MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) – The Chipola Men’s basketball team enters as the NJCAA’s No. 11 ranked team, with national championship expectations.

The Indians are coming off a 29-5 season that would be considered a success to most, but it was not in their eyes.

They spent much of the 2022-2023 season ranked No. 1 in the nation but fell in the second round of the NJCAA Tournament.

Chipola is only returning two players from the season prior who saw the court, bringing in a large recruitment class that features five Division One transfers.

Chipola Head Coach Donnie Tyndal said his 2022-2023 team was incredibly talented but lacked physicality, which is where he spent most of his attention in the off-season recruitment process.

“Especially once you get into Panhandle Conference play and then if you’re fortunate enough to get to the national tournament, you’re playing against some grown men,” Tyndall said. “And I thought last year we had some long athletic guys but didn’t have the physicality and girth we maybe needed. And so I think that that need was addressed in recruiting.”

As Tyndal enters his fourth year leading the program, his promise to bring Chipola and Marianna a national title still looms large over his head.

His teams have won at least a share of the Panhandle Conference in each of the past three seasons, but he said if he’s not ending the season with a win, it’s a failure in his eyes.

“I think there’s probably no one in the coaching profession that puts more pressure on themselves to do well than me,” Tyndall said. “But, you know, we’ve won about 86, 88% of our games since I’ve been here and I think we should be undefeated and upset and mad that we’re not. You know, someone asked me the other day, ‘What’s your home record since you’ve been here?’ It’s 46-2 but I can remember those two losses like they were yesterday.”

Coach Tyndall and the Indians will begin their regular season at home on Thursday, November 2, as they host Reid State Technical College.