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WIAC Men's Basketball Preview

10/29/2019, 5:30pm CDT
By WIAC

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the defending NCAA Division III champion, has been selected to win the 2020 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) men’s basketball title, according to a preseason poll conducted by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

The Titans established a program record with 29 victories a year ago and secured their first WIAC regular-season championship since the 2001-02 campaign – and 13th overall. UW-Oshkosh enters the 2019-20 campaign ranked No. 2 in the D3hoops.com Preseason Poll and welcomes back three starters from the 2018-19 squad, including senior center Jack Flynn and senior forward Adam Fravert. Flynn led the league with 188 field goals made and 120 free-throws made, while placing third with 8.2 rebounds per contest. His 15.5 points per game were second on the team. Fravert topped the conference with 61 blocked shots and led the Titans with 36 steals. He was second on the team with 7.9 rebounds per game and 103 assists, while ranking third with 14.8 points per contest.

Junior forward Connor Duax made 24 starts a season ago and contributed 9.5 points per game, while senior guard David Vlotho added 5.5 points per contest.

UW-Oshkosh is followed in the conference predictions by:  UW-Platteville; UW-La Crosse; UW-Stevens Point; UW-Whitewater; UW-River Falls; UW-Eau Claire; and UW-Stout.

UW-Platteville claimed the WIAC tournament title for the first time since 1999 a year ago and made the 12th NCAA appearance in program history. The Pioneers’ 42 combined wins the last two seasons is the best two-year stretch since the 2008 and 2009 squads also had 42 victories. Junior guard Quentin Shields led the WIAC with a .902 free-throw percentage (111-of-123) and distributed a team-best 91 assists, while finishing second with 13.9 points per game. Senior guard Carter Voelker was second on the team with 127 rebounds, 67 assists and 42 steals.

UW-La Crosse earned a bid into the NCAA championship for the first time since 2006 a season ago and produced the most wins (17) since the 2013-14 squad also had 17. Senior forward Terek Nesheim is the team’s leading returning scorer at 6.7 points per game. He also grabbed 57 rebounds and had 25 assists and 11 steals. Sophomore guard Ethan Anderson added 6.2 points per contest.

UW-Stevens Point reached the title game of the WIAC tournament last year for the 11th time in program history. Senior guard Ethan Bublitz had a team-best 5.0 rebounds per game and was second with 12.5 points per contest and 58 assists, while adding 28 steals.

UW-Whitewater has produced at least 22 wins in eight of the last 12 years. Senior forward Riley Jensen is the top returning scorer at 5.0 points per game and he blocked a team-high 19 shots a season ago. Head coach Pat Miller is 14 wins away from reaching 400 in his career. He would become the fourth coach in WIAC history to reach the milestone.

UW-River Falls senior forward Julian Jackson finished fifth in the league with 15.6 points per game and had a team-best 22 blocked shots, while finishing second with 164 rebounds (6.6 per contest). Senior guard Matt Keller contributed 10.8 points per game and made a team-high 47 three-point field goals, while junior guard Jack Stensgard added 9.9 points per game.

UW-Eau Claire welcomes back its leading scorer from a year ago in senior guard Cole Rabedeaux. He contributed 16.0 points per contest and grabbed a team-best 123 rebounds (4.7 per game), while adding 44 assists and 31 steals. The 16.0 points ranked second in the WIAC, while his .415 three-point field goal percentage (68-of-164) was third. Rabedeaux established a school record with 11 three-pointers made against Mt. Alyosious College (Pa.) on Dec. 30, 2018. It was also the second-highest single-game mark in conference history. Head coach Matt Siverling is eight victories away from reaching 100 with the Blugolds.

UW-Stout’s 2019-20 roster includes junior forward Jon Ciriack, who had a team-best 132 rebounds and .461 field goal percentage (94-of-204), while finishing third with 13.0 points per game. Junior guard Luke Geiger was second with 13.8 points per contest.

