CBT Men's Wheelchair Ranking's - January 2022
The intercollegiate men’s wheelchair basketball division consists of 12 teams. Although the college teams also compete against non-collegiate clubs throughout the year, only these dozen squads are eligible to win a national title in March.
Throughout the season, we will provide rankings that best capture how each team is performing. This is our second installment since the season has started. Some teams have surprised this season, others have disappointed, and a couple have yet to play a game but are expected to start up this month.
No team has played a game in over a month as the programs take off at the end of the semester for the holiday break. Tournaments will resume in the middle of January and take place up until the playoffs begin in March.
Let’s get to how the teams have performed in the latest CBT ranking.
1. University of Alabama
Alabama gets the edge for the top spot in the latest edition of the intercollegiate men’s wheelchair basketball rankings. This is mainly because of the sheer number of games Alabama has played compared to the rest of the division. The Crimson Tide sit in first place in the division standings with a 14-4 record, according to NWBA.org.
Alabama has impressive wins over Auburn, Eastern Washington, Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Arizona, among others. Although they did lose to Texas-Arlington and Illinois earlier on in the season, Alabama has faced by far the most challenging schedule and they have built an impressive resume through the early part of the season.
“We are really pleased with our season so far due to the fact that we’ve been improving every day,” Alabama assistant coach Sean Burns said. “The great thing about the league currently is that on any given day there are no easy wins. You have to go out and earn them due to how talented each team's rosters are.”
2. University of Texas-Arlington
Texas-Arlington continues to be the powerhouse in the division with a target on its back as the defending national champions. The Movin’ Mavs started the season as the No. 1 team in the rankings and they have just about lived up to expectations as they go for back-to-back titles. Texas-Arlington and Alabama are interchangeable as the top two teams in the division. Although the Movin’ Mavs were victorious over the Crimson Tide, Alabama has a more complete schedule to give them the edge, for now at least.
Texas-Arlington hosted an opening weekend tournament in which they went 3-0, including an impressive win over Arizona. There will be a plethora of opportunities to continue to prove itself the rest of the year and recapture the top spot in the division before the playoffs begin in March.
After an impressive and unexpected 4-0 start to the season, Illinois has come back down to Earth. At the University of Texas-Arlington tournament on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, Illinois went just 1-3, with two of those losses coming against the home team in UT-Arlington, leaving them with a 5-3 record at the holiday break.
While Illinois is still a competitive team in the conference, they have dropped since our previous ranking placed them at No. 2. The Fighting Illini will have many more chances to crawl back to the top as they face Auburn once and Alabama twice later this month.
4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The Warhawks have jumped one spot in the latest rankings. Their schedule has been one of the hardest in the division, as two of their losses this season have been to Alabama and Illinois, two of the top three teams in the division.
While Wisconsin-Whitewater cannot be considered a top team in the division just yet, they are starting to make the case. The Warhawks defeated Arizona and Southwest Minnesota State twice back in November. While they aren’t the same team that won three straight national titles from 2014-16, they are knocking on the door of the elite.
5. Auburn University
Auburn is off to a phenomenal start to the season. While the Tigers have yet to be crowned as national champion in the program’s existence, head coach Robb Taylor’s program is trending in the right direction and is close to joining the elite tier of the conference.
Auburn is 10-2 with many dominating wins of over 30 points. The Tigers two losses were to Alabama, who has proven to be a contender. While some of Auburn’s wins this season have not been against intercollegiate competition, they established they can compete with the top of the league, giving them a massive jump to No. 5 after falling to No. 8 in the November rankings.
6. University of Missouri
The Tigers started out at No. 3 in the preseason rankings but have not played a game this season due to roster issues. Because they have yet to showcase their talent and other teams have surprised this season, Missouri falls to No. 6 in the latest ranking.
Missouri is expected to begin playing games this semester and is supposed to host a tournament at the end of the month. When they do, they will have a chance to remind everyone that they belong in the conversation as one of the best teams in the conference.
7. Southwest Minnesota State
It has been a rough start to the season and the Mustangs continue to fall in our rankings. Starting the season at No. 5, they have slipped to No. 7. The Mustangs sit at just 3-5 with a January tournament on the horizon in the coming weeks. While they have been able to take care of lesser competition in the division such as Arizona and Edinboro, the Mustangs struggle mightily against the top teams in the conference, losing to Illinois, Alabama, and Wisconsin-Whitewater twice.
8. University of Arizona
Arizona has not played a game since our last rankings, which landed them at No. 7. Due to Auburn’s solid start to the season, the Tigers jumped the Wildcats this go around. The Wildcats remain at 5-5. While they split with Alabama, they did suffer losses to SMSU, Illinois, Wisconsin-Whitewater, and UT-Arlington.
9. Eastern Washington
Eastern Washington is off to a rough start and is hoping this long break can help them recalibrate and find their groove in the second semester. A program founded only a few years back in 2019, they have suffered some tough losses to both intercollegiate programs and lower-level teams. They lost handily to Arizona and Alabama, along with the Seattle Sonics and Team St. Luke’s DIII.
“Due to injuries and being a startup program, our numbers have been low and that has been a challenge,” head coach David Evjen said. “However, our team has still been able to really improve since we first started last season, with the biggest improvement being in our knowledge of the game, and each player’s confidence in fulfilling their role.”
Edinboro is another program that has struggled in the early tournaments. Edinboro played Southwest Minnesota State twice in a November tournament and lost each game by more than 50 points. It also has losses to non-intercollegiate competition such as the Wolverines and Detroit Pistons.
11. University of Nebraska-Omaha
Nebraska-Omaha has still not taken the court against an intercollegiate opponent this season, leaving them at the No. 11 spot where they were previously ranked. They are expected to host a tournament later this month, but it remains to be seen if that will go through. The Mavericks were winless in the 2019-20 season but hope they can improve this season if they end up playing.
12. CUNY (City University of New York)
While CUNY is in just its second season in the intercollegiate division, they have been able to muster up some wins at the lower level, including taking down the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 19 and the Nassau Kings on Dec. 3. While CUNY isn’t quite ready to compete with the established teams in the division, it's slowly building up its program and should get there soon enough.
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