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Railsplitter hoops enter 2020 ranked No. 3 nationally in latest NABC Top 25

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On the nation’s longest win streak at 12 games, the Lincoln Memorial University men’s basketball team closed out the decade and entered the new year as the No. 3 program in the country with the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 poll released New Year’s Eve.

The Railsplitters (12-1, 5-0 SAC) jumped up one spot after ranking fourth in the nation the last two weeks and are the lone South Atlantic Conference team to appear in the coaches poll.

Fellow league members Catawba and Queens University of Charlotte both are receiving votes in the NABC Top 25.

The No. 3 national ranking is the highest for LMU since completing the 2017-18 season as the top team in the country and marks the 44th week all-time the Railsplitters have been ranked in the top five in the nation. LMU is also ranked sixth in the most current D2SIDA Media Poll, which was released Dec. 17, and is the top team in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region after receiving all first-place votes for the fourth consecutive week in the latest D2SIDA Southeast Regional Poll (Dec. 16).

Bellarmine, who will be fully-fledged Division I members in 2020-21, received all 16 first-place votes in the coaches poll as the No. 1 team in the land with an unblemished 8-0 record. Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State (10-1) is ranked second in the NABC Top 25, followed by the Railsplitters third and Nova Southeastern (8-1) fourth.

West Texas A&M, who handed LMU its lone loss of 2019-20 in overtime in the season opener at the fourth annual Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Saint Joseph, Missouri, is ranked No. 5. UC San Diego (11-1), St. Edward’s (Texas) (10-1), Ferris State (14-1), Indiana University of Pennsylvania (9-1) and West Chester (11-0) round out the coaches poll’s top 10, respectively.

Defeating their opponents by an average of 25.7 points per game, the Railsplitters own the fourth-highest scoring margin in all of NCAA Division II basketball and are tied for the second-most wins in the nation. LMU leads the country in field-goal percentage defense (37.1%) and is ranked ninth in scoring (93.7 PPG) and fourth in shooting (52.3%).

Following a 13-day break from game action due to the Christmas holiday, the Railsplitters return to the hardwood for competition Saturday in the Palmetto State. LMU will take on SAC adversary Newberry in a 4 p.m. tip-off from inside Eleazer Arena.