TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 1, 2018) – Tallahassee Community College's women's basketball team will enter the 2018-19 season with a No. 5 national ranking.
The NJCAA released its preseason poll on Monday.
The No. 5 ranking marks the highest preseason ranking in school history and is just one spot below the Eagles' all-time high – No. 4, established during last year's run to the national championship.
Familiar names surround Tallahassee in the preseason poll.
Panhandle Conference rivals Northwest Florida State College and Gulf Coast State College are Nos. 2 and No. 3, respectively, while Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College is No. 4. The Eagles beat all three teams during their championship run in Lubbock, Texas, in March, culminating with a 69-51 win over Trinity Valley in the championship game.
Chipola College is ranked seventh, giving the Panhandle Conference four teams in the top seven, and Pensacola State College is 25th. A sixth Region 8 school, Florida SouthWestern State College, is ranked 12th.
The Region 8 Preseason Coaches' Polls were released last week and followed a similar pattern.
Northwest Florida State and Gulf Coast State were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, while Tallahassee and Chipola were tied for No. 3. Florida SouthWestern is No. 5 and Pensacola State, No. 6.
The NJCAA also has its own RPI-type ratings system – the Massey Ratings. While not officially sanctioned or recognized by the NJCAA, it has become an increasingly popular resource among two-year schools for a couple of reasons. First, it accounts for a team's strength of schedule against other NJCAA opponents; and, the Massey Ratings was one of the computer rankings utilized during NCAA football's BCS Era.
Massey's ranks Tallahassee No. 2 in its preseason poll, and the Eagles currently have the third-toughest schedule in the country, due almost entirely to all five Panhandle schools being ranked in the top 14.
In the Region 8 Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll, Tallahassee garnered a No. 5 ranking but failed to crack the NJCAA poll. The top four teams in Region 8 earned a preseason national ranking, including Daytona State College, who will travel to Tallahassee on Tuesday for an early-season showdown.
The Falcons are No. 4 in the Region 8 poll and No. 18 in the NJCAA poll.
Northwest Florida State, the national preseason No. 1, Eastern Florida State College and Florida SouthWestern, are Nos. 1-3, in Region 8.
While Tallahassee didn't crack the NJCAA's rankings, it did earn a No. 16 preseason mark from Street & Smith's Magazine and Basketball Times.
Spearheaded by veteran college basketball sportswriter Tony Jimenez, Street & Smith's season preview also listed the Eagles' Eric Boone as one of the country's Five Fabulous Freshmen. Boone, a 6-foot-2 guard, is from Bryan Station High School in Lexington, Ky.
Jimenez, who is also a regular contributor to Basketball Times, released his Top 25 JUCO Coaches during the preseason and ranked Tallahassee's Mark White at No. 13.
White is entering his fourth season with the Eagles.
The Eagle men and women will open the season at home as part of the Seals Financial Tip-off Classic, Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3.