Beginning Monday, June 21st,
2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the
nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the
opening day of the 2004-05 Season.
144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back
each day to see which team is previewed next.
#77 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers
2003-04: 20-11, 13-3, 1st
2003-04 postseason: NIT
By Adam Glatczak
Panthers followed up their first-ever NCAA Division I tourney appearance in
2003 with a solid 20-11 season and an NIT bid, but the year still ended on a
bittersweet note. UW-Milwaukee was looking like an NCAA at-large candidate
before dropping three of its last four regular season games and losing to
Illinois-Chicago at home in the HL championship game. Bruce Pearl has raised
this program to the point where postseason play is a legit goal every year,
though, and in a league with a lot of question marks the defending regular
season Horizon co-champs return as solid of a nucleus as any.
Who’s Out: Dylan Page was the best player in the HL last year but
will be playing pro ball this year in Greece. He was the Panther offense's
focal point and easily its most consistent performer, even while playing
much of the second half of the season with an ankle injury. Valuable
backcourt sub Kalombo Kadima and big man Nate Mielke also completed their
Who’s In: Chicago State transfer Derrick Wimmer is eligible and will
be in the fight for minutes in the backcourt. Wimmer had a nice freshman
year for the Cougars in 2002-03, scoring 10 points a game, but some will
point out that was on a 3-27 team. Six-foot-nine Rutgers transfer, Jason
McCoy, and 6-10 JC transfer, Derrick Ford, both are expected to contribute
and should give the Panthers needed size inside.
Who to Watch: Joah Tucker can be one of the best inside players in
the Horizon...when he stays out of foul trouble. Tucker spent too much time
on the bench last year, but when playing he is tough and skilled near the
basket, even at 6-5. Ed McCants is a smooth-shooting off guard who averaged
over 17 points/game last year. Point guard Chris Hill will be a key. Hill is
a jet, perfect for UWM's up-tempo game. He was the starter early last year
but was erratic, didn't shoot well and ended up sharing time with Kadima as
the season went on. Like the old teams of Iowa mentor Tom Davis, Pearl's
squads also have a number of role players, and this year's include Rob
Sanders, Mark Pancratz and Adrian Tigert. Tigert especially will be counted
on for toughness and rebounds inside.
Projected Conference Rank: Joel (CHN's Top 144 Guru) has the Panthers
picked 1st in a Horizon League that looks a little down this year. Many
teams in the league have questions, but the Panthers appear to have a few
less. The offense alone should be good enough to at least keep them at or
near the top, while improvement on defense will likely determine if UWM can
improve on last year's overall showing. The Panthers will always give up a
fair amount of points with their style, but there were more than a few times
last year when Pearl was unhappy with the team's ability to slow teams down.
Still, at this point the Panthers are as good a pick as any in the Horizon.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
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