The Motlow Bucks have been on the brink of reaching the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) basketball tournament for the past two years. With a strong nucleus of returning sophomores and redshirt freshmen, and a recruiting class with sterling credentials, this might just be the year for the Bucks to break through.
Head Coach Jerry Nichols enters every season with the goal of winning the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) tournament title and advancing to the national tournament. This season not only the tournament champion, but also the regular season champion, will advance to the national tournament. Nichols likes his teams’ chances.
“We don’t shy away from saying that winning our conference and playing in the NJCAA tournament is our goal at Motlow College,” said Nichols. “With the new format of the national tournament we are confident that we have the talent and experience to be both the regular season champions and win the state tournament.”
In past years the NJCAA tournament consisted of only the 16 tournament champions from its 16 regions across the country. Motlow plays in Region VII and has finished as tournament runner-up the past two seasons. In 2010-11 the Bucks won the regular season title, only to fall in the championship game to Chattanooga State. Last year Motlow lost a heartbreaking 56-53 decision to tournament champion Columbia State.
“The NJCAA has expanded its tournament to 24 teams now,” continued Nichols. “Four regular season region champions will be added as well as four wild card selections. Region VII is among the four regions that will send its regular season champion as well as its tournament champion to the national tournament this season. Those regions will rotate every season, but we were fortunate to be chosen in a random drawing to be one of the first four regions in this new format.
The Bucks will begin practice on October 1 and play their first game in early November. Motlow home basketball games are played at Copperweld Arena inside Nisbett Center on the Moore County campus. There is no admission charge.