CBT's Men's D2 Update - A Team To Watch In Each Region
The 2022-2023 season is almost here, but before the season begins we take a look at one of the best teams from every region going into the season.
Atlantic Region- Indiana (PA)
After their national semifinal run last season the Crimson Hawks will be one of the favorites for the national title this season. They finished 33-3 overall while going 20-2 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play. The program is led by Joe Lombardi, one of the most well-respected coaches in the country. The NABC Atlantic District Coach of the Year is no stranger to the national spotlight and with the loss of Armoni Foster in the NCAA transfer portal, the Crimson Hawks will center the team on D2CCA All-Atlantic Region player & NABC All-District team junior Ethan Porterfield. The Crimson Hawks also bring a young recruiting class for this season.
Central Region- Northwest Missouri State
The three-time defending national champions will make their case to defend their top spot after a historic season. The Bearcats finished last season with a 34-5 record with an 18-4 record on the way to capturing the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association conference championship. The Bearcats lose Trevor Hudgins, who signed an NBA two-way contract with the Houston Rockets, but will bring back four-time All-MIAA defensive team member and second-team all-MIAA Diego Bernard, as well as third-team all-MIAA member Wes Dreamer. NABC National Coach of the Year Ben McCollum reloads with a young core of newcomers. The chemistry of the returning players will help the newcomers grow into a winning program.
East Region- St. Thomas Aquinas
We can’t be surprised if the Spartans make the huge leap this season to be one of the best out of the East region. They finished last season with a 28-5 overall record, winning the East Coast Conference with a 17-1 mark. The Spartans lost to Bentley College in the regional final matchup of the NCAA tournament. The program will have new faces with the loss of ECC Coach of the Year Tobin Anderson, ECC’s first-team all-conference members Osbel Caraballo, Demetre Roberts, and second-team all-conference member Grant Singleton. There is still a lot of excitement around this new team, with new head coach Matt Capel and the Spartans focused behind third-team all-conference player Jamal Barnes after a breakout year.
Midwest Region- Hillsdale
The Chargers’ Elite Eight runs will be among the best moments in program history. They finished last season with a 23-8 overall record and a 15-5 record in Great Midwest Athletic Conference play. They return the backcourt of Cole Nau, Jack Gohlke, and Kyle Goessler as well as GMAC Freshman of the Year Joe Reuter who will be the teams’ focal point for this season after losing All-American Patrick Cartier to the transfer portal. The recruiting class the Chargers bring in for this upcoming season will help with the pieces lost from the previous season.
Southeast Region- Augusta
Coming up a win short of the national title, the Jaguars should be a favorite for a spot back in the title game. Peach Belt Conference co-player of the year Tyshaun Crawford got a taste of what it would be like to play for the whole thing and will be someone we talk about in these next few years. The duo of Crawford and Troy Cracknell, a second-team all-conference selection, will be motivated to lead their team not only to the championship game but also to finish the job when in that moment again. The defending conference champions are one of the best teams bringing back a load of talent that we’ll see this season.
West Region- Chico State
The Wildcats’ magical run came to a close in the Elite Eight, but there is a lot to look forward to going into this season. They finished last season 22-5 overall, 15-3 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The program will have to bounce back from losing conference player of the year, D2 West Region Player of the year, and All-American Malik Duffy, along with first-team all-conference members Isaiah Brooks and Kevin Warren. Despite the losses, the program will have a strong core returning for this season and there will be many who take the big step of being a spotlight player for head coach Greg Clink's team.
South Region- Nova Southeastern
The Sharks’ historic run last season will go down as one of the best seasons in program history after finishing 31-1 overall and 20-0 to win the Sunshine State Conference. The Sharks lost D2 National Player of the Year Sekou Sylla to the transfer portal but returned All-American RJ Sunahara along with a vast majority of the team from last season. The program brings in four new players for the recruiting class, which will help HoopDirt's D2 coach of the year, Jim Crutchfield, lead his team back on top for a deeper push this season.
South Central Region- Black Hills State
The Yellow Jackets’’ remarkable season came to an end last season in the Final Four. From being a game away from the big game, they will be no stranger to making another magical run. The program was led by Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference player of the year, D2 first team all-region, and All-American Joel Scott. Scott would also have the assistance of Sindou Cisse and Adam Moussa, who were All-RMAC second-team picks. RMAC Coach of the year Ryan Thompson will have his main core back along with his new recruiting class.
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