UAFS Opens Season With Top 20 Teams

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) - To be the best you have to beat the best.

That line might have been made famous by legendary wrestler Ric Flair but it's an approach that the UA-Fort Smith Lions are taking to the 2014-15 season.

Coming off the first NCAA tournament appearance in school history, the Lions are taking on more than a handful of tournament teams and it starts with a weekend trip to Denver that pits UAFS against two top-20 ranked teams.

UAFS will face No. 17 Colorado-Colorado Springs on Friday in Denver and then will face No. 3 Metro State on Saturday. Metro State has three straight elite eight appearances in the Division II tournament, including back to back trips to the national championship game in 2012 and 2013.

"When we transitioned from a junior college we wanted to be a perennial top 25 Division II program and I think we're getting closer," UAFS coach Josh Newman said.  This right here, this weekend will determine or help us figure out if we're that close."

UAFS is coming off their first ever win over a Division I opponent as they took down Southern Utah 73-72 over the weekend in exhibition play.

The Lions travel to defending national champion Central Missouri on Nov. 29, the team that knocked Metro State out of the tournament last spring.

"Coach (Newman) is trying to set it up to be great," UAFS forward Miha Glavas said. "Beat two ranked teams to start off the year, that would put us on the map. I think it's a great way to start the season."