BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
A lot of squads from Wyoming found early success in the first half of the 2011-2012 junior college men’s basketball season.
Teams like Sheridan College, Northwest College and Western Wyoming College either made (or are still in) the NJCAA’s top 25 poll or at least are getting votes for the list. There’s no question that junior college ball in the Cowboy State is extremely competitive right now. But things are about to get even more interesting. The first half of the season was dedicated to mostly playing out-of-state teams for Wyoming’s eight junior college squads. Now, that part of the season is over. Players have returned from the holiday break to a new level of intensity on the junior college hardwood. And it’s coming from within their own state.
Four teams from Wyoming found at least some sort of glory in the polls during the first half of the season. But now that those same squads are playing other teams in Wyoming, the almost perfect records are starting to become more blemished. In the NJCAA’s Jan. 10 poll, Northwest and Sheridan received votes to be in the top 20 while Western sat high and mighty in the No. 9 spot with an impressive 14-1 record. However, just eight days later, voters for the NJCAA’s top 20 frowned upon the Mustangs, ranking them No. 20 after the team suffered losses to Sheridan and Gillette College. Meanwhile, Northwest has also felt the strength of Wyoming’s teams after experiencing an early-season run. The Trappers didn’t receive any votes to be in the top 20 poll, losing their past two to Casper College (preseason top-20 team) and Montana’s Miles Community College of Miles City, Mont.
Yes, this part of the season is the best in Wyoming junior college hoops. There’s already starting to be some parody at the top and it seems like it could come down to the Region IX tournament before we actually find out who’s the best in the Cowboy State.
Now, here’s a look at the top five teams in Wyoming: