RIVERSIDE - After nine weeks, four teams remain unbeaten in California — and they continue to take up the top four slots in this week’s CCCMBCA Poll.
Fun fact, outside of California there are seven two-year colleges who are unbeaten — Mineral Area, MO (18-0); Caldwell Tech, NC (15-0); Dyersburg St. TN (14-0); Tyler, TX (12-0); Pearl River, MS (8-0); Temple, TX (15-0); Davidson, NC.
San Francisco remains the state’s top ranked team followed by Fullerton, Santiago Canyon and Columbia. Below is a look at this week’s Top 30 teams and what awaits each of them in the coming week(s). There are a number of key games over the course of the next two weeks as teams compete for a conference championship and the all important top regional seed, esnuring home court advantage.
1. San Francisco (14-0) — Winners of 14 straight, San Francisco has played just once in the last 18 days, but the Rams remain the No. 1 ranked team in the CCCMBCA poll. San Francisco will open Coast-North play on Wednesday when the Rams visit previously ranked Chabot. Chabot, previously No. 23 in the state ranking, fell out this week after suffering four losses in their last five games. San Francisco also hosts Skyline on Friday. Skyline has won its last two games, including a 57-54 upset of Butte.
2. Fullerton (14-0) — Anticipating is building for January 13 when the Hornets host No. 3 Santiago Canyon. But before we get there, Fullerton, winners of 14 straight, visit Golden West on Wednesday. It will be the Hornets’ only game this week. Next week will be a different story when OEC teams play Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Fullerton get Santiago Canyon on Monday, Orange Coast on Wednesday and Riverside on Friday. Obviously, Monday’s showdown against No. 3 Santiago Canyon at 6 pm is the game of the week. Note: Fullerton SID Phil Thurman is working on broadcasting Monday's game, we will keep you updated.
3. Santiago Canyon (15-0) — With 15 wins, Santiago Canyon leads the state in victories. Like Fullerton, the Hawks have just one game this week — on Friday at home against Golden West. The Hawks will have little time to prepare for Fullerton, since the OEC will play three games next week. Santiago Canyon gets Fullerton (on the road), Riverside (at home), and Santa Ana (on the road) — on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
4. Columbia (14-0) — Can Columbia snap Fresno City’s string of Central Valley Conference titles? Many of tried over the last 18 years. Fresno will put its string of 18 conference titles — a state and national record — on the line Wednesday. Columbia has beaten just one ranked opponent (Butte on November 23), yet has played the state’s 11th toughest schedule per the Massey Ranking. Columbia is one of three CVC teams in this week’s poll. Each of them is capable of winning the conference title. However, if Columbia is a threat to Fresno City’s dynasty, then then Claim Jumpers need a win in Fresno. Did we mention, the Rams are perfect at home this season.
5. East Los Angeles (14-1) — East LA has rebounded from its disappointing loss to Copper Mountain back on November 16. The Huskies have won 11 straight games and in doing so have climbed back into the state top 5 this week. East LA will spend the next two weeks playing teams from the other division of the South Coast. The best of the four is a home game against No. 26 on January 17.
6. Yuba (13-3) — Winners of six straight, Yuba moves up a slot this week. The 49’ers are the Bay Valley Conference defending champions and figure to host the trophy again in 2020. Mendocino and Los Medanos however have other ideas. Both begin the week ranked in the CCCMBCA rankings, Yuba has open 16-game conference schedule 4-0 and hosts Alameda before visiting No. 19 Mendocino on Friday.
7. Santa Monica (10-4) — Santa Monica returns to the top 10 this week. The Corsairs got as high as No. 2 in the state rankings, but a tough stretch (losing three of four) dropped Santa Monica to No. 18 in the state. They have slowly been making a move back up in the rankings. Santa Monica begins Western State-South this week. The Corsairs are one of four ranked teams from the division. Santa Monica hosts No. 27 Bakersfield on Wednesday and then travels to face a Canyons team that has been playing well of late. Last Saturday, Canyons beat Ventura in Ventura, and a week earlier Ventura had beaten Santa Monica in Ventura. This division will be far from a cakewalk for Santa Monica who are the favorites.
8. Sequoias (11-3) — Sequoias manages to move up this week, but we aren’t sure how long the Giants can remain in the top 10. One of two programs trying to wrestle the CVC title away from Fresno, winners of the last 18 conference championships. After hosting West Hills Coalinga on Wednesday, Sequoias plays host to Fresno City.
9. Allan Hancock (13-3) — Thanks a lot brother! Allan Hancock slides a spot after the Bulldogs fell to unranked San Jose City. San Jose is coached by Tyson Aye’s younger brother, Devin. That loss cost Tyson more than just family bragging rights. This week. Allan Hancock launches conference play with a road contest at Moorpark. You just can’t make this stuff up — Moorpark is riding two-game win streak, one being a 28-point route of — you guessed it San Jose. Moorpark also edged previous No 13 West LA, 85-84. After Moorpark, Allan Hancock visits Ventura, a team who has been inconsistent this season, but is dangerous when they are all on the same page.
