Thursday night at 7 in Allen Arena the Bisons will welcome Trevecca Nazarene, an old foe and major rival from the TranSouth Conference.
“I only played Trevecca one time and that was the first season I was here,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “I’ve been told many times that the rivalry with Trevecca was bigger than the rivalry with Belmont back in the day. I don’t know that, but I have been told that.
“Playing an inner-city rival will be good for our fans. It will be good for us to get out under the lights with people in the stands with the popcorn popping and the soft drinks fizzing.”
Sanderson’s Bisons enter the season as the overwhelming choice to win the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season and tournament championships and make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
But in the first week of November Sanderson still rates his team as a work in progress.
“There is no team that is going to be at the top of its game in November,” Sanderson said. “We want to be able to compete in February and March.
“We have three new guys who are going to figure into the mix. It takes time to get them used to playing with Adnan Hodzic and Josh Slater.”
Sanderson admits he likes where his team is at this stage of the preseason despite several areas he thinks need improvement.
“We are a little further ahead than we have been at this stage in years past,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson likes the overall depth of the team which has been bolstered by freshmen Robert Boyd and Damarius Smith and redshirt freshman Brandon Barnes. Carter Sanderson is another freshman, but he is going to redshirt this season.
“There is a lot of competition for a lot of spots,” Sanderson said. “We have seven or eight guys who are good enough and are capable of starting for us.
“That being said we might rotate guys based on who we are playing as far as the starting lineup is concerned. Our players can’t get hung up on who starts games. We have to get hung up on competing, playing hard, playing smart and playing together.”
Sanderson likes working with a seven or eight man rotation.
“It is hard to play nine or 10 guys regularly,” Sanderson said. “You might be able to do it some in preseason, but during the regular season you want your rotation to be shorter.
“There are some guys who might be on the outside looking in. But they are right there. They are not looking in from afar.”
The Bisons will open the regular season Nov. 12 at the University of North Carolina.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.