Nova Southeastern made program history in 2023, winning its first DII men's basketball national championship in school history. The third time was the charm, after reaching the DII Men's Elite Eight in 2019, 2022, and 2023, the first three occurrences in program history. The 2023 national championship game against West Liberty shattered the record books, as the two combined for the most points in championship game history in the thrilling 111-101 instant classic.
Wheaton (Ill.) won the first DII men's basketball title in 1957, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan 89-65. Wheaton has never been back to the championship game, but Kentucky Wesleyan has advanced to 12 more title games, winning an unprecedented eight along the way.
Let’s take a look at the programs with the most national championships in DII basketball.
Kentucky Wesleyan, 8 (1966, 1968-69, 1973, 1987, 1990, 1999, 2001)
The Panthers are the benchmark when it comes to DII men’s basketball. They have lost as many championship games (5) as the next closest has won. Kentucky Wesleyan’s resume is as impressive as any program at any level. The Panthers have made 19 appearances in the Elite Eight, 17 appearances in the national semifinals, and have registered 87 tournament wins along the way. Only UCLA has more national championships in college basketball than the Panthers.
Evansville, 5 (1959-60, 1964-65, 1971)
Not only have the Aces won five titles, but the same head coach also hoisted the trophy every time. No head coach in DII men’s basketball has more titles than Evansville’s Arad McCutchan, and that evidently paid off on his players. Jerry Sloan helped lead the Aces to back-to-back titles in 1964 and ’65 before going on to a storied NBA coaching career himself. The Aces were the first team to go back-to-back in DII history and are one of four DII programs to finish a championship season undefeated.
Northwest Missouri State, 4 (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022)
The current dynasty in DII men's basketball is Northwest Missouri State. The Bearcats have won four of the last five championships, and became the first team to repeat as champions since Cal State Bakersfield in 1994. In 2022, the Bearcats became the first DII men's basketball team made history as the first to win three in a row. Ben McCollum, a graduated of Northwest Missouri State, has led his alma mater to all of its titles.
Cal State Bakersfield, 3 (1993-94, 1997)
A large part of the 1990s belonged to the Roadrunners, making six appearances in the national semifinals and winning three of their four national championship appearances in the decade. Head coach Pat Douglass led them to all three titles, with their 1993, 33-0 season one of the best in DII basketball history.
Virginia Union, 3 (1980, 1992, 2005)
The school that produced well-known NBA big men Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace also pumped out three national championship teams. The Panthers like to leave their mark across the decades, the only team to win one in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s.
Teams with two
Five teams have won two titles. Florida Southern picked up its second title in 2015, 34 years after winning its first. Central Missouri won its second title in 2014, 30 years after winning its first back in 1984, holding both of its opponents to 77 points. Winona State went to three-straight title games between 2006 and 2008, winning twice. What are the chances two Roadrunners appear on the list? Enter Metro State who played Kentucky Wesleyan in the championship game three times in four years, winning in both 2000 and 2002. And lastly, North Alabama won twice, once in 1979 before winning again in 1991.
Here is the complete history of the DII men's basketball championship game. Note that there was no winner in 2020, as the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|2023||Nova Southeastern (36-0)||Jim Crutchfield||111-101||West liberty||Evansville, Ind.|
|2022||Northwest Missouri State (35-5||Ben McCollum||67-58||Augusta||Evansville, Ind.|
|2021||Northwest Missouri State (28-2)||Ben McCollum||80-54||West Texas A&M||Evansville, Ind.|
|2019||Northwest Missouri State (38-0)||Ben McCollum||64-58||Point Loma||Evansville, Ind.|
|2018||Ferris State (38-1)||Andy Bronkema||71-69||Northern State||Sioux Falls, S.D.|
|2017||Northwest Missouri St. (35-1)||Ben McCollum||71-61||Fairmont State||Sioux Falls, S.D.|
|2016||Augustana [S.D.] (34-2)||Tom Billeter||90-81||Lincoln Memorial||Frisco, Tex.|
|2015||Florida Southern (36-1)||Linc Darner||77-62||Indiana (Pa.)||Evansville, Ind.|
|2014||Central Missouri (30-5)||Kim Anderson||84-77||West Liberty||Evansville, Ind.|
|2013||Drury (31-4)||Steve Hesser||74-73||Metro State||Atlanta, Ga.|
|2012||Western Washington (31-5)||Brad Jackson||72-65||Montevallo||Highland Heights, Ky.|
|2011||Bellarmine (33-2)||Scott Davenport||71-68||BYU-Hawaii||Springfield, Mass.|
