Titans visit defending conference champion in men’s basketball opener

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The UW Oshkosh men’s basketball team opens the 2020-21 season at UW-Platteville today. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Platteville.

The Titans then conduct their home opener at 7 p.m. Friday against UW-Platteville in Kolf Sports Center as part of an eight-game regular season schedule exclusively against Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents.

This season the WIAC will feature two divisions. Each team will play home and away series versus the three other rivals in its division and a home and away crossover series against a team from the other division. The WIAC East Division is comprised of UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater while UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls and UW-Stout make up the West Division.

UW Oshkosh plays UW-Whitewater at home Feb. 10 and on the road Feb. 12. The Titans conclude divisional play against UW-Stevens Point with a road game Feb. 17 and a home contest Feb. 19 before wrapping up the regular season with a crossover series versus UW-Eau Claire on Feb. 24 (away) and Feb. 26 (home).

All eight teams will take part in the WIAC Championship that begins March 1, continues with semifinals March 3 and concludes with the title game March 5. The WIAC Championship winner will receive the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship that is set to commence March 11.

UW Oshkosh, the defending WIAC tournament champion, is seeking its sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason. The Titans, who produced a 20-9 record last season, reached the second round of the 2020 Division III Championship after winning the program’s first national title in 2019 and finishing as the Division III runners-up in 2018.

Third-year head coach Matt Lewis, who has compiled a 49-12 record at UW Oshkosh, brings back three starters from last season’s team in senior guard Eddie Muench, junior guard Eric Peterson and sophomore forward Levi Borchert and 10 previous letterwinners overall.

Junior guard JT Petrie and sophomore guard Will Mahoney also return for the Titans after starting at least eight games a year ago while senior guard Tommy McGlynn, junior forwards Tommy Borta and Sam Fredrickson, sophomore forward Nick Otto and sophomore guard Quinn Steckbauer have all earned letters.

Mahoney is the top returning scorer, ranking third on the team at 10.6 points per game last season. Muench scored 9.8 points per contest last year while Borchert averaged 9.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and shot 65.1 percent from the field on the way to being named D3hoops.com Division III Central Region Rookie of the Year and WIAC Newcomer of the Year.

Peterson contributed 7.4 points per game last year and led the squad with 35 steals.

UW-Platteville (23-5 record overall last season) is the reigning WIAC regular season champion, concluding the year with a 12-2 league mark. UW Oshkosh finished second in the conference standings at 11-3 followed by UW-La Crosse (21-6) in third at 9-5, UW-Eau Claire (20-10) fourth at 8-6, UW-Stevens Point (15-11) fifth at 7-7, UW-River Falls (12-14) sixth at 5-9, and UW-Stout (6-19) and UW-Whitewater (7-18) seventh at 2-12.

UW Oshkosh went on to win last year’s WIAC tournament title with a 78-72 home victory over UW-Eau Claire in the championship game.

UW-Eau Claire and UW-Platteville, which both earned at-large bids to the 2020 Division III Championship, concluded their NCAA postseason runs in the second round.

Spectators will not be allowed at WIAC events during the winter sports season. All contests will be conducted in accordance with NCAA Division III regulations, as well as institutional, state and local health and safety guidelines.

All UW-Oshkosh men’s basketball games will be streamed live online. The links will be posted on the UW-Oshkosh men’s basketball schedule page when available.