TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 1, 2016) – With the non-conference schedule in the rearview mirror, it's on to Panhandle Conference play for Tallahassee Community College's men's and women's basketball teams, and the Eagles will open the 2016 PC slate at home on Saturday when it hosts Pensacola State College.
The doubleheader tips off at 5:30 p.m. eastern with women's action followed by the men's game at approximately 7:30 p.m. Both games can be seen live online at TCCeagles.com.
General admission is $5. TCC students, faculty and staff receive free admission with a valid TCC ID.
In the opener, Tallahassee (11-6) will look to get back on track after dropping its final three non-conference games. Despite battling injuries all season, the Eagles put together an eight-game winning streak to crack the NJCAA rankings in mid-December. And even during the current losing streak, Tallahassee's margins of defeat have been four, one (at the buzzer) and seven – the last a 94-87 loss at NJCAA No. 7 Daytona State College on Wednesday, a team it beat at home in November.
Twelve games remain for Tallahassee, who hasn't advanced to the postseason since 2010 when it lost in the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Championship Game. To end the drought, the Eagles must finish in the top three of the PC standings – and as always, it won't be easy.
Currently at No. 21, Tallahassee is one of four PC schools ranked nationally. Gulf Coast State College leads the pack at No. 3 followed by defending national champion and No. 6 Chipola College and No. 10 Northwest Florida State College. And with three games coming against each league opponent, a fast start is a must.
Tallahassee won its first three PC games a year ago but dropped eight of its last ten, including a playoff game against Gulf Coast State to miss out on the trip to March Madness.
The Eagles swept the 2015 season series with Pensacola State (11-7), who has lost two straight entering Saturday's game, and has won eight of the last nine meetings with the Pirates.
In Saturday's nightcap, Tallahassee (11-7) is aiming for its first 1-0 start in league play since 2011 and, not coincidentally, that's the last time the Eagle men advanced to the postseason. That year, Tallahassee won the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Championship and moved on to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., where it was joined by 15 other schools, including an East Mississippi Community College squad guided by head coach Mark White. Yes, that Mark White.
Now, five years later, White, in his first season with the Eagles, is set to make his PC head coaching debut.
The non-conference schedule, one of the nation's toughest, had its ups and downs for Tallahassee – a 7-2 start followed by five straight losses and, most recently, a four-game winning streak to enter league play at 11-7.
Like the women, the Eagle men have been bitten by the injury bug during the first two months of the season. As a result, Tallahassee has played only one game with a full complement of players. Still, the Eagles have been in every game – six of the seven losses have been single-digits and the remaining loss was by ten points.
But all seven losses have come on the road. Inside the friendly confines of the Bill Hebrock Eagledome, Tallahassee has looked dominant en route to a perfect 6-0 record, outscoring its opponents, on average, by 36.3 points per game.
In a bit of an odd twist, Saturday's game will feature not one but two teams who are undefeated in the Eagledome this season. Pensacola State (8-6) picked up a pair of wins earlier this week during the Tallahassee Democrat Holiday Classic – a three-point overtime win (75-72) against Central Georgia Technical College and a 74-73 win over Shelton (Ala.) State Community College.
While Tallahassee is in the midst of a postseason drought, Pensacola State is aiming for its third straight trip to the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Tournament. Once again, a 12-game league schedule is on horizon, and the top two teams will advance to the postseason.
The NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will be held in Ocala, Fla., March 2-5.
Tallahassee vs. Pensacola State Women's capsule
- Tipoff: 5:30 p.m.
- Broadcast Info: Streamed live on TCCeagles.com
- Records: Tallahassee (11-6), Pensacola State (11-7)
- Rankings: Tallahassee (FCSAA No. 5, NJCAA No. 21), Pensacola State (FCSAA No. 9)
- Head-to-Head: Tallahassee leads the all-time series, 40-27
- In Tallahassee: Tallahassee leads 21-11
- Current streak: Tallahassee has won three in a row (eight of nine)
Tallahassee vs. Pensacola State Men's Capsule
- Tipoff: 7:30 p.m.
- Broadcast Info: Streamed live on TCCeagles.com
- Records: Tallahassee (11-7), Pensacola State (8-6)
- Rankings: Tallahassee (NR), Pensacola State (NR)
- Head-to-Head: Tallahassee leads the all-time series, 43-29
- In Tallahassee: Tallahassee leads 24-12 (Pensacola State has won four in a row)
- Current streak: Pensacola State has won two in a row (five of six, seven of nine, nine of 12)