Midwestern State (7-2) vs. No. 15 Dallas Baptist (7-1) | 6 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 22
If you like 3-point shooting, then you’re in luck. Both Midwestern State and DBU rank in the top 10 when it comes to 3-point field-goal attempts per game. The Mustangs are second with 12.8, while the Patriots are eighth with an even 12.0. DBU has the edge in 3-point percentage, shooting at a 39.8 percent clip compared to Midwestern State’s 37.7.
Fresh off his appearance on this week’s all-stats team, Chandler Jacobs is shooting 52.1 percent from beyond the arc. That’s not a typo. He’s 25-for-38 from 3-point range this year. The senior averages 23.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 63.3 percent overall. And did I mention that Jacobs is going for his sixth-consecutive game with 20 points or more?
Not to be outdone, there are three Mustangs shooting 40 percent or better on 3-pointers (minimum 20 attempts): Luke Hamilton at 46.3, Pierre Sanders at 42.9 and Terrell Wilson at 42.2. Midwestern State will need all three in order to keep up with a DBU team that scores 90.4 points per game.
No. 18 Hillsdale (8-1) vs. Kentucky Wesleyan (5-3) | 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 23
This will be the second meeting of the season for these two teams. Hillsdale won the first 72-58 back on Dec. 19, 2020, behind Patrick Cartier’s game-high 23 points on 11-of-12 shooting. The Chargers outscored Kentucky Wesleyan 43-27 in the second half.
The Panthers are 4-1 since that loss, and average 86.0 points per game over their last three outings (all wins). They’re led by a three-guard lineup consisting of Tre Cobbs (17.4 points per game), Zach Hopewell (13.0) and Jamil Wilson (10.4). Western Kentucky also has the tenth-best scoring defense in DII, allowing just 61.1 points per game.
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That unit will be put to the test against a Chargers team that’s riding a five-game winning streak. Look for Hillsdale to feed Cartier once again. The sophomore is shooting 58.1 percent from the floor this season. He’s patient with his shot selection for a player in his second year. Cartier is making 6.8 of his 11.7 field-goal attempts per game.
Georgia Southwestern (6-1) vs. Flagler (6-2) | 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 23
Only two teams rank in the top 10 for both steals and blocks per game. Georgia Southwestern is one of them (the other is Lees-McRae). The Hurricanes average 9.9 steals (eighth-most in DII) and 4.4 blocks (ninth-most) per contest. It’s one thing to stay in front of your man as a defender, it’s another to play with active hands and force turnovers.
The ability to turn to defense into offense will be crucial for Georgia Southwestern, as the Saints feature one of the premier scorers in DII. Jaizec Lottie’s scoring average of 25.0 points per game is the fourth-highest in the country. He’s shooting 49.3 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.
There should be plenty of intrigue around how the Hurricanes will guard Lottie. Do you have Devon Higgs, who is averaging 2.6 steals per game, shadowing his every move? Or what about sending a double team if he’s posting up? Regardless of the strategy, it’ll be a treat to watch Lottie go toe-to-toe against a stingy defense.