Courier Sports Staff
The Indian Hills Community College basketball team will head into the new season with a No. 5 national ranking. The Warriors are coming off a 33-4 season and a seventh-place finish at the national tournament last year and return seven players, including two of the top three scorers, from that squad.
The preseason poll, released this week by the National Junior College Athletic Association, has the Warriors trailing only South Plains (Tex.) and Northwest Florida State, the two teams that played for the national title last year, as well as Howard (Tex.) and Chipola (Fla.).
Three teams that are on the Warriors’ regular season schedule are ranked in the preseason poll in either Division I or II. Conference foe Iowa Western is rated 20th in the DI poll; College of Southern Idaho, whom Indian Hills defeated in the national tourney in March, is seventh. The Warriors take a trip to Utah and Idaho next month, playing three games in five nights, and theyíll battle Southern Idaho in the final game of the trip on Nov. 24. CSI was 31-5 a year ago.
Kirkwood is the lone DII school the Warriors will play this year that is ranked in the preseason. The Eagles, who will provide the opposition for IHCC in the second game of the season in the Blackwell Tire Classic on Nov. 3, are seventh. Indian Hills will travel to Cedar Rapids for a rematch with Kirkwood on Dec. 4.
Indian Hills was rated ninth in the preseason last year and ended the season with the national tourney berth, the ninth in school history. They were ranked in the top 10 all season long and made it to the top of the ratings for one week in January after starting the season with 19 consecutive wins.
It’s the sixth time that IHCC has been in the top 10 in the preseason rankings since the 2000-01 season.
This year’s season opener is Nov. 2 at home against Carl Sandburg (Ill.). The Warriors will play 17 regular-season home games at the Hellyer Center, where they were a perfect 20-0 a year ago.
Fans can still purchase season tickets for the 2012-13 campaign. They are $102 each and available in the IHCC Athletic Office in the Hellyer Center.