KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After establishing complete South Atlantic Conference dominance this weekend, the Railsplitters were given some love in the final NABC/Division II Coaches Poll of the 2013-14 campaign, leaping seven spots to No.6 in the national men’s basketball rankings.
Lincoln Memorial University (27-2) made the program’s second largest move in the national poll — trailing an eight-spot jump from Dec. 18, 2012 to Jan. 8, 2013 — after finishing off the sweep of the SAC championships this past weekend.
On Sunday, the Railsplitters became the first men’s team to sweep the league championships since LMU did so in 2011 by withstanding the pesky Anderson Trojans, 76-71, to collect the tournament title for the second time in four years.
The Railsplitters have been ranked nationally in every poll in each of the last three seasons, racking up a South Atlantic Conference record 58-consecutive weeks in the national top 25. Lincoln Memorial has never been ranked as high as No.6 in the final poll of the year, their previous best finish was 10th in 2010-11. The Railsplitters’ streak is the ninth-longest in the 53-year history of the NABC rankings and the third-longest active streak, trailing only No.7 West Liberty and No.14 Southern Indiana.
The Railsplitters earned the program’s fourth straight bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night, drawing the No.2 seed for the third time in four seasons. Lincoln Memorial is set to travel to Aiken, S.C., home of the fifth-ranked USC Aiken Pacers, for the Southeast Regional.
The Railsplitters drew seventh-seeded Carson-Newman for its quarterfinal match-up, and the Eagles are responsible for one of LMU’s two losses this season. But an LMU win would give the Railsplitters the South Atlantic Conference single-season record for wins, surpassing the record currently shared by Presbyterian (1992-93; 2002-03) and Lincoln Memorial (2010-11). The Railsplitters are vying for the program’s third straight appearance in the semifinals of the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Lincoln Memorial and Carson-Newman are scheduled to tip-off that quarterfinal bout at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at USC Aiken’s Convocation Center. The winner advances to Sunday’s semifinal match-up to take on the winner of No.3 Montevallo and No.6 Georgia Southwestern.