Augustana Vikings Men’s Basketball Ranked No. 1 in DII Bulletin Preseason Poll
The 2015-2016 Men's College Basketball season is almost here and one team that I can't wait to see is the Vikings of Augustana University.
Tom Billeter is one of the best coaches in the country regardless of level and he has a stacked team this year and others are certainly noticing.
The Division II Bulletin has ranked the Augustana men's basketball team as the #1 team in the entire country in their preseason rankings.
In the 2014-2015 season, the Vikings hosted their first ever Central Regional Tournament before falling short of their ultimate goal of winning a national title.
This year the Vikings look to take that experience and a starting five that stays in tact as that should give Augustana the tools to compete for a title this year.
Here is the complete press release on the #1 ranking:
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Division II Bulletin released its 2015-16 season preview on Monday morning. The publication listed Augustana men's basketball as the No. 1 team in the country heading into the 2015-16 season. Augustana's Daniel Jansen and Casey Schilling were also named to the Division II Bulletin Preseason All-America Team.
Augustana was picked at No. 2 in the Sporting News Yearbook preseason poll earlier this fall and Jansen and Schilling were also named preseason All-America by Sporting News.
Augustana returns 12 players, including all five starters, from last season's team that finished 31-3 and set a program record for most wins. The Vikings also hosted the NCAA Central Region Tournament for the first time in program history.
Jansen, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from Orange City, Iowa, averaged 19.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in 2014-15. Jansen was named to five All-America teams following last season and was also named the NSIC and Daktronics Central Region Player of the Year. He led the Vikings in scoring last season, setting a single-season record at Augustana with 671 points. Jansen scored 10 or more points in 31 of 33 games, including 20-plus points 19 times in 30-plus points twice. He finished the season second on the team with 58 3-point field goals and shot 50.8 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 77.2 percent from the line.
Schilling, a 6-foot-6 forward from Ellsworth, Minn., was named the NSIC's Defensive Player of the Year last season averaging 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game to go along with 18.9 points and 2.1 assists. Schilling was named to two All-America teams following last season as well as being named to the NABC All-District and Daktronics All-Central Region First Teams. Schilling was named the MVP of the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament last season after averaging 23 points and 11.5 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field to help the Vikings to their first-ever conference tournament championship. Schilling scored in double-digits in 33 of 34 games, including 20-plus points in 16 games and 30-plus points twice. He led the team with 12 double-doubles, 36 blocks and 61 steals.
Not only do the Vikings return five starters from last season, they return four All-Conference players from a season ago. Joining Jansen and Schilling on the All-NSIC team last season were Alex Richter and Jordan Spencer. Richter, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, earned All-NSIC First Team honors finishing the season averaging 14.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 52.7 percent from the field knocking down a team-high 65 3-pointers.
Spencer, a 6-foot-2 guard from London, England, earned NSIC Freshman of the Year and All-NSIC Second Team honors after averaging 11.5 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. He dished out five or more assists in 20 of 32 games, including 15 straight games to close-out the season. He handed out a season-high 10 assists twice during the season and scored in double-digits 24 times. Spencer threatened a triple-double three times on the year.
Adam Beyer played in all 34 games last season, making 32 starts and averaged 7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He finished second on the team with 99 assists and shot 48 percent from the field.
The Vikings won a share of the NSIC Regular Season Championship last season, finishing 20-2 in conference play and went on to win the first conference tournament in program history winning four straight games to capture the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament title.
Located in Sioux Falls, S.D., Augustana University is a member of NCAA Division II and competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.