by Logan Hanson
The #2 ranked Benedictine Men’s
Basketball team has climbed into the national spotlight after what has been a spectacular finish. With their victory over Edgewood College on Saturday, the
2015-2016 Eagles now have the school record for most wins in a season with 24, breaking the record that was held for 25 years.
The Eagles already have the most consecutive wins in a season by a team in school history with 25 and already have won the NACC title with a victory over Concordia University Chicago last week. The
Eagles have not only grabbed the attention on campus, but they have grabbed the national spotlight as well.
Currently sitting at number two in the country, it is hard to remember a time when
Benedictine wasn’t ranked in the D3hoops.com’s top 25 poll.
Benedictine, who began the regular season unranked, started to ascend the polls as they kept stockpiling wins against nationally ranked teams. With key road victories over #24 Illinois Wesleyan University, #18 North Central College and #9 Elmhurst College, Benedictine has the résumé that would grab the
ttention of any national voter.
“The rankings are nice but we know they don’t mean anything but great publicity for our team,” said Head Coach Keith Bunkenburg, “We are focused on Lakeland on Saturday. We appreciate all the support and hope to play a few more home games.”
The Eagles also have another key statistic that has helped them shoot up the rankings; they are one of two undefeated teams in the country. Benedictine also leads the nation in defensive field goal percentage, total rebounds, rebound margin, defensive rebounds per game and total assists according to NCAA.org. They are also top five in the nation in field goal percentage (3rd), total rebounds per game (4th), assists per game (4th), scoring margin (4th) and also rank in the top ten in three other categories according to NCAA.org.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to do something special but we have to take it one game at a time,” said Junior Forward Shawn Soelter, “We know we are going to get everyone’s best shot so we have to come to play night in and night out.”
The Eagles are looking to use the momentum they have gained in the regular season to help propel them through the postseason. After claiming the number one seed for the NACC tournament, the
Eagles have earned home court advantage for the upcoming tournament series. This means the other NACC schools must win at the Rice Center, where the Eagles have not lost a game this season.
Benedictine has also earned another post season honor ranking in the top spot for the Central Region in D3hoops.com’s regional rankings.
Benedictine is slotted a seed above Augustana College, the only team ahead of Benedictine in the Top 25 poll. The regional rankings are important for Benedictine’s playoff hopes, as it is one of the items used by the selection committee to decide seeding and hosts for the NCAA tournament.
“Going into the tournament is not a promise, but if we get the opportunity for that to happen it’s an experience none of us have had,” said Senior Guard Niji Lomax, “We’re going to soak up every moment. We are going to stay humble and keep working hard.”
Benedictine is looking to complete the regular season undefeated as they play Lakeland College this Saturday at Lakeland at 6:00 p.m. Benedictine already has a victory over Lakeland, defeating the Muskies
87-62 at the Rice Center on January 30.