Butler Grizzlies women's basketball picked to win conference; men picked to finish third in preseason poll

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Mekayla Furman will be one of the leaders on this year's Butler women's team.

The KJCCC rankings for the upcoming basketball season were released and for the Butler Grizzlies men's and women's teams, the rankings were very kind to them. 

The Butler women come in as the favorite to win the league once again. They've been the dominant force over the last few years, winning multiple league titles, whether it be the regular season or in the Region VI tournament. 

Under Mike Helmer, the Grizzlies have ascended to the one of the best NJCAA programs in the nation and the outlook heading into the 2021-22 season is no different. They are also ranked No. 17 in the first preseason poll of the season by the NJCAA.

Last season, Butler marched to their third straight NJCAA tournament appearance and if it wasn't for a tragic injury, the Grizzlies could have done some damage. They finished the season 20-4 on the year and were 18-2 in conference. 

The Grizzlies return five players from last year's team.

21st-ranked Hutchinson is picked second in the league and Independence, who came on strong at the end to stun everyone and get to the NJCAA tournament, is picked third. 

Seward County and their barrage of shooters is fourth and Coffeyville, who always gives Butler a tough fight, is fifth. 

Cowley was picked sixth. Then it was Dodge City, Cloud, Garden City, Colby, Pratt and Northwest Kansas Tech to round out the coaches predictions.

This season there will be no directional divisions. One big super conference, which provides an easy of scheduling as teams will play each other twice. Two teams that you will not see on the schedule as much anymore is Neosho County and Allen as they have dropped down to NJCAA Division II. 

Butler men picked third

Going into his third year at Butler, head coach Kyle Fisher has the Grizzlies in prime position to compete for a conference championship and the coaches think so, too. His Grizzlies were picked third in the conference in the annual preseason coaches order of prediction. 

Butler returns four players off last year's roster that saw significant playing time and welcomes back Marque English, who played for Butler two seasons ago before transferring to a Division I team. He's back after getting a free year due to COVID-19. 

Without revealing too much and spoiling the Butler County Times-Gazette annual KJCCC Preview, one coach in the conference said Butler may be as deep as they've been in the last decade. 

Last season, the Grizzlies went 16-7 and finished third in the east division. 

Coffeyville, the defending national champions are the favorites to win it again. Dodge City, who has a handful of Div. 1 transfers is picked second above Butler.

National runner-up Cowley under a new head coach is eighth. Hutchinson under former Cowley coach, Tommy DeSalme, is picked fifth. Barton, Pratt, Cloud County and Northwest Kansas Tech round out the bottom of the league. 

Women's KJCCC
Men's KJCCC

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.