HARROGATE, TN - The Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team broke into the National Association of Basketball Coaches top-10 Tuesday afternoon when the latest NABC top-25 poll was released for NCAA Division II men’s basketball.
The national recognition came a little more than 24 hours before the Railsplitters are set to host Brevard College in a battle for out right supremacy of the South Atlantic Conference race. At 6-0 in league play, the Railsplitters hold a one-game lead over Brevard entering the two team’s first meeting of the year. If the LMU men emerge victorious over the no. 2 conference ranked Tornados Wednesday evening, they would then hold at least a two-game lead on all SAC opponents only two games away from making the turn into the back half of the regular season conference schedule.
“Brevard is a terrific team led by one of the best guards in the country in Josh Roper,” says LMU Head Coach Josh Schertz. “He is surrounded by a terrific supporting cast who really know and understand their roles. They have won numerous close games this season with their chemistry and ability to perform under pressure and will present a monumental challenge for our team to overcome.”
Roper, an all-conference honoree last season is also the reining South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week as announced by the conference office in Rock Hill, South Carolina on Tuesday. Last week the senior guard averaged 29.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while collecting 2.0 assists and leading the Tornados to a perfect 2-0 week that included conference wins over Catawba College and Lenoir-Rhyne University.
The LMU men will enter Wednesday’s first round with Brevard riding a 14 game win streak and their best start in school history while enjoying their first top-10 national ranking since becoming a member of the NCAA in the early 1990’s. The Railsplitters are also on a 10 game home win streak that began with last year’s conference win over
2009-10 South Atlantic Conference regular season champion Catawba College.
“It’s exciting for our program to crack the top-10 in the latest national poll,” said Schertz. “Our success has been directly related to our ability to focus on the task at hand and break the season down into 26 one game seasons. Brevard is now our sole focus at this point and we have to take care of business.”
Wednesday evening’s bout with the Tornados will be twin bill with the Lady Railsplitters who hit the hardwood against the Brevard women’s basketball team at 6:00 p.m. Free tickets to Wednesday night’s games can be obtained by visting the evening’s game sponsors, Holiday Inn Express and Smithfield Packing Company in Middlesboro. Those who can’t make it to the game can catch the action at 5:40 p.m. beginning with pregame coverage on the LMU Sports Network, WLMU 91.3 FM, Communicomm Cable channel 20 throughout Claiborne County and the World Wide Web at http://www.lmurailsplitters.com.