Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lincoln Memorial Announces 4-Year Series with Bellarmine University

Two of the nation's top Division II teams will meet each of the next four seasons, beginning January 2 in Louisville.

Lincoln Memorial announced the four-game series against Bellarmine University last night.

Here's a release from LMU:

HARROGATE, Tenn. -- Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball coach Josh Schertz has announced a four-year series agreement with NCAA Division II power Bellarmine, which begins on January 2 at Knights Hall in Louisville.

The Railsplitters will travel to Bellarmine for the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons, while the Knights will return the favor with visits to Tex Turner Arena during the 2016-17 and 2018-19 campaigns.

This January's contest marks the first meeting between Lincoln Memorial and Bellarmine since the 2007-08 season, one year prior to Josh Schertz's arrival, when the Knights came away with an 82-70 victory in Greeneville, Tenn. It will be the third meeting between the two programs all-time.

"We are certainly excited to add this non-conference series against Bellarmine to what already was a very difficult schedule," Schertz said. "Coach [Scott] Davenport, along with his players and staff both current and past, has built an outstanding program. Outside looking in, I have tremendous respect for them, not only for what they have accomplished, but for the way in which they have done it. I hope it's something that's good for both programs and fan bases, and due to our relatively close proximity I would assume both teams will travel well and create a terrific atmosphere each game."

The LMU-Bellarmine series pits two of the heavyweight NCAA Division II programs head-to-head, as the Railsplitters claim the second-highest winning percent in the country over the past five seasons, while BU has the third-best winning percentage, three Final Four appearances and a National Championship over that same span. Only West Liberty (91.8%) has a better winning percentage than either LMU (86.6%) or Bellarmine (84.3%) since the start of the 2010-11 season.

Boasting the second-longest active streak and the fourth-longest all-time streak of consecutive weeks ranked in the NABC national poll (74), the Railsplitters enter the 2015-16 season looking to secure their fourth-consecutive South Atlantic Conference regular season championship and sixth-straight NCAA tournament berth. Lincoln Memorial has advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons.

The Railsplitters finished 30-3 last season, breaking the South Atlantic Conference single-season record for wins and winning percentage. LMU - who matched the 1976-77 team for the most wins in program history - hosted the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional and became the first team in SAC history to win three-straight outright regular season championships.

Bellarmine has compiled a 140-26 record since the start of the 2010-11 season, which was unsurprisingly the Knights' most accomplished season over that stretch, as BU tallied a 33-2 mark and defeated BYU-Hawaii to capture the program's first National Championship. The Knights returned to the Final Four in 2012 and 2015, falling to eventual National Champion Florida Southern last season.

Complete Release

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