The impact of two WHAC teams in the NAIA D-II Final Four on UM-Dearborn men’s basketball

WHAC logoBy MITCH STAPLETON, Staff Reporter

For the second time this year, the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) is home to a national champion.

On March 17, Cornerstone defeated Dakota Wesleyan for the NAIA Division-II championship. Davenport punched its ticket it to the Final Four before bowing out to Dakota Wesleyan.

Davenport finished first in the WHAC this year, going 19-3 in conference play and 30-6 overall. Cornerstone finished third in the WHAC this year with a 31-5 record and 19-3 mark in conference play.

With the WHAC making a lot of noise this year at nationals, how does it reflect on UM-Dearborn?

“It says it’s probably the best NAIA Division-II basketball conference in the nation,” UM-Dearborn senior Khalil Beidoun said. “Cornerstone was ranked 6th nationally, but ended up finishing third in the WHAC.”

Jeramy Stover covered UM-Dearborn men’s basketball for The Michigan Journal last season and chimed in on the WHAC talk.

“I think it shows the WHAC is at the top,” Stover said. “It’s good to see those two teams go as far as they did, because it really sets the bar high for the rest of the league.”

When questioned what separated UM-Dearborn from competing for a national championship, Stover said, “Consistently is a big thing.” Stover emphasized, “they need a guy who can take over games and put the team on his back.”

Finally, I asked Beidoun who he thought was a better team Davenport or Cornerstone. “Cornerstone; they’re more of a complete team in my eyes, with both their big men and shooters they have around them,” he said.

With the WHAC making a strong showing at the national level, clearly if you compete in the conference, you can compete against anyone.