ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Odessa College men’s basketball program has a rich history including conference nd region championships, national tournament appearances and producing NCAA and NBA players. The Wranglers have been to seven consecutive national tournaments and 12 in program history.

The only thing missing from Odessa College’s accolades is a national championship. The deepest the Wranglers have made it in program history is the final four.

“That’s kind of still the thing that drives me very day is I really really want to win a national championship for this college, for this school, and for the community,” Kris Baumann, Odessa College men’s basketball head coach, said.

The Wranglers spent the entirety of the season in the NJCAA top 10 rankings, spending a significant portion of the season in the top five nationally.

Odessa won 19 games straight between early November and early February this season. They had an impressive 15-1 conference record, winning their third straight Western Junior College Athletic Conference regular season championship.

Because of how strong of a season the Wranglers had, their loss in the Region V tournament did not hinder them getting a spot in the national tournament. Odessa earned one of very few at-large bids, earning the overall three-seed and a first round bye.

This Wrangler squad is hungry and have a very deep, experienced roster of players who have been to the NJCAA tournament before. Odessa’s roster features 12 sophomores, about half of which have played in the national tournament. That has also given this team a strong sense of togetherness which shows on the court.

“The way we all get along with each other and like how everybody is and the chemistry we have, I feel like that’s going to take us a long way,” Dontrell Hewlitt, Odessa College sophomore, said.

It was no mistake this team was put together the way it was, and this is exactly where Coach Baumann expected his team to be at this point in the season.

“When we put this team together, I thought we had a national championship team and I told them that the first time I met with them. I said, ‘You guys are champions and we’ve got to prove it everybody’,” Baumann said.

Three-seed Odessa College tips off its 12th NJCAA tournament run Wednesday at 6 p.m. against 14-seed Southeastern Community College from West Burlington, Iowa.

The Blackhawks won the Region XI championship as well as the North Central district championship to make the tournament. Southeastern went 25-8 this season.