TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 1, 2017) – The NJCAA’s 2017-18 basketball season tips off Wednesday and while Tallahassee Community College’s season openers aren’t until Friday, both the Eagle men and women have made a splash in various preseason polls.
Most notably, the NJCAA polls were released last Thursday with the Eagle women earning a No. 7 preseason ranking while the men will start the new season ranked 13th. It’s only the third time in school history – and the first since 2007 – that both teams open the season ranked by the NJCAA but is far and away the best combined preseason rankings for the teams.
In 2007, when the NJCAA still released a preseason Top 30, the men were ranked 24th and the women 27th. In 1999, the men opened with a gaudy No. 2 ranking but the women were 28th.
For the Eagle women, the No. 7 ranking is their highest preseason ranking in school history. It also marks the highest NJCAA ranking under head coach Franqua Bedell and is the highest for the program since a No. 7 ranking on January 28, 1997. One week prior, on January 21, 1997, Tallahassee was ranked No. 6.
Meanwhile, Mark White’s men’s squad received a preseason ranking from the NJCAA for the second straight year, this year opening at No. 13, the highest preseason ranking since No. 7 in 2009. After opening last season at No. 19, the Eagles climbed as high as No. 6.
Both teams are surrounded in the polls by plenty of familiar foes. The Tallahassee women are one of five Region 8 schools – and four from the Panhandle Conference – in the preseason Top 25. Two-time defending national champion Gulf Coast State College opens the season at No. 1 while Chipola College is ranked fourth. The fourth PC school, Northwest Florida State College is No. 16 and Florida SouthWestern State College is 19th.
The men’s poll finds three Region 8 teams ahead of Tallahassee – No. 2 Northwest Florida State, No. 5 Eastern Florida State College and No. 11 Chipola. Florida SouthWestern is ranked 15th.
The NJCAA rankings accurately foreshadowed the Eagles’ place in the NJCAA Region 8 Coaches’ Polls, released on Monday.
The women open the season ranked third behind Gulf Coast State and Chipola while the men are No. 4 behind Northwest Florida State, Eastern Florida State and Chipola.
No fewer than three additional national media outlets have ranked the Tallahassee men among the nation’s best.
In Street & Smith’s magazine, the Eagles are ranked No. 5 while JUCO Advocate, a national recruiting service, ranked Tallahassee 14th.
Massey Ratings, perhaps best known for its work in college football as one of the computers used in the now-defunct BCS, provides an RPI-like rating for NJCAA teams – and the computers love the Eagles.
According to Massey, the Tallahassee men are No. 8 while the women are No. 3.