Here are two must-watch games in DII men’s basketball this weekend.
Records and statistics are through Feb. 25.
Southwest Baptist (15-5) vs. No. 3 Truman State (17-1) | 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 27
The third-ranked Bulldogs enter as one of the hottest teams in the country. Truman State is on a 12-game winning streak, and will likely clinch the No. 1 seed in next week’s GLVC tournament.
Southwest Baptist is right behind the Bulldogs in the conference standings. But as of Feb. 25, the Bearcats rank fourth in the league’s point rating system. That system will determine the eight teams that make the GLVC tournament, as opposed to winning percentage or conference record.
All five starters for Truman State are averaging double figures in scoring. Forward Cade McKnight leads the way with 17.4 points per game on 52.4 percent shooting. He’s joined by a pair of dangerous 3-point shooters in Elijah Hazekamp (43.9 percent) and Turner Scott (42.9 percent). Both are averaging just over 11 points per game. As a team, the Bulldogs’ field-goal percentage of 49.8 ranks 13th in the nation.
However, opponents are shooting just 40.3 percent against Southwest Baptist. That ranks 15th in DII. The Bearcats also boast two equally talented scorers in Quinn Nelson (15.6 points per game) and Brady Smith (15.1 points per game). Each guard is shooting above 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc.
No. 6 Lubbock Christian (16-1) vs. No. 2 West Texas A&M (12-1) | 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 27
No. 2 West Texas A&M handed No. 6 Lubbock Christian its first loss of the season, 82-78, on Thursday. The Chaparrals, who’ve now lost three straight to their conference rival, will get a shot at revenge on Saturday when they visit the Buffaloes to close the regular season.
In that first meeting, West Texas A&M’s Joel Murray tied a career-high 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting to give the Buffaloes the edge. He also shot 9-for-13 from the free throw line. Lloyd Daniels led the Chaps with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting. This game saw 11 lead changes and was tied on six different occasions.
The rematch should be more of the same between these top-10 teams, and could also serve as a preview for the Lone Star Conference championship game. Lubbock Christian and West Texas A&M will likely be the top two seeds in the conference tournament.
It’s important to note that that league’s seeding is determined by a point rating system, just like the GLVC. As of Feb. 21, the Chaps had a 4.357 rating while the Buffaloes were at 4.200. Given the result of Thursday’s contest, the No. 1 seed may very well come down to Saturday’s game.