KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Perennial power Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball heads into the 2020-21 season as the No. 2 team in the nation with the announcement of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Preseason Top 25 Tuesday afternoon. The Railsplitters, who were picked to repeat as South Atlantic Conference champions, enter their new campaign having spent the entirety of 2018-19 nationally ranked.
After ranking sixth in the NABC Preseason Top 25 a year ago, LMU went on to appear in the national rankings all 17 weeks of the season. Winning 32 consecutive games, the longest win streak among all levels of collegiate basketball, the Railsplitters ended their historic 2019-20 season as the No. 2 team in the country. It marked the third time in the last five years LMU has ended the hoops season ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation. Altogether, the Railsplitters have spent a total of 136 weeks in the national polls since December of 2010.
Northwest Missouri State, the last NCAA Division II national champion, is the unanimous No. 1 team in the NABC's preseason poll after receiving all 16 first-place votes and ending 2019-20 in the top spot. West Texas A&M, who handed LMU its lone defeat in the last 621 days, is ranked No. 3 in the preseason national rankings as Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Florida Southern round out the top five. Nova Southeastern, West Liberty, Northern State and Missouri-St. Louis all appear in the preseason top 10, along with fellow SAC member Queens University of Charlotte.
Second-ranked LMU and 10th-ranked Queens are the only teams from the NCAA Division II Southeast Region in the NABC Preseason Top 25, while both Augusta University and UNC Pembroke from the Peach Belt Conference are receiving votes.
Returning preseason All-American guards Devin Whitfield and Cameron Henry, in addition to three-year letter winner Alex Dahling and talented junior Julius Brown, the Railsplitters welcome four newcomers to their 2020-21 roster and have plenty of depth at every position. Its best season in terms of winning percentage (.970), LMU went 32-1 in 2019-20 and completed its third undefeated SAC schedule in the last five seasons.
This Saturday, Nov. 21, the Railsplitters open up their 2020-21 season with a 4:30 p.m. tip-off against Newbery College inside B. Frank "Tex" Turner Arena. After a mid-week road tilt at Coker on Tuesday, Nov. 24, LMU comes back from Thanksgiving by hosting Tusculum University Saturday, Nov. 28 at 4:30 p.m.
Due to the ongoing public health crisis of the COVID-19 global pandemic, LMU Athletics has a revised attendance policy for home basketball games during the 2020-21 season. Tex Turner Arena will have a limited capacity of 10% in an effort of promoting and prioritizing the health and safety of student-athletes and game day personnel. The following groups of individuals are the only permitted attendees for home LMU athletic events held inside Tex Turner Arena: student-athlete pass list designees, L Club members, 50 students, dignitaries and game day personnel. In line with LMU's COVID-19 policies and protocols, specific guidelines have been outlined to keep the health and safety of the LMU community the athletic department's top priority. For LMU Athletics' complete COVID-19 game day policies, please click here.