NJCAA Poll Update
As expected, there were several changes to the first weekly NJCAA D1 Basketball Poll released today. Six newcomers were added to the list this week after solid performances in the first two weeks of action. Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa (19), Eastern Florida (20), Triton (22), Mineral Area (23), Olney Central (24), and Northeast Mississippi (25) made their poll debuts following hot starts and several upsets around the country. We mentioned Tonkawa last week after narrowly losing to #2 South Plains at the Elite 8 in Oklahoma, and the Mavericks followed that up with an upset of then #7 Midland. The top 3 remained solid and undefeated, with Northwest Florida (1), South Plains (2), and Odessa (3) holding strong. Barton was the biggest beneficiary, jumping 10 spots from #19 to #9 after a 5-0 start, followed by Daytona, which leaped from #22 to #13. Indian Hills and Lee both moved up 7 spots to #7 and #17, respectively.
Big Week Ahead
Some elite matchups are on deck for this week, with Indian Hills taking on the challenge of playing on the road at #1 Northwest Florida (8:30 p.m. Tue) and continuing on to play #5 Vincennes on their Homecoming (7:00 p.m. Sat). Poll newcomer Mineral Area will travel to Carterville, IL, to take on John A Logan, where the Volunteers will try to avenge an opening-night defeat (89-60) to the Cardinals that saw them exit the polls after starting out at #4 before going 1-3. #21 College of Southern Idaho will travel to Texas to play three games in the Odessa Wrangler Classic, where they will face #3 Odessa (8:00 pm Thu) & #10 Midland (6:00 pm Fri). #4 Salt Lake travels to Fort Myers, FL, for two games this week, facing #20 Eastern Florida (5:00 pm Thu) & RV host Florida Southwestern (7:00 pm Fri). Two newcomers will face each other in the Imo’s Bob Sechrest Classic, with #23 Mineral Area hosting #25 Northeast Mississippi (6:00 pm Sat).
Jayhawk Starts Conference Play
This marks the third season since the KJCCC moved to a true round-robin format with the 13-team league playing 24 conference games throughout the year. On Saturday, November 18th, six Jayhawk games will tip off what will be a year-long gauntlet, with several teams eyeing spots in the NJCAA tournament hosted in Hutchinson. #9 Barton & RV Cloud County are the two undefeated teams up to this point, with Cowley County, Hutchinson, and Butler each having one loss apiece. Overall, the Jayhawk has five of its 13 members represented in the first week's NJCAA Division 1 poll + receiving votes.
Dallas Northlake, a Division 3 member of the Dallas Athletic Conference led by head coach Josh Mills, has had no fear in scheduling some of the top Division 1 teams to start the year off. The Blazers are ranked #4 in this week's edition of the NJCAA Division 3 polls after picking up wins at Three Rivers and Navarro to start the season. Northlake dropped a 99-75 decision to Mineral Area and lost by 3 to Blinn on November 10th. This week they will travel to Levelland, TX, to participate in the Texan Classic where they will face RV Clarendon (6:15 p.m. Friday) and #2 South Plains (3:00 p.m. Saturday). The Blazers are led by 6’4 So Jakob Zenon, who is averaging 21.8ppg on 49% shooting from 3pt land (7.5 attempts/pg).
Congrats are in order to a couple of longtime successful junior college coaches who picked up milestone victories this past week. Coach John Sparks of Shawnee Community College picked up win #300 on Tuesday in his 21st year at the helm of the Saints program. They are off to their best start since the 2013-14 season at 4-0. On Saturday, Coach Stu Engen from North Dakota State College of Science picked up win #600 in his career vs Jamestown JV. Coach Engen has spent over a decade in Wahpeton, ND, and has the Wildcats off to a 4-1 start this season.