10. Fresno City (11-3) — Fresno City slips a spot this week after suffering a surprising loss to Antelope Valley in the Clete Adelman Classic on January 2. The loss snapped a nine-game win streak. The Rams begin Central Valley Conference play on Wednesdays. The Rams will be trying to win their 19th consecutive CVC championship. They face off against No. 4 Columbia, one of two teams who figure to press Fresno City for the conference title, and then visits Sequoias, another team looking to unseat the Rams for the conference trophy.
11. Southwestern (11-4) — Southwestern falls out of the top 10 this week after suffering consecutive losses at the Cuyamaca Classic. One of the losses came against San Diego Miramar, an unranked team. The other was at the hands of No. 5 East LA. Southwestern quickly righted the ship when the Jaguars edged San Diego City, 91-85, in both teams’ conference opener. The Pacific Coast Conference appears to be a three-team race with Southwestern holding the upper hand at the moment. This week, Southwestern host MiraCosta and then visits Palomar, a team that is riding a nine-game win streak and could with the conference title with a couple of lucky bounces.
12. San Diego City (11-4) — San Diego City had its seven-game win streak snapped when Southwestern scored a 91-85 victory in both team’s Pacific Coast Conference opener. The loss means the Knights will need some help from Palomar, MiraCosta and San Diego Miramar when they take on Southwestern in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the Knights will get back in the saddle to take on Imperial Valley in Imperial on Wednesday, San Diego City’s only game this week.
13. Santa Rosa (11-4) — Outside of Santa Rosa, we don’t know who to say is a contender for the Big 8 Conference title. The young Cubs are no longer young. Santa Rosa features a roster with nine freshmen, but after winning 11 of 15 games the Cubs can no longer claim to be young. Santa Rosa is off to a 3-0 start in conference and are tied atop of the standings with 8-5 American River. This week, Santa Rosa figures to be tested with three games — home to Sacramento City (1-2, 10-5) onTuesday, San Joaquin Delta (2-1, 9-6) on Thursday and at Sierra (1-2, 4-11) on Saturday.
14. Redwoods (13-3) — Redwoods climbs four slots this week, despite being idle since December 14 when Corsairs won the Santa Rosa Tournament. Redwoods opens Golden Valley conference play against the other favorite for the conference title – No. 19 Butte on Saturday. It will be interesting to see what a nearly 30-day layoff looks like. Redwoods has won eight straight contests.
15. Los Angeles Valley (12-2) — LA Valley remains at No. 15 this week. A one-point loss to Ventura kept the Monarchs from making a move up the poll. LA Valley has won seven of its last eight headed into its Western State-South opener against Citrus. The Monarchs, who are 9-2 away from Van Nuys, play three of its first four games on the road, including at Glendale on Saturday. LA Valley figures to be in a battle with Bakersfield, West LA and Santa Monica for the conference crown and probably a high regional seed.
16. Mendocino (12-3) — Mendocino has won its four first conference games, keeping the pressure on Yuba for the conference crown. The Eagles visits Contra Costa on Wednesday before taking on Yuba on Friday in a key Bay Valley Conference contest. Mendocino goes into the week having won nine of its last 10 contests.
17. West Los Angeles (11-3) — West LA tumbles this week after suffering consecutive losses — both to unranked teams. This week, the Wildcats open conference play by hosting Glendale on Wednesday and visiting Antelope Valley on Saturday. After this week, West LA faces three ranked opponents as its tries to stay in the hunt for the conference crown.
18. Desert (11-4) — Desert climbs eight spots this week after opening Inland Empire Valley Conference play 3-0. One of those wins was a double overtime victory over previous No. 14 San Bernardino Valley. The Roadrunners are 5-1 in their last six games. In their only game this week, Desert hosts Barstow (Saturday).
19. Butte (10-6) — Butte falls three slots this week after losing three of its last four games, two to unranked programs. The Roadrunners open Golden Valley Conference play on the road against No. 14 Redwoods. It figures to be a game that helps decide the conference champion.
20. San Bernardino Valley (9-5) — San Bernardino Valley has lost three consecutive contests and four of its last five. The Wolverines have a lot of work to do to climb back into contention for the conference title. This week, the Wolverines are home for games against Copper Mountain and Palo Verde.
21. Saddleback (9-6) — Saddleback slips a spot this week after losing to Santiago Canyon to by 14 points in its only game last week. The Gauchos begin the week behind Santiago Canyon, Fullerton and Riverside — all of whom who are 3-0 to begin the week. Saddleback visits Orange Coast on Wednesday and then hosts Santa Ana before beginning a stretch of games against Riverside, Irvine Valley, Fullerton and a dangerous Cypress squad.
