Preseason Polls Rank Pilots 10th in NAIA
October 26, 2005
Shreveport, LA---Eight months after their first Sweet 16 appearance and a loss at the hands of the future 2005 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball John Brown University (AR), the LSUS Pilots have been ranked 10th in the NAIA pre-season polls which were released Wednesday afternoon.
The 2004-2005 NAIA Division I men’s basketball season was a year of firsts for the LSUS Pilots. Chad McDowell and his Pilots recorded a 27-9 overall record which included a 16-2 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference record which was good enough for a share of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular season championship with the University of Mobile Rams. By virtue of holding the upper hand in a tie-breaker versus the Rams, the Pilots received an automatic birth in the 2005 NAIA Buffalo Funds National Tournament in Kansas City, MO. In their first national tournament appearance, the Pilots won their first game versus Cumberland University in a double-overtime thriller, 79-75. In the second round however, the Pilots were held under 60 points for the first time in their existence and were eliminated from the Sweet 16 round by JBU.
Despite a year which captivated the entire LSUS campus and broke the LSUS win record with 27 (previously 21, 2004), the Pilots felt as if their journey ended a little too early. However, the 2005 Pilot team has made the step to #1 a little closer by starting the year ranked 10th in the country amongst NAIA teams. “With the players we have returning and the recruiting class we have assembled, we feel worthy of to be considered one of the top 10 teams in the country,” comments Pilot head coach Chad McDowell. “It speaks volumes for our young program and is a tribute to the quality of student-athletes we have had over the past two years. We still understand that it’s a pre-season poll and the work is yet to be done.”
The Pilots will be put to the test early with 14 games throughout the month of November which includes their home opener November 2 versus the Southwestern Assemblies of God University, and exhibition games versus NCAA Division I opponents McNeese State University, LSU, and the University of Arkansas. These games will serve as crucial preparation for the month of December which will see the Pilots take on the 6th ranked Union University on a neutral court in Houston, TX, and a showdown with the 15th ranked Texas Wesleyan University Rams in Fort Worth, TX
“It should be everyone’s goal as it is ours to be #1. We are proud to be recognized throughout the country, however, our focus will continue to remain on playing together night in and night out and letting the rest take care of itself,” concludes McDowell.
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