November 29, 2006
USI ranked #2 in first regular season poll
USI battles KWC for control of the bridge Saturday
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team was ranked second nationally in the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II Top 25 poll. The Screaming Eagles had been ranked sixth by the NABC in the preseason.
The number two national ranking is the highest by the Eagles since the 2003-04 season when they were ranked number one in the first two polls of the year. USI was ranked as high as third twice last season.
The GLVC also was represented by Quincy University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, who were ranked 20 and 21, respectively. Saint Joseph's College did receive votes for the top 25.
USI returns to action Saturday when it hosts Kentucky Wesleyan College in the 2006-07 "Battle for the Bridge" game at the Physical Activities Center. Tip-off for the GLVC opener is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., following the USI-KWC women's game.
The Screaming Eagles (7-0) are off to a fast start in 2006-07 and are looking to complete its longest homestand of the year with a five-game sweep Saturday evening. USI has won the first four games of the homestand by an average of 35.5 points per game (ppg).
The Eagles, who were picked to win the GLVC West Division in the preseason, also come into Saturday's contest shooting to continue its recent dominance in the "Battle for the Bridge." USI has won each of the last five regular season games against KWC and leads the trophy series overall, 6-5.
A key to USI's success will be the continued production of the early season big three – senior guard Melvin Hall (Evansville, Indiana), senior center Rashard Sullivan (Miami, Florida), and senior forward Marty Wise (New Orleans, Louisiana). Hall leads the team in scoring with 18.7 ppg, 20.7 ppg during the homestand.
Sullivan, who had his first double-double of the season last Saturday against the University of Illinois-Springfield, follows Hall in the scoring column with 15.9 ppg and Wise in the rebounding column with 5.9 rebounds per game (rpg). The senior graduate student is averaging 17.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg during the homestand.
Wise has had a hand on nearly ever aspect of the game this season for the Eagles. The senior forward is first on the team in rebounding with 7.6 rpg and in assists with 5.1 per game, while ranking third on the squad with 11.6 ppg.
The Panthers (4-0) come to the PAC for the first time since the 2004-05 season and have started the regular season with four straight victories. KWC earned its fourth win of the year by defeating Cumberland University, 78-74, at home.
KWC junior center Jeff Fahnbulleh leads the Panthers with 21.8 ppg and 15.3 rpg, while junior guard Tim Baker is second with 16.0 ppg.
KWC leads the all-time series with USI, 43-31, but the Eagles have won five of the last six. Last season, USI won at the Sportscenter in Owensboro, 74-58.
NABC/Division II Men's Basketball Poll
Team Record Points
1. Winona State (8 first-place votes) 3-0 200
2. Southern Indiana 7-0 186
3. Tarleton State 4-0 181
4. Grand Valley State 4-0 165
5. Rollins 3-1 154
6. Clayton State 1-0 147
7. Central Missouri 4-0 145
8. Bentley 5-0 130
9. Seattle Pacific 3-1 124
10. Fort Hays State 4-0 109
11. Virginia Union 0-0 105
12. Barton 3-1 102
13. Humboldt State 3-0 98
14. Montevallo 5-2 95
15. Minnesota State 4-1 86
16. Findlay 3-1 82
17. Brigham Young-Hawaii 5-0 60
18. Pfeiffer 3-0 57
19. Seattle 4-1 47
20. Quincy 5-0 45
21. SIU Edwardsville 2-2 40
22. Metropolitan State 3-0 38
23. Northwest Missouri State 4-1 34
24. Adelphi 1-1 21
25. Stonehill 3-0 20
Others receiving votes: Central Washington 19, Georgia College & State 15, Christian Brothers 13, North Carolina Central 13, Armstrong Atlantic State 10, Emporia State 10, Mercyhurst 8, Nebraska-Kearney 8, South Dakota 7, Saint Rose 6, Philadelphia 5, Central Oklahoma 4, Ferris State 3, Sai