January 15, 2013
The Hutchinson Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams made NJCAA history on Tuesday when the Blue Dragon men reached No. 1 in the latest Division I poll.
Hutchinson becomes the only school in NJCAA Division I basketball history to have both its men’s and women’s teams hold the No. 1 ranking in their respective polls at the same time, according to the NJCAA.
Last week, for the first time in HCC women’s program history, the Lady Dragons (17-0, 3-0 Jayhawk West), moved to No. 1 in the women’s Division I poll. Then on Wednesday, the door was opened for the Blue Dragon men to move into the top slot after former No. 1 Chipola lost at Northwest Florida State and HCC defeated Butler in El Dorado.
The Blue Dragons will next play on Wednesday night when Barton comes to the Sports Arena. The women’s game is at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s game against the No. 13 Cougars will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday is also the Blue Dragon Chili and Ice Cream Feed from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Sports Arena’s small gym.
Division I has had a couple of close calls to the same school holding both No. 1 spots.
In 2005, Western Nebraska had its men’s team and women’s teams ranked No. 1 within one week of each other. In 1990, the Connors State women were ranked No. 1 and its men’s team was No. 2 for several weeks, but both never reached No. 1 at the same time.
HCC head coach Steve Eck is the only coach in NJCAA history to take four different teams – Butler, Redlands, Cowley and Hutchinson – to No. 1 during a season.
This is the second time in three seasons that the Blue Dragons reached the No. 1 spot in the men’s poll. The 2010-11 Blue Dragons held the top spot for two weeks.
Before that, the last time that Hutchinson was ranked No. 1 in a regular season poll was on Jan. 7, 1992. The Blue Dragons – the starting point guard on that team was current HCC women’s coach John Ontjes – started that season 15-0 and spent one week in the nation’s top spot before getting bumped off. That team finished 22-7 and was Region VI runner-up.
The latest No. 1 national ranking is only the fourth since 1975 for the Blue Dragon men.
The 1974-75 Blue Dragons, coached by Dick Gisel, started their season 24-0. That Blue Dragon team finished 32-3, won the Jayhawk West and Region VI crowns and finished eighth in the 1975 NJCAA Tournament.
When Hutchinson won its national championships in 1988 and 1994, the Blue Dragons were ranked fifth and 10th, respectively, going into the NJCAA Tournament. The 1988 Blue Dragons climbed all the way to No. 2 during the season, but never reached No. 1.
The 2012-13 Blue Dragons are tied for the sixth-best start in team history at 17-0, starting the Jayhawk West season 3-0. HCC is one of five unbeaten teams remaining in Division I. Hutchinson garnered 13 of 15 first-place votes.
The new Top 5 is Hutchinson, Palm Beach State College, Iowa Western, Vincennes University and Spartanburg Methodist College. Coffeyville moves 1spot to No. 9. Barton suffered one defeat last week and slipped four spots to No. 13.
Chipola dropped to No. 7 in this week’s poll. Hutchinson is the third time this season to be ranked No. 1 in the men’s poll. Joining HCC and Chipola was preseason No. 1 South Plains College.
HCC has now been ranked in 10 consecutive NJCAA polls, dating back to last season.