PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The fifth-seeded University of Wisconsin-Platteville men's basketball team heads to second-seeded UW-Whitewater on Saturday Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship Game and the winner will receive the WIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.
THE MATCH UP
The Warhawks swept the Pioneers in the regular season. In the first meeting UW-Platteville fell 74-61 and 64-50 in the final meeting.
The last time the Pioneers and UWW met in the WIAC Tournament was in the 2009 semifinals. UW-Platteville came out on top in a 77-74-overtime victory. The Pioneers and Warhawks have never met in the finals.
- UW-Platteville is 1-2 in the finals and is now 6-8 in the quarterfinals and 4-3 in the semifinals.
- UW-Whitewater is 2-5 in the finals and is now 8-2 in the semifinals.
- The Pioneers are the first fifth-seed to make the finals.
- The last time the Pioneers won the WIAC tournament was in 1999.
- The last time UWW was in the finals was last year and the last time they won the tournament was in 2008 over UW-Stevens Point, 75-71.
- Since the WIAC Tournament inception in 1999 the lowest seed to win was the fourth-seed in 2003 and 2001.
- The lowest seed to make it the championship game was the sixth-seed in 2001 and 1999.
- Only four two-seeds have won the WIAC Tournament and the last was UW-River Falls last year.
SCOUTING THE WARHAWKS
UW-Whitewater is ranked ninth by D3hoops.com and has been ranked as high as second in early December. The Warhawks defeated UW-Stout in the semifinals, 64-59, to advance to their eighth title game in the 15 year tournament history.
The Warhawks rank in the top-50 in five team categories. UWW ranks 30th in turnover margin (3.6), 37th in scoring defense (61.3 ppg), 40th in field-goal percentage (47.3%), 47th in scoring margin (9.9) and 50th in turnovers per game (12.1 tpg).
UWW has four players averaging double figures and is led by Quardell Young with 12.1 points per game. Luke Knoble ranks second in the league with a .610 field goal percentage and averages 11.1 points per game with Darnell Harris. Eric Bryson rounds out UWW's double-digit scorers with 10.0 points per contest.
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
The Pioneers became the first five-seed to advance to the finals by defeating top-seeded UW-Stevens Point, 60-56, on Thursday in the WIAC Championship Semifinal on Bennett Court. Junior duo of Chas Cross and Eric Gerber combined for 34 of the Pioneers 60 points. Cross went 8-11 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc for a game-high 21 points and tallied a team-best five rebounds and three blocks. Gerber scored 13 points and dished out three assists. The Pioneers had eight players score with Cross and Gerber the only ones scoring in double figures. The Pioneers held UWSP to 37.7% shooting, who averaged 48.6% for the year.
The Pioneers defeated UW-La Crosse, 60-58, in the first round of the WIAC tournament on Tuesday in Mitchell Hall advancing to semifinals. Cross and sophomore Jim Stocki led the Pioneers with recording a double-double each. Cross scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. The Winnebago, Ill. native, hauled in nine offensive and five defensive boards. Stocki went 5-7 from the floor for 15 points and recorded 10 rebounds. The Pioneers post the second best defense in the league and seventh best in the nation by only allowing 57.2 points per game.
Cross leads the Pioneers and the WIAC in scoring (16.0 ppg.) and rebounding (8.3 rpg.). The Winnebago, Ill. native, ranks second in blocks (1.70 bpg.), fourth in field goal percentage (56.4%), and 10th in steals (1.30 spg.) in the league. He is three blocks away from breaking the program season record of 48.