksson leads one of the more unique rosters in DII basketball, featuring eight different nationalities. Fridriksson talked to NCAA.com earlier in the season about how the cultural gumbo that is Barry basketball meshes and works.