2019-20 Preseason Predictions--Voted on by WIAC Head Coaches and Sports Information Directors

                                                                2018-19 Record

1. UW-Oshkosh                                (29-3 overall, 13-1 WIAC)       2. UW-Platteville                              (18-11, 8-6)
3. UW-La Crosse                               (17-10, 10-4)
4. UW-Stevens Point                      (18-9, 8-6)
5. UW-Whitewater                          (17-9, 6-8)
6. UW-River Falls                              (11-14, 4-10)
7. UW-Eau Claire                              (14-12, 7-7)
8. UW-Stout                                       (6-19, 0-14)

Team Capsules

UW-Eau Claire

Head Coach:  Matt Siverling; 10th season (8th at UWEC); 121-113 (overall) / 92-89 (at UWEC)

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  7/4

Starters Returning/Lost:  2/3

Returning All-WIAC:  Cole Rabedeaux, Sr., G (2019-First)

Notable Returning Players:  Cameron Kuepers, Jr., G; Spencer Page, So., F; Blake Wacholz, Sr. G

UW-La Crosse

Head Coach:  Kent Dernbach; 4th season (3rd at UWL); 38-28 (overall) / 30-23 (at UWL)

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  8/9

Starters Returning/Lost:  1/4

Returning All-WIAC:  None

Notable Returning Players:  Ethan Anderson, So., G; Sam Burkart, Sr., G; Zac Haese, Sr., G; Terek Nesheim, Sr., F

UW-Oshkosh

Head Coach:  Matt Lewis; 2nd season; 29-3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  12/5

Starters Returning/Lost:  3/2

Returning All-WIAC:  Jack Flynn, Sr., C (2018-First, 2019-First); Adam Fravert, Sr., F (2018-Honorable, 2019-First, 2019-Defensive)

Notable Returning Players:  Connor Duax, Jr., F; Eric Peterson, So., G; David Vlotho, Sr., G

UW-Platteville

Head Coach:  Jeff Gard; 11th season at UWP; 157-111

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  14/4

Starters Returning/Lost:  3/2

Returning All-WIAC:  Quentin Shields, Jr., G (2018-Honorable); Carter Voelker, Sr., G (2018-Honorable, 2019-First)

Notable Returning Players:  Alex Ranney, Jr., G; Justin Stovall, Jr., F; Kyle Tuma, So., F

UW-River Falls

Head Coach:  Jeff Berkhof; 14th season at UWRF; 178-165

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  9/6

Starters Returning/Lost:  3/2

Returning All-WIAC:  Julian Jackson, Sr., F (2019-Honorable)

Notable Returning Players:  Ross Ingersoll, Jr., F; Matt Keller, Sr., G; Alex Ohde, Jr., F; Jack Stensgard, Jr., G

UW-Stevens Point

Head Coach:  Bob Semling; 15th season at UWSP; 301-89

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  9/7

Starters Returning/Lost:  1/4

Returning All-WIAC:  Ethan Bublitz, Sr., G (2017, 2017-Defensive, 2019-First)

Notable Returning Players:  Aaron Knez, Sr., G; Matt Koerner, Sr., F/C; Brandon Spray, Sr., F

UW-Stout

Head Coach:  Jim Lake; 2nd season at UWS; 6-19

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  10/8

Starters Returning/Lost:  3/2

Returning All-WIAC:  Jon Ciriack, Jr., F (2019-Honorable)

Notable Returning Players:  Brady Booth, Jr., F; Luke Geiger, Jr., G; Josh Mericle, Jr., G; Matt Newman, Sr., F

UW-Whitewater

Head Coach:  Pat Miller; 19th season at UWW; 386-123

Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  8/10

Starters Returning/Lost:  0/5

Returning All-WIAC:  None

Notable Returning Players:  Jack Brahm, So., F; David Grintjes, So., C; Riley Jensen, Sr., F; Finley Schumacher, So., F

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