Sorry for the delay in this week’s power rankings, but I hope you find it was worth the wait. The way Oakland had been playing, we wanted to see if there might be something fun in store on Monday night. Fortunately, Trey Townsend and friends made that look like a good decision and comfortably earned the top spot with a win over Xavier.
Beyond Oakland, there was quite a bit of shuffling among teams that had relatively similar results against both power conference foes and non-Division I opponents. Here’s a look at how things shook out:
|Purdue Fort Wayne
Oakland had the top spot in the Power Rankings prior to Monday’s 78-76 victory over Xavier after securing a pair of nice wins in the Cayman Islands Classic that validated the team’s three “good losses”. Last Monday, the Golden Grizzlies took on Loyola Marymount and won 74-69 while holding the lead for the final 23 minutes of action. To make the team’s case for the top spot even stronger, OU’s opening night opponent of the year Ohio State easily defeated 17th ranked Alabama this week. While it’s only even appearing in this week’s rankings on a technicality, Trey Townsend was an absolute machine against Xavier and should be positioned well for Horizon League Player of the Week. Townsend scored 28 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and delivered 7 assists in the win.
Purdue Fort Wayne didn’t drop because of its 76-60 loss to San Francisco, but rather because another team was finally able to put some nice results into the win column. Losing to the 2022 NCAA Tournament At-Large pick didn’t hurt the Mastodons, and Saturday’s 95-64 win over Wittenberg didn’t do anything to help them when it comes to the Power Rankings. Anthony Roberts led the way for PFW against Division I competition, posting 16 points and 7 rebounds against San Francisco.
Wright State‘s climb up the rankings continues, and like Oakland a part of it is due to more information from previous results. The Raiders had a respectable 2-1 week. WSU opened up the week by avoiding joining Youngstown State as a projected top-end Horizon League school with a loss to Louisiana, beating the Ragin’ Cajuns 91-85 in its opening game of the Gulf Coast Showcase. The Raiders looked like they might get a second Division I win of the year on Tuesday against defending Coastal Athletic Association champion Hofstra, but couldn’t keep pace for the final minute and a half of the 85-76 loss. Finally, WSU put up an impressive 74-49 beatdown of Illinois State. Brandon Noel averaged an efficient 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Raiders for the week.
Cleveland State rattled off a pair of victories to remain near the top of the Power Rankings, squeaking past East Tennessee State 72-70 before easily handling Alabama A&M 86-59. While the ETSU is closer than you’d like to see from a projected contender against a team that just fired its coach, a win is a win and the Vikings won’t be punished in the rankings. Tristan Enaruna’s streak of consistently good-to-great play continued as he averaged 20.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on his way to the league’s official Player of the Week honor.
Northern Kentucky posted a 2-0 week, which was good enough for the Norse to take the fifth spot in this installment of the Power Rankings. NKU comfortably beat 2023 NCAA Tournament participant Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 88-73 on Wednesday before taking down Long Island 72-64 in a less comfortable contest on Friday. Sam Vinson seems like he might be having an offensive breakout year, and he averaged 18.0 points per game for the week.
Youngstown State lost its only contest of the week 77-69 to Dayton on Friday, but a competitive game against a perennial Atlantic 10 contender clearly doesn’t hurt YSU in the Power Rankings. The Penguins adding a promising performance while some others around them falter is more than enough to justify a move up the rankings. Brandon Rush had 18 points and 6 rebounds for Youngstown in the loss.
Robert Morris secured its first Division I win of the year with a 97-86 win over 2023 Cinderella Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday. Unfortunately, it came two days after what looks like the team’s worst loss so far when Jacksonville beat the Colonials 74-65. With how up-and-down most of the mid-tier teams in these rankings have looked, RMU are probably closer to fifth than to the bottom of the league, but there could be a lot of fluctuating from “contender” to bottom third until league play is well underway. A potential sparkplug for the Colonials is Josh Corbin, who scored 34 points in his third game of the season on Sunday.
Green Bay might be starting to look like the big riser that we projected they could be. A season after winning 3 Division I games all year, the Phoenix managed to get 2 D-I victories in a week. Last Monday’s 54-53 overtime win over Montana State might have been one of the uglier wins a team will get this season, but there’s something to be said about holding on to beat a roster with several pieces that went to the NCAA Tournament last year. A six minute scoring drought late in the second half sunk Green Bay in a 74-68 loss to UC-Riverside, but the team bounced back and comfortably beat promising provisional D-I school Saint Thomas 64-51 to close out the week on Saturday. Noah Reynolds averaged 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game last week.
Milwaukee came into the year as a projected Horizon League contender, but early returns haven’t been great. Milwaukee was favored over Stetson in the first game of the Sunshine Slam, but were out of the contest by halftime and fell 85-67. The Panthers did secure a Division I victory in the Sunshine Slam, beating Siena 61-59 on a last-second putback by Aaron Franklin. Finally, Milwaukee fell 89-80 against Southern Miss in a game that looked like it was on its way to resembling the Stetson game. B.J. Freeman averaged 17.3 points per game for Milwaukee on the week.
Detroit Mercy has had a rough start to the post-Antoine Davis era, now sitting at 0-6 after losing to Eastern Michigan and Southern Illinois Edwardsville last week. The Titans get a little bit of slack despite the record, as they haven’t played multiple non-Division I teams and the 1-point loss at Ole Miss likely translates to a win elsewhere. As a result, the Titans stay out of the bottom of the rankings while searching for that first win. Jayden Stone got a taste of much of the Antoine Davis era. He averaged an efficient 29.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists but came away with a pair of losses.
IUPUI‘s only contest this week was against NAIA newcomer Cleary University, so the Jaguars didn’t have much of a chance to rise up the ranks this week. Unfortunately, losing ground was still possible and the team accomplished just that when the NAIA school pushed IUPUI to overtime. The Jaguars did eventually win 78-70, but there’s nothing to indicate they belong anywhere but last in the rankings right now. Jlynn Counter had 21 points and 5 rebounds in the win.