INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- The NCAA unveiled the first regional rankings of the 2012-13 campaign on Wednesday afternoon, and the Railsplitters were notched in the No. 2 spot in the NCAA Southeast Region. This announcement comes a day after Lincoln Memorial University (18-4, 11-3 SAC) moved up a spot to 19th in the most recent NABC/Division II Coaches Poll.
The Railsplitters were selected second in the initial NCAA Division II Southeast Region poll with South Carolina-Aiken earning the top spot with a 16-6 mark up to this point in the season. King (17-6) grabbed the third spot in the poll. Of the ten teams on display in the Southeast Region rankings, three hail from the South Atlantic Conference, as Wingate (16-6) was tagged in fifth and Anderson (15-7) was selected 10th.
Lincoln Memorial holds a 3-1 mark against regionally-ranked foes this season. The Railsplitters earned a 75-68 wire-to-wire victory over King back on December 16th in Tex Turner Arena along with another wire-to-wire win over Wingate, 60-58, on January 26th. The Bulldogs currently sit alone atop the South Atlantic Conference standings with a 12-2 mark in league play. The Railsplitters and Bulldogs are scheduled to cap their regular-season series on February 27th in Wingate, which stands as Lincoln Memorial's only remaining game against a foe ranked among the top ten in the Southeast Region.
LMU's lone loss to a regionally-ranked opponent came on January 12th, as the Anderson Trojans stunned the Railsplitters with a three-point play in the waning seconds to escape Harrogate with a 67-66 victory. However, the 'Splitters avenged that defeat by capturing a 61-52 win in Anderson, South Carolina last Saturday, snapping a five-game losing skid to the Trojans.
The Peach Belt Conference earned three of the top-ten spots in the poll. Along with top-seeded South Carolina-Aiken, UNC Pembroke (14-8) notched the sixth spot and defending Southeast Region champions Montevallo (15-8) fell to eighth. Conference Carolinas garnered the most elections of the three conferences to the Southeast Region rankings. Following King at No. 3, Barton (17-5) was selected fourth, Belmont Abbey (14-6) grabbed seventh and Limestone (15-7) was tabbed in ninth.
The Railsplitters are knotted for four more games on the regular-season schedule, beginning this evening with Carson-Newman University. Lincoln Memorial and the Eagles are locked in a three-way tie, along with Anderson, for second in the SAC standings with an identical season record of 18-4 and 11-3 in league play. Following tonight's action, Lincoln Memorial hosts Lenoir-Rhyne (16-6, 9-5 SAC) on Saturday, where they will look to cap the season sweep over the Bears. The Railsplitters edged L-R, 82-72 in an overtime thriller in Hickory, North Carolina back on January 19th. After the Railsplitters' showdown with Wingate on February 27th, LMU returns to Harrogate, Tennessee to host Catawba for the regular-season finale on March 2nd.