The Lipscomb Bison finished the 2014-15 college basketball season fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference with an overall record of 14-17 (7-7). Heading into the 2015-16 season, however, Lipscomb returns some of their top talent and are legitimate contenders in the A-Sun.
Second leading scorer Malcolm Smith is gone, but leading scorer Josh Williams returns after averaging 16.9 points per game last season. In addition to Williams, the Bison return five other players who played at least 20 minutes per game last season. Experience is everything in college basketball, and that will start to show as this team gets into the bulk of their schedule.
One look at Lipscomb’s noticeably weak schedule shows that this team will likely only make the NCAA tournament by winning the conference tournament, which is already necessity for a team from the Atlantic Sun as it is. However, their weak schedule could lead to a fun season for the fans.
There is not a single “guaranteed” loss on Lipscomb’s non-conference schedule. Their most difficult game is a road contest with the South Carolina Gamecocks, who might be one of the worst teams in the SEC. Next to South Carolina, Lipscomb’s toughest opponent is their rivals from down the road, the Belmont Bruins. The Bruins are a legitimate tournament team in 2015-16, and it would please Lipscomb players and fans alike to be the team which keeps them from going to the Big Dance.
Their conference schedule is also fairly easy. The North Florida Ospreys are the favored team with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles right behind them. Next to those two teams, the Atlantic Sun isn’t exactly oozing with talent. The Bison stand a legitimate chance of finishing the season with close to 20 wins.
Lipscomb is arguably the third best team in the A-Sun, and anything can happen in the conference tournament. Watch out for Lipscomb around March, because they could be one of the first party crashers in the 2016 NCAA tournament.