UW-Oshkosh will attempt to rise in the WIAC men's basketball standings when it hosts UW-Platteville in a matchup of nationally ranked teams on Wednesday (Jan. 31). The opening tip between the top two scoring teams in the conference is set for 7 p.m. in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (15-4, 5-3 WIAC), ranked 18th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, heads into Wednesday's contest tied for third in the league with 12th-ranked UW-Whitewater (15-4, 5-3).
Twentieth-ranked UW-Platteville (16-3, 6-2 WIAC) is alone in second place in the conference while 25th-ranked UW-Stevens Point (13-6, 7-1) paces the league with six games remaining. UW-Platteville and UW-Stevens Point, which entered the national poll for the first time this season, are among five ranked WIAC programs as defending league champion UW-River Falls (13-5, 4-4 WIAC) lists 24th.
Wednesday's meeting will be the first in which UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville have both been ranked by D3hoops.com since the 2007-08 season. The Pioneers won the most recent ranked matchup with the Titans by a 71-55 score on Jan. 30, 2008.
UW-Oshkosh is seeking to avenge a 72-57 loss at UW-Platteville on Jan. 17. The Pioneers snapped a five-game losing streak against UW-Oshkosh en route to improving their home record to 10-0.
The Pioneers lead the conference in scoring at 79.4 points per game while the Titans are second at 75.2. UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville are also the top two teams in the league in field goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to rates of .401 and .404, respectively.
UW-Oshkosh, which owns a 7-1 home record this season, ranks sixth in the country with a +10.1 average rebounding margin while also leading the WIAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19), and total rebounds (40.4) and offensive rebounds (11.0) per contest.
UW-Platteville is the best 3-point shooting team in the country, connecting on 43.6 percent (168-385) of its attempts from beyond the arc. The Pioneers also rank eighth nationally in average scoring margin (+15.8) and 10th in scoring defense (63.6) while pacing the conference with a .508 field goal percentage.
The balanced UW-Oshkosh offense is led by five starters averaging more than nine points per game.
Titan guard Ben Boots is averaging a team-best 15.0 points per game to go along with a WIAC-leading 4.1 assists per contest and a .863 free throw percentage. Boots, who has led UW-Oshkosh in scoring nine times this season, sports a league-high 1.19 assist-to-turnover ratio.
UW-Oshkosh forward Adam Fravert and center Jack Flynn are scoring 13.0 and 12.7 points per game, respectively, while guards Brett Wittchow and Charlie Noone round out the starting lineup at 10.3 and 9.4 points per contest.
Fravert and Flynn, who lead the WIAC with six double-doubles apiece, are the top two rebounders in the conference as Fravert is averaging 7.8 boards per game and Flynn follows with 7.6. Fravert is also pacing the WIAC with 25 blocks, and Flynn has a WIAC-best .624 field goal percentage.
Four UW-Oshkosh reserves are averaging at least 11 minutes per game. Forward Connor Duax is averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game off the Titans' bench while David Vlotho is contributing 3.7 points and 2.5 boards.
UW-Platteville has three starters averaging better than 10 points per game, including forward Robert Duax with a team-high 15 points per contest and 21 steals. Duax is the older brother of UW-Oshkosh's Connor Duax.
Guards Matt Oestreich and Carter Voelker are adding in 10.4 points apiece for the Pioneers, who have a 3-2 road record on the year.
Completing the UW-Platteville starting lineup are forward Clay Gerds at 7.4 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game, and guard Jake Showalter with 6.9 points per contest. Gerds leads the team with a .600 field goal percentage as each of the five Pioneer starters are shooting at least 50 percent from the floor.
UW-Platteville reserve guard Quentin Shields is chipping in 9.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
UW-Platteville has claimed 19 WIAC regular season titles – the second most in league history – while UW-Oshkosh has won 12 conference championships. The four-time NCAA Division III champion Pioneers won their last WIAC title in 2005. The Titans, the only WIAC program to play in both of the past two NCAA postseason tournaments, were most recently league winners in 2002.