Forty minutes of basketball, is all that is left to see if the UWM Panthers Men's Basketball Team will be extending their season, and participating in March Madness in 2014.
The Panthers will be trying to make the "Big Dance" for the fourth time in their school's history Tuesday night (3/11/14) when they take on Wright State University on the Raider's home court - The Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. UWM's head coach Rob Jeter is in his 9th season at the helm, and has led his team to 17 -13 record overall, 7-9 in the conference, and 4-4 away from the home during the regular season.
Jeter's team, that will graduate 5 seniors this season (Jordan Aaron, Kyle Kelm, Quinton Gustavson, Mitch Roelke, and Thieno Niang) became the first 5 seed to reach the Championship game in the history of the Horizon League Tournament. Wright State this year's 3 seed who also finished the season in third place was last year's Horizon League Tournament Champion (they were also a 3 seed last year).
The two teams split their regular season meetings, with the Panthers losing in Dayton 57-73 (1-21-14) and then one week later winning at home 68-64 (1-30-14 at The Klotsche Center)
UWM on the season averaged 71 points per game, and allowed on average 70.7 points by their opponents. The Panthers have ampted it up in the tournament which would lead one to believe they... shall I dare say... are "peaking?" In their three games in this year's tournament they are averaging 76.6 ppg (points per game), and allowing an average of 65.3 points by the opposition.
(UWM head coach Rob Jeter on his team going into the Horizon League Tournament Championship -Courtsy of uwmpanthers.com)
The Raiders ppg during the regular season average was 67.5 while only allowing 62.1 ppg. As far as their tournament run, they stepped it up offensively, bumping their average to 69.5 in their two games, while loosening up their defense to an average of 65 points per game. The Raiders also saw a ten point lead, change 4 times in their semi-final game against the #2 seeded Cleveland State Vikings Saturday night
If the Panthers are going to get their NCAA Tournament ticket punched for only the 4th time in the school history (2003, '04, & '06) they are going to need a big game from their big names, and be able to adjust on the fly, because as we all know it's "one and done" in March.
Fans interested in making the trip down to Dayton for the game Tuesday for the 6 pm tip should click on the following link for more information.
There will also be a viewing party at Major Goolsbys for fans that won't be making the trip.
The game can be seen on ESPN at 6pm CST or heard on our sister station Newstalk1130 WISN (pre-game at 5:45pm CST).