Preseason No. 3 LMU Releases Men's Basketball Schedule For 2016-17
HARROGATE, Tenn. - Lincoln Memorial University head men's basketball coach Josh Schertz (pictured) has announced the schedule for the upcoming 2016-17 season. The four-time defending South Atlantic Conference champion Railsplitters are set to play 28 regular-season contests, with 12 of those slated to be hosted at Tex Turner Arena. As always, the schedule will also feature 22 SAC games.
The Railsplitters, who broke the SAC- and program-record last season by compiling 34 wins and became the first men's basketball team in SAC history to play in the NCAA Division II National Championship game, will face a daunting schedule, as 10 of their 28 games will be played against teams that competed in last season's NCAA Tournament. That includes four teams that are represented in the Division II Bulletin preseason rankings and picked to win their respective conference in that publication.
Lincoln Memorial will play its first six games of the season on the road, opening against King (11/11) and Lees-McRae (11/12) in Greeneville, Tenn. in the SAC vs. Conference Carolinas Challenge. King, who knocked off the Railsplitters in the 2015-16 season-opener, went 25-7 last season, won both the Conference Carolinas regular-season and tournament titles and played in the NCAA Tournament. Following that, the Railsplitters travel to Evansville, Ind. to compete in the inaugural Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, which is being hosted by the University of Southern Indiana at the Ford Center. In that event, Lincoln Memorial is set to face perennial powerhouses Kentucky Wesleyan (11/18) and Alabama-Huntsville (11/19). Kentucky Wesleyan - winners of eight NCAA Division II National Championships - went 27-4 last season and is the preseason favorite to win the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, while Alabama-Huntsville is ranked ninth in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll. The Chargers played in the Sweet 16 last season and are the favorites to repeat as Gulf South Conference champs. The Railsplitters then close out that road-dominant start with the SAC-opener against Carson-Newman (11/22) and a nonconference test at Virginia-Wise (11/26). That will mark LMU's 202nd all-time meeting against Carson-Newman. The comfort of home will be the Railsplitters' reward for that brutal start, as Lincoln Memorial follows up that six-game road start by playing six of its next seven games at Tex Turner Arena. The Railsplitters will sandwich home dates against Lenoir-Rhyne (11/30), Coker (12/3), Brevard (12/5), Newberry (12/17), Bellarmine (12/31) and Mars Hill (1/4) around a trip to Wingate (12/14). Bellarmine is without question the highlight of that stretch, as the Knights will make the return trip to Harrogate after hosting Lincoln Memorial last season. Bellarmine has made three NCAA Division II Final Four appearances since 2011 and is ranked No. 1 in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll. The Railsplitters are ranked No. 3 in that same publication. Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate also highlight that stretch, as both the Bears and Bulldogs advanced deep into the NCAA Tournament last season. The Bears went 21-10 and faced the Railsplitters in the Sweet 16, while Wingate, who returns nearly its entire team, finished with a 23-10 overall record. From January 7 to February 1, the Railsplitters will spend a great deal of time on the road once again, playing six of their eight games over that span outside of Harrogate. That stretch begins at Queens on January 7. The Royals are also receiving votes in the DII Bulletin preseason rankings after going 25-7 last season and jumping as high as No. 8 in the NABC national rankings. After that contest against Queens, the Railsplitters travel to Anderson (1/11), host Catawba (1/14), visit Tusculum (1/18) and Coker (1/21), return home to face Carson-Newman (1/25), and hit the road once more for SAC tilts against Lenoir-Rhyne (1/28) and Brevard (2/1). The Railsplitters close out the regular season by playing four of seven at home, welcoming Wingate (2/4), Tusculum (2/8), Queens (2/18) and Anderson (2/22) to Tex Turner while making trips to Newberry (2/11), Mars Hill (2/15) and Catawba (2/25). The 2017 South Atlantic Conference Championship runs from March 1-5. The quarterfinal round games will be played at the site of the higher seed on March 1, while the semifinals and championship games will be hosted at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C. The Railsplitters will be defending their SAC tournament crown and looking to win their fourth tournament title over the past seven seasons. The NCAA Division II Southeast Regional is scheduled for March 11-14. That event is hosted in its entirety at the site of the region's top-ranked team as determined by the regional committee at the conclusion of the conference tournaments. The winner of the Southeast Regional advances to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, which is being held at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. March 22-25. The Railsplitters have hosted the last two Southeast Regional Championships. General admission is $5 to all home basketball games. Fans also have the option of joining the L Club to receive a season pass to all home basketball games as well as exclusive game day benefits, including VIP parking and access to complimentary refreshments and facilities. For more information regarding the L Club, visit the official L Club page at LMURailsplitters.com.
LMU Women's 2016-17 Schedule Also Released
Coach Krystal Evans has released LMU's women basketball team schedule for the upcoming season. The schedule, which features 22 South Atlantic Conference games, will see the team play 15 of their 28 contests in the friendly confines of the Tex Turner Arena. Last season, the team posted their best record since the 2003-04 season as they went 17-12 and reached the South Atlantic Conference semifinals for the first time. With eleven players returning from last year's squad and six newcomers, Coach Evans has a strong foundation for success in her third season on the LMU sidelines. For the third consecutive year, the season opens with the SAC/Peach Belt Conference Challenge, which features Lander and USC-Aiken in addition to fellow SAC member Carson-Newman. LMU will host the tournament this year, facing Lander (11/11) and USC Aiken (11/12) in the Tex Turner Arena. Lander enters the season coming off a 25-7 record, Peach Belt Championship and a NCAA Tournament appearance last year.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught