KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A historic season, which came abruptly to an end last Thursday, March 12, will go down as the best in Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball history in terms of winning percentage (.970) with the Railsplitters capping their 2019-20 campaign ranked second in the country.
For the third time in five seasons, LMU ends the basketball year ranked among the nation's top two as the Railsplitters are No. 2 in both the final National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Top 25 and the last D2SIDA Media Poll. The Railsplitters were ranked in both national polls for the entirety of the 2019-20 season, marking the seventh time since 2010-11 LMU has been among the top 25 for the whole year. LMU has finished its season nationally ranked in the coaches poll nine of the last 10 years and six times has completed its campaign within the top 10. In five of the last six seasons, the Railsplitters have finished among the top five of the media poll. Two seasons ago, LMU closed out 2017-18 as the No. 1 team in the land in both national rankings. Riding a 32-game winning streak through its fifth South Atlantic Conference Tournament title, the longest win streak among all levels of college basketball, the Railsplitters went undefeated in league play (22-0) for the third season in the last five years. Posting an unblemished 25-0 mark against conference opponents in 2019-20, LMU captured its eighth SAC regular season championship since 2011 while going unscathed in 2020 (20-0) and inside B. Frank "Tex" Turner Arena (17-0). The Railsplitters' 32-1 record and .970 winning percentage were both league bests, in addition to LMU's winning streak setting a school and conference record. Led by the senior leadership of Anthony Brown, Kamaran Calhoun, Rhondi Hackett and Myles Smith, three of whom aided LMU to a 114-18 (.894) record over the last four years, the Railsplitters sat in the top five of both the NABC Top 25 and D2SIDA Media Poll for 10-straight weeks beginning Jan. 7. For 13 consecutive weeks dating back to Dec. 17, LMU ranked in the top five of the coaches poll to make it 54 weeks in program history. All 17 weeks, the Railsplitters ranked in the top 10 of the NABC Top 25, marking 87 weeks in school history with a top-10 national ranking. Dropping just one game all season, LMU's opener versus then No. 7/5 West Texas A&M in the fourth annual Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on Nov. 1, 2019, the Railsplitters were ranked atop the NCAA Division II Southeast Region in each of the regional media polls and the three NCAA Division II Southeast Region Men's Basketball polls. The Aggies of West Texas A&M (32-1) finished their season ranked third in the NABC Top 25 and fourth in media poll as LMU was set to host the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Southeast Regional Championship for the fourth time in six years. Queens University of Charlotte (24-7, 17-5), who the Railsplitters defeated three times throughout the season, is the only other SAC member to appear in the final national rankings. The Royals tied for 25th in the last coaches poll and end their campaign 15th in the final D2SIDA Media Poll. Throughout 2019-20, LMU posted eight wins over teams who were either ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the two national polls when the Railsplitters defeated them. Five of those were top-25 victories with LMU ousting then 22nd-ranked Davenport (D2SIDA Media Poll) 98-48 on Nov. 2, then 12th-ranked Queens (NABC Top 25) 73-64 on Dec. 7, then 22nd-ranked Catawba (NABC Top 25) 110-85 on Jan. 11, then 17th-ranked Queens (D2SIDA Media Poll) 103-80 on Feb. 1 and 25th-ranked Queens (NABC Top 25) 75-68 in the SAC Tournament title game on March 8. The only program in Division II to have reached 30 wins in five of the last six years, the Railsplitters are one of only four Division II schools to have registered 20 wins or more for 11-straight seasons. LMU has made it to the 25-win mark and reached the NCAA Tournament nine of the last 10 years.
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