TERRE HAUTE —
DIII News has ranked Rose-Hulman at No. 20 nationally in its preseason men’s basketball poll and senior Julian Strickland earned “Top 24” honors from the organization Wednesday.
DIII News ranked Rose-Hulman at No. 20 in its preseason poll, and the Engineers are the only Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference or Indiana based school in the national top 25 poll. The “Top 24” list includes the top three players from each of the eight NCAA evaluation regions for men’s basketball and Strickland is listed first in the Midwest Region.
The honors follow the Sporting News College Basketball Yearbook touting Rose-Hulman as a “possible breakthrough” team and Strickland as an honorable-mention All-American in September.
The Sporting News Yearbook listed a preseason top 10 poll for NCAA Division III, then mentioned several other teams in the possible breakthrough category. The Engineers were mentioned in the list after completing a 24-4 season last winter.
Rose-Hulman has qualified for two straight NCAA Division III tournaments after capturing consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament titles. The Engineers were ranked as high as No. 18 nationally last season, led NCAA Division III in scoring defense by allowing just 51.8 points per game and hosted their first NCAA tournament game since 1997.
Strickland was a second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches All-American last season and leads two returning starters for this year’s squad. He was also named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player after leading the Engineers in scoring at 14.6 points per contest.
Strickland enters his season with 1,099 career points, including 65 games scoring in double figures and eight games of 20 or more points. His career-high 30-point game came in the 2012 HCAC tournament championship game at Transylvania, a victory that lifted Rose-Hulman to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999.
Rose-Hulman will open its season with a scrimmage against Indiana State on Nov. 3. The regular season opens Nov. 22 at Washington (St. Louis), which was ranked No. 3 nationally in the DIII News poll.