|2010||Cal Poly Pomona (28-6)||Greg Kamansky||65-53||Indiana (Pa.)||Springfield, Mass.|
|2009||Findlay (36-0)||Ron Niekamp||56-53 (ot)||Cal Poly Pomona||Springfield, Mass.|
|2008||Winona State (38-1)||Mike Leaf||87-76||Augusta State||Springfield, Mass.|
|2007||Barton (31-5)||Ron Lievense||77-75||Winona State||Springfield, Mass.|
|2006||Winona State (32-4)||Mike Leaf||73-61||Virginia Union||Springfield, Mass.|
|2005||Virginia Union (30-4)||Dave Robbins||63-58||Bryant||Grand Forks, N.D.|
|2004||Kennesaw State (35-4)||Tony Ingle||84-59||Southern Indiana||Bakersfield, Calif.|
|2003||Northeastern State (32-3)||Larry Gipson||75-64||**Kentucky Wesleyan||Lakeland, Fla.|
|2002||Metro State (29-6)||Mike Dunlap||80-72||Kentucky Wesleyan||Evansville, Ind.|
|2001||Kentucky Wesleyan (31-3)||Ray Harper||72-63||Washburn||Bakersfield, Calif.|
|2000||Metro State (33-4)||Mike Dunlap||97-79||Kentucky Wesleyan||Louisville, Ky.|
|1999||Kentucky Wesleyan (35-2)||Ray Harper||75-60||Metro State||Louisville, Ky.|
|1998||UC Davis (31-2)||Bob Williams||83-77||Kentucky Wesleyan||Louisville, Ky.|
|1997||Cal State Bakersfield (29-4)||Pat Douglass||57-56||Northern Kentucky||Louisville, Ky.|
|1996||Fort Hays State (34-0)||Gary Garner||70-63||Northern Kentucky||Louisville, Ky.|
|1995||Southern Indiana (29-4)||Bruce Pearl||71-63||UC Riverside||Louisville, Ky.|
|1994||Cal State Bakersfield (27-6)||Pat Douglass||92-86||Southern Indiana||Springfield, Mass.|
|1993||Cal State Bakersfield (33-0)||Pat Douglass||85-72||Troy||Springfield, Mass.|
|1992||Virginia Union (30-3)||Dave Robbins||100-75||Bridgeport||Springfield, Mass.|
|1991||North Alabama (29-4)||Gary Elliot||79-72||Bridgeport||Springfield, Mass.|
|1990||Kentucky Wesleyan (31-2)||Wayne Chapman||93-79||Cal State Bakersfield||Springfield, Mass.|
|1989||North Carolina Central (28-4)||Michael Bernard||73-46||Southeast Missouri State||Springfield, Mass.|
|1988||Massachusetts-Lowell (27-7)||Don Doucette||75-72||Alaska Anchorage||Springfield, Mass.|
|1987||Kentucky Wesleyan (28-5)||Wayne Chapman||92-74||Gannon||Springfield, Mass.|
|1986||Sacred Heart (30-4)||Dave Bike||93-87||Southeast Missouri State||Springfield, Mass.|
|1985||Jacksonville State (31-1)||Bill Jones||74-73||South Dakota State||Springfield, Mass.|
|1984||Central Missouri (29-3)||Lynn Nance||81-77||Saint Augustine's||Springfield, Mass.|
|1983||Wright State (18-4)||Ralph Underhill||92-73||District of Columbia||Springfield, Mass.|
|1982||District of Columbia (25-5)||Wil Jones||73-63||Florida Southern||Springfield, Mass.|
|1981||Florida Southern (24-8)||Hal Wissel||73-68||Mount Saint Mary's||Springfield, Mass.|
|1980||Virginia Union (26-4)||Dave Robbins||80-74||SUNYIT||Springfield, Mass.|
|1979||North Alabama (22-9)||Bill Jones||64-50||Green Bay||Springfield, Mo.|
|1978||Cheyney (26-2)||John Chaney||47-40||Green Bay||Springfield, Mo.|
|1977||Chattanooga (27-5)||RoShumatete||71-62||Randolph-Macon||Springfield, Mass.|
|1976||Puget Sound (27-7)||Don Zech||83-74||Chattanooga||Evansville, Ind.|
|1975||Old Dominion (25-6)||Sonny Allen||76-74||New Orleans||Evansville, Ind.|
|1974||Morgan State (28-5)||Nathaniel Frazier||67-52||Missouri State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1973||Kentucky Wesleyan (24-6)||Bob Jones||78-76 (ot)||Tennessee State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1972||Roanoke (28-4)||Charles Moir||84-72||Akron||Evansville, Ind.|
|1971||Evansville (22-8)||Arad McCutchan||97-82||Old Dominion||Evansville, Ind.|
|1970||Philadelphia University (29-2)||Herb Magee||76-65||Tennessee State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1969||Kentucky Wesleyan (25-5)||Bob Daniels||75-71||Missouri State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1968||Kentucky Wesleyan (28-3)||Bob Daniels||63-52||Indiana State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1967||Winston-Salem (30-2)||C.E. Gaines||77-74||Missouri State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1966||Kentucky Wesleyan (24-6)||Guy Strong||54-51||Southern Illinois||Evansville, Ind.|
|1965||Evansville (29-0)||Arad McCutchan||85-82 (ot)||Southern Illinois||Evansville, Ind.|
|1964||Evansville (26-3)||Arad McCutchan||72-59||Akron||Evansville, Ind.|
|1963||South Dakota State (22-5)||Jim Iverson||44-42||Wittenberg||Evansville, Ind.|
|1962||Mount Saint Mary's (24-6)||James Phelan||58-57 (ot)||Sacramento State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1961||Wittenberg (25-4)||Ray Mears||42-38||Southeast Missouri State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1960||Evansville (25-4)||Arad McCutchan||90-69||Chapman||Evansville, Ind.|
|1959||Evansville (21-6)||Arad McCutchan||83-67||Missouri State||Evansville, Ind.|
|1958||South Dakota (22-5)||Duane Clodfelter||75-53||Saint Michael's||Evansville, Ind.|
|1957||Wheaton (Ill.) (28-1)||Lee Pfund||89-65||Kentucky Wesleyan||Evansville, Ind.|
|**Student-Athletes declared ineligible|