Dakota Wesleyan University is the next nationally-ranked team to face NAIA newcomer Lincoln College.
The No. 6 Tigers will play the Lynx at 8 p.m. today at the University of St. Francis Thanksgiving Classic in Joliet, Illinois.
A long-time National Junior College Athletic Association member, Lincoln College is playing its first season as an NAIA program this season. Lincoln hasn’t been afraid to play NAIA ranked teams this season, and that continues today with the Tigers (6-0).
“They want to play Dakota Wesleyan,” DWU coach Matt Wilber said. “They are going to be excited we are coming out there.”
The Lynx (4-6) are an NAIA Division II Independent this season, but they haven’t been afraid to mix it up with some of the nation’s bests. Lincoln College has played five total games this season against ranked teams. It split two meetings with No. 16 IU Kokomo, beat then-No. 13 IU East (103-94) and lost to No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan (83-74). The Lynx also played NAIA Division I No. 6 William Penn and fell by a 123-98 score.
DWU and Lincoln are both paced by a trio of guards. The Lynx average 78.7 points per game and have three guards averaging more than 12 points a contest. Guards Darnell Latham Jr. (18.9 points per game), Trayvon Tyler (17.2) and Laytwan Porter (12.4) power the team offensively.
The Tigers (83.7 points) are led by All-American guard Ty Hoglund, who is the No. 3 scorer in NAIA Division II at 26.3 points per game. Nick Harden (16.3) and Tyson Smiley (14.5) complement Hoglund to give DWU a formidable three-guard lineup.
It will also be a homecoming of sorts for Harden, who grew up in Chicago and will be playing a short drive from home.
“I am really excited,” he said. “I have a lot of friends and family coming down to watch me play. It’s going to be exciting and hopefully we get the ‘W’ down there.”
East-West University (Ill.) and the University of St. Francis (Ill.) will play the other game of the classic. The winners of the two games will play on Sunday, while the losers will play earlier in the day.
East-West University competes in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, while St. Francis is an NAIA Division II team.