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VU men's basketball team ranked No. 1 in NJCAA preseason poll

 

VINCENNES, Ind. — The Vincennes University men’s basketball team will begin the 2019-2020 season where it finished in 2018-2019 — as the top team in the land.

The defending national champion Trailblazers were voted to the No. 1 spot in the NJCAA Division I preseason poll, which was released on Oct. 21.

Last season, the Trailblazers downed Ranger College (Texas), 87-77, in the championship game in Hutchinson, Kansas.

“It’s nice for the program, like a lot of the things that have happened over the last seven or eight years here,” said VU Coach Todd Franklin, whose team finished 36-2 on the way to the title. “It’s always good to get positive media attention and to be acknowledged by your peers.”

VU was also the top team in the NJCAA preseason rankings released by the Street & Smith College Basketball Yearbook. Region 24 rival John A. Logan College was third in those rankings.

The national championship was the fourth for VU, which also won in 1965, 1970 and 1972 under legendary coach Allen Bradfield. The fourth title puts VU at the top of the national list, along with San Jacinto (Texas), and Moberly (Missouri), both of which have also won four crowns.

VU hopes to become the first school to win back-to-back championships since Southeastern Community College (Iowa) in 2003 and 2004.

The Trailblazers received all seven first-place votes and compiled 175 points in the NJCAA rankings. Ranger (168), Florida SouthWestern State (161), John A. Logan (154) and Eastern Florida State (147) completed the top five.

Franklin stresses that the top ranking generally always goes to the defending champions.

“I don’t think at this point in time, looking at us in practice or how we’re performing, that we’re the best team in the country,” he said. “If that’s the case, the country’s not in good shape.”

He said the No. 1 ranking doesn’t add extra pressure to the returning players because the Trailblazers will have a “bullseye” on their backs to begin with.

“It’s not extra pressure for us, because we have to live in every day,” he said. “The players have to learn how to adapt to that.”

Still, the No. 1 status is a great way for the Trailblazers to kick off their season. The defending champions open their season by hosting the annual Kiwanis Classic Nov. 1-2.

Opponents will be Southwest Tennessee and 19th-rated Harcum (Pennsylvania). The national championship banner will be raised prior to the Classic’s first game on Nov. 1 at the P.E. Complex.

“We hope that being No. 1 in the country and coming off of a national championship will add to the energy,” Franklin said. “At the end of the day, it’ll only be good for us if it adds energy to our fan base. That’s the positive of it.”

NJCAA Division I preseason poll

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Vincennes University Newsroom
Vincennes University Trailblazer Athletics
 

BILL RICHARDSON, Assistant Sports Information Director
   812-888-6831 office, VUAthletics@vinu.edu, wrichardson@vinu.edu

MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter

   812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell, VUNews@vinu.edu, mmartinez@vinu.edu

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom

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Play4Kay

The Vincennes University Athletic Department hosts Play4Kay and raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund annually. VU Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Harry Meeks has a special connection to the late Yow, who was the longtime coach at North Carolina State. He had the pleasure of meeting her while he was an assistant coach at Western Carolina University. This left a lasting impression on him and made this cause important to him and the Trailblazers.

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Click here to learn more about Kay Yow and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund

NJCAA spring sport cancellation

The NJCAA announced on March 16 the cancellation of all spring sport competition and all upcoming basketball championships, effective immediately, due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Spring competition includes all practices, regular season, postseason, and national championship play.

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