MATTHEWS, NC -- The Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball team was selected fifth in the Basketball Times NCAA Division II Preseason Top 20 poll, officials announced early Wednesday afternoon.
The Railsplitters earned this distinction following a 26-6 mark last season, which included the program's second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament along with their first NCAA Tournament win with a victory over King College to advance to the semi-finals of the Southeast Regional. The highlight of the 2011-12 campaign came in January, as the Railsplitters became the first team in school history and the first men's basketball program in South Atlantic Conference history to ascend to the No.1 national ranking.
Lincoln Memorial is set to return ten letterwinners and eight of their top 11 scorers from that squad for the 2012-13 season. Leading that group, Vincent Bailey returns after leading the Railsplitters in scoring (10.9 per) and shooting percentage (62%), while finishing second on the team in rebounding (6.3 per) last season. Bailey earned All-South Atlantic Conference Second Team laurels for his efforts at the conclusion of last season and he was selected to the Preseason All-SAC First Team prior to the start of this season.
Jake Troyli also returns for the Railsplitters after finishing fourth on the team in scoring (9.6 per) last season, while tallying 3.9 boards per game and shooting 48 percent from the field. Troyli was tabbed as a Preseason All-SAC Second Team selection by the league's coaches heading into the 2012-13 campaign.
Competing in his final season at Lincoln Memorial, Cam Carden will continue to play a significant role for the Railsplitters this season. Carden finished fifth on the team last season in scoring (8.8 per) while leading the team with 63 three-pointers. Carden added 75 assists and 30 steals to his resume for the 2011-12 season.
The frontcourt will be bolstered by the return of Dustin Craig, Keenan Peterson and Jairocey Simpson, who all boast significant collegiate experience. Senior Dustin Craig heads that group, as he tallied 4.8 points per contest playing in all 32 games.
The remainder of the backcourt will be headlined by the return of Wally Jones, Lorenza Ross, Chance Jones and CJ Wakeley. Wally Jones and Lorenza Ross shine brightest in that group, as Jones contributed 7.1 points per game while tallying 45 assists and 21 steals. Ross was a SAC All-Freshman Team selection last season after compiling 4.7 points per game.
The Railsplitters will also be strengthened by the additions of Tristan Hicks, Tim Pierce and Curtis McMillion to the 2012-13 roster.
Heading into the program's fifth year under the direction of head coach Josh Schertz, the Railsplitters are in the midst of an unmatched run in the history of Lincoln Memorial basketball. Since Schertz took over command of the program, LMU has compiled an 87-32 mark and a 54-7 record in Tex Turner Arena. Over the last two seasons, the Railsplitters have tallied a 53-9 mark which stands as the best record in the South Atlantic Conference over that span.
Practice is underway for the Lincoln Memorial men's basketball team as they have begun preparations for the 2012-13 season, slated to kickoff on October 30th, as the Railsplitters head down to Tallahassee, Florida to take on defending ACC Tournament Champions Florida State in an exhibition contest. The regular season is set to open on November 10th against Ohio Mid-Western in Tex Turner Arena at 8 p.m.
2012-13 Basketball Times
NCAA Division II Pre-Season Top 20
1. West Liberty, W. Va. (32-3)
2. Bellarmine, Ky. (29-4)
3. Washburn, Kan. (25-8)
4. Ala.-Huntsville (29-4)
5. Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. (26-6)
6. Metropolitan State, Colo. (25-7)
7. Winston-Salem, N.C. (21-9)
8. Western Washington (31-5)
9. Arkansas Tech (26-6)
10. Tarleton State, Tex. (27-6)
11. Cal Poly Pomona, Calif. (19-8)
12. Midwestern State, Tex. (29-4)
13. Saint Leo, Fla. (18-12)
14. Southwest Minnesota State (19-11)
15. Barton, N.C. (20-10)
16. Indiana, Pa. (23-6)
17. Drury, Mo. (17-11)
18. West Texas A&M (19-9)
19. St. Cloud State, Minn. (20-9)
20. Shaw, N.C. (27-4)