22. Las Positas (10-4) — Las Positas falls five spots this week. The Hawks have lost two of five games. Las Positas plays one more nonconference game — vs. Hartnell on Friday — before beginning Coast-North competition next week.
23. Palomar (11-3) — Palomar moves two spots this week as the Comets pushed their winning streak to nine games. Palomar plays three of its next four games at home, including games against Southwestern (January 10) and San Diego City (January 15). Both are keys games in the battle for the conference title.
24. Irvine Valley (11-3) — Stop the presses! Irvine Valley scored 100 points for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Since then the third light bulb on the scoreboard has been . . . well unneeded. Last time, Irvine Valley needed the third light bulb was when the Lasers defeated Sacramento City, 106-50, in the American River Tournament on November 29, 2007. Per IVC SID Brent Shaver, that 2007-08 team featured a number of Division I talents, including Fullerton College head coach Perry Webster, Jeff Ledbetter (G League and summer league with Spurs), Kashif Watson, La'Shard Anderson, Blake Wallace an and Bryce Webster, as well as Franklin Session (Drew League legend). In the win over Golden West, the Lasers saw each of the 13 players score. This week, IVC will need more of that scoring as they visit Santa Ana and then trek to Riverside on Friday.
25. Cerro Coso (12-2) — Cerro Coso tumbles this week after the Coyotes had their 12-game win streak snapped by (a good) unranked Mt. San Jacinto team on Saturday. Mt. San Jacinto, which is on a four-game win streak, begun the season ranked No. 7, but the Eagles lost 8 of their first 11 games to fall out of the top 30. Despite the loss, Cerro Coso remains in the discussion for an IEAC title. The race is shaping up to be a four-team race, five if you think San Bernardino (0-2 in conference) figures things out. This race, like the Orange Empire, Western State-South and the Central Valley could go down to the wire.
26. Long Beach City (9-4) — Long Beach City, winners of 4 of its last 5, moves up three slots this week. The Vikings, who has five nonconference games remaining, including tonight’s contest against Golden West, continue to improve. Three of the Vikings’ four losses have come against ranked opponents — by just 11 points. Long Beach City and Cerritos (8-7) figure to battle for the South Coast-South title. Cerritos began the season No. 16, and to date has played the state’s 12th toughest schedule. However, there is a difference between playing them and winning them. Regardless, this crown, as in previous seasons, appears to be between Long Beach and Cerritos.
27. Los Medanos (11-4) — Los Medanos’ title hopes took a hit on December 18 when the Mustangs fell, 79-76, at home to conference favorite Yuba. Los Medanos is far from out of the discussion of a conference title. However, the Mustangs do begin the week looking up at Mendocino and Yuba in the conference standings. Los Medanos is at Marin on Wednesday and then home on Friday to Alameda which begins the week tied with Los Medanos for third place. On January 24, Los Medanos gets another shot at Yuba.
28. Bakersfield (12-2) — Bakersfield has quietly won 12 of 14 games. The Renegades is one of six teams in the Western State-South with a record above .500. This race appears to be a four-team race however, Canyons has played well of late and we are never one to count out Citrus. Four teams — Santa Monica, LA Valley, West LA and Bakersfield – are ranked this week. Bakersfield is riding a six-game win streak. At the same time, the Renegades haven’t played a ranked opponent. But that will change on Wednesday when Bakersfield treks to No. 7 Santa Monica. The Corsairs figure to be the favorites going into the week for the conference title. So, Bakersfield gets its chance to let the state know that their 12-2 record isn’t a fluke and that the Renegades should be in the discussion for the conference title. Bakersfield also hosts Citrus on Saturday.
29. Chaffey (10-5) — Chaffey where have you been? The Panthers launched the season as the state’s No. 24 ranked team, but then Panthers went into hiding. Chaffey has emerged, winning its last four games, including impressive wins over West LA and San Bernardino Valley, both ranked opponents. The victories move Chaffey into the discussion for the IEAC title. This week is as critical as they come, though. The Panthers host No. 25 Cerro Coso on Wednesday and then welcome a hot Mt. San Jacinto club on Saturday. It is early, but this week could make, or break, Chaffey’s conference title hopes.
30. West Valley (9-6) — There were six teams that could have landed here, but after all the votes were tabulated, West Valley secured the final spot in this week’s poll. The Vikings, winners of 7 of their last 9, were unranked in the las poll after previous making an appearance at No. 24 in early December. West Valley is one of just two (Cabrillo) colleges from the Coast-South Conference who begin the week with a .500 record or better. At 9-6, West Valley appears to have emerged as the possible favorite for the division crown, although Cabrillo may have a say. The Vikings open conference play by hosting 5-11 Gavilan on Wednesday in their only game this week.
(Robert Schmidt, CCCMBCA)