UW-Oshkosh will attempt to stay among the leaders in the WIAC men's basketball standings when it hosts nationally ranked UW-Whitewater on Wednesday (Jan. 18). The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Whitewater (12-3, 1-3 WIAC) enters the contest ranked 25th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com. The Warhawks were ranked as high as 11th in the nation before they opened league play with three straight losses. UW-Whitewater picked up its first league win, 68-66, at home over UW-Platteville (7-8, 0-4 WIAC) on Saturday (Jan. 14).
UW-Oshkosh (10-5, 3-1 WIAC), predicted to win the conference championship in a preseason poll conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors, is one game behind fifth-ranked UW-River Falls (14-1, 4-0 WIAC) with 10 games remaining.
UW-Whitewater enters Wednesday's matchup leading the WIAC with 84.1 points per game while UW-Oshkosh has the league's top scoring defense at 64.2 points per contest.
The Titans have won each of their three league road games, including a 70-62 decision at then-10th-ranked UW-Eau Claire (12-3, 2-2 WIAC) on Saturday. UW-Oshkosh also secured its third straight road wins at both UW-Platteville and UW-Stevens Point.
UW-Oshkosh owns a 2-2 record against nationally ranked teams this season. In addition to their triumph at UW-Eau Claire, the Titans defeated then-eighth-ranked St. Norbert College, 58-45, on Dec. 20 and fell at a pair of Illinois institutions. Sixth-ranked Benedictine University, last year's national runner-up, bested UW-Oshkosh, 68-55, on Nov. 26, and 17th-ranked Augustana College ousted the Titans by a 77-64 count on Nov. 30.
The Titans also lead the league in free throw percentage (.789), and the Warhawks also pace the WIAC in 3-point percentage (.438), assists per game (14.4) and 3-pointers (141).
Noone, a junior, has a team-leading 14.2 points per game and 42 3-pointers while listing second on the squad with 11 steals.
Sophomores Boots and Wittchow are averaging 14.1 and 11.1 points per game, respectively. Wittchow leads the team with 43 assists while Boots has added 37 assists and 37 3-pointers.
Boots and Noone pace the WIAC by shooting at a 91.2 percent clip from the free throw line.
Rounding out the UW-Oshkosh starting lineup are senior guard Taylor Jansen and senior forward Max Schebel. Jansen is scoring 7.9 points per game, and Schebel is adding 7.5 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds per contest.
UW-Whitewater junior guard Chris Jones leads the WIAC in scoring at 18.2 points per game while junior forward Scotty Tyler lists sixth by averaging 15.3. Jones also has a team-high 43 assists and Tyler a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game to go along with a WIAC-leading 23 blocks.
Sophomore guard Andre Brown chips in 12.1 points per game for the Warhawks, who also receive 8.9 points per contest from freshman guard Zach Knobloch, 8.7 from sophomore guard Derek Rongstad and 7.9 from junior guard Demetrius Woodley.
Knobloch, Brown and Jones are the top three 3-point shooters in the WIAC. Knobloch is converting 53.5 percent (38-71) from behind the 3-point line while Brown has been successful on 51.7 percent (15-29) from long range and Jones on 47.5 percent (19-40).
UW-Whitewater is seeking its 16th consecutive victory over the Titans. UW-Oshkosh's last victory over UW-Whitewater was a 65-64 decision over the then-third-ranked Warhawks on Feb. 18, 2009, in Kolf Sports Center.