Cinderella Madness: '04 Xavier vs '05 Milwaukee

    
February 27th, 2012

WhatIfSports.com and CollegeHoops.net have partnered up to bring you Cinderella Madness 2012. This college basketball simulation tournament features 16 of the most memorable Cinderella stories from the past eight seasons. We invited teams outside the BCS conferences, seeded 7th or lower that advanced to the Sweet 16 or beyond in their bracket to participate. Teams were seeded 1 through 16 and then simulated using WhatIfSports.com's award-winning college basketball simulation engine. Each match was "played" 501 times.

 

 

2003-04 Xavier vs 2004-05 UW Milwaukee

 

2003-04 Xavier: The Xavier program bristles at being called a "mid-major" and rightfully so as the program has been a part of the national landscape for quite some time. Thad Matta, who is now the head coach at Ohio State, had an outstanding group at his fingertips and they fell just short of the Final Four. Lionel Chalmers and Romain Sato led the way on the perimeter while Anthony Myles was their most dependable option inside. Justin Doellman was the big suited for the pick-and-pop game while Justin Cage was another banger in the paint. The Musketeers took out Louisville, Mississippi State and Texas before falling to Duke by three in the regional final.

2004-05 UW-Milwaukee: Bruce Pearl's final team at Milwaukee before he took the Tennessee job was his best, as the Panthers won 26 games and made their first-ever Sweet 16 appearance. Milwaukee won the Horizon League with a 14-2 mark thanks in large part to the play of Ed McCants and Joah Tucker. Boo Davis was the other starter averaging double figures for the Panthers, who entered the tournament on a nine-game win streak. Once in the Big Dance, Milwaukee scored 83 points in each of their first two games, wins over Alabama and Boston College. But they fell by a score of 73-63 to an Illinois team that would go on to the national title game.

Game Recap: Xavier 72 - Milwaukee 70 (Boxscore)

Considering the coaching success Matta and Pearl enjoyed following their tenures at Xavier and Milwaukee, it's no surprise this game came down to a tale of two halves.

The Musketeers' 16-point lead at the break is a bit deceiving when you consider the Panthers only trailed by five just four minutes earlier. Led by Sato and Cage, Xavier ripped off a 12-1 run to finish out the first 20 minutes.

Unfortunately for X, their hot hands didn't carry over to the second stanza. The Panthers outscored their first-round opponent 23-6, obliterating the deficit and taking a 52-51 lead with a little more than 10 minutes remaining.

Both teams dealt with long scoring droughts the rest of the way, but the Musketeers managed to open up a seven point lead with less than 60 seconds to play after Justin Doellman connected on a turnaround jumper from the block.

Chucks from the charity stripe put this game away. Xavier survived and advanced 73-71.

Player of the game: Romain Sato (16 points, 9 rebounds)

Winning Percentage of 501 Simulations: '04 Xavier 58.9% - '05 UW-Milwaukee 41.1%

 

More Cinderalla Madness with the complete bracket.