Nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh received an at-large berth into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Men's Basketball Championship for the third consecutive season as the Titans renew their quest for a return trip to the national championship game.
UW-Oshkosh (23-3), ranked fourth in the country by D3hoops.com, opens the 64-team national tournament against first-time NCAA participant Lake Forest College (Ill.) on Friday (March 1) in Collegeville, Minn. The opening tip between the Titans and Foresters is set for 5:30 p.m. in Saint John's University's Sexton Arena.
The Collegeville Regional also features host and eighth-ranked Saint John's University (23-4) playing University of Northwestern (Minn.) (21-6) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The winners of Friday's first round games advance to the regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday (March 2) in Collegeville. The third and fourth rounds of the Division III Championship are scheduled for March 8-9.
UW-Oshkosh is making its program-record fourth straight NCAA postseason trip and ninth overall. Last season the Titans won five games away from home before falling in the championship game, 78-72, against Nebraska Wesleyan University in Salem, Va.
The Titans, who claimed their first outright Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title since 1978 and their 13th overall, earned an at-large berth into the NCAA field after suffering a 76-56 setback to UW-Stevens Point during the semifinal round of the WIAC Championship.
UW-Oshkosh had a school-record 21-game winning streak – fourth longest in WIAC history – from Nov. 20-Feb. 13 and leads the conference in scoring (82.8), field goal percentage (.471), field goal percentage defense (.415), assists (15.2) per game, made 3-pointers (254), blocks (113), average scoring (+15.7) and rebounding (+8.9) margins, and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.42). The Titans have outrebounded 25 of their last 28 opponents dating back to last season.
Senior guard Ben Boots leads UW-Oshkosh with 15.7 points and 4.0 assists per game whiling pacing the squad with 68 made 3-pointers and an .890 free throw percentage. He ranks seventh on UW-Oshkosh's all-time scoring list with 1,601 career points.
Junior center Jack Flynn is averaging 15.0 points and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds per contest and shooting a team-best 59.9 percent from the floor.
UW-Oshkosh senior guard Brett Wittchow is averaging 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while junior forward Adam Fravert produces 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 steals. Wittchow lists 26th on UW-Oshkosh's all-time scoring list with 1,124 career points.
Sophomore forward Connor Duax completes the Titan starting lineup, averaging 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Lake Forest College earned an automatic berth into its first Division III postseason by defeating St. Norbert College, 68-64, during the Midwest Conference title game. The Foresters rank seventh in the country with a .410 3-point percentage.
The balanced Foresters offense, averaging 84.4 points per game, is highlighted by six double-digit scorers, including sophomore guard Sean Espinosa with a team-best 18.1 points per contest.
Lake Forest College senior forward Danny Sotos adds 14.6 points per contest while freshman guard Tashon Brown contributes 12.5 per game, junior guard Aram Arslanian 11.9, junior guard Sam Husting 11.5 and senior guard Jordan Moran 10.6.
Husting's .480 3-point percentage is fifth best in the nation. Moran pace the team with 5.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, respectively. Husting (94), Espinosa (64), Sotos (45) and Brown (41) have each made more than 40 3-pointers on the year.
Saint John's University is making its second straight and 19th overall trip to the Division III postseason after clinching the playoff championship in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) by an 82-79 score over Augsburg University (Minn.).
The Johnnies are leading the country with a .542 field goal percentage and a +13.3 average rebounding margin while listing second nationally with a +19.2 average scoring margin and a .415 3-point percentage.
Senior guard David Stokman leads the Johnnies with 15.4 points per game, 93 assists, 82 made 3-pointers and 37 steals.
Rounding out the Saint John's University starting lineup are junior guard Jubie Alade at 12.9 points per game, junior center Lucas Walford at 11.9, sophomore forward Zach Hanson at 7.0 and sophomore guard Oakley Baker at 5.7. Walford grabs a team-high 9.4 rebounds per game to go along with 40 blocks.
University of Northwestern is back in the Division III Championship for the eighth time in the past nine years. The Eagles won an automatic berth into this year's field by virtue of a 92-89 victory over The College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) during the tournament title game of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
The high-scoring Eagles are averaging 88.9 points per game as five players score at least 11 points per contest.
University of Northwestern junior guard Tanner Youngberg and senior guard Anderson Bazie Jr. are scoring 13.8 and 13.0 points per contest, respectively. Youngberg is also shooting 53.6 percent from the field and collecting 10 rebounds per game. Bazile Jr. has made a team-leading 61 3-pointers.
Completing the Eagle starting lineup are senior guard Caleb Hageman at 12.2 points per game, freshman guard Michael Moore at 11.7 and senior forward Brady Bellefeuille at 9.5. Sophomore guard Noah Alm is adding 12.1 points a game off the University of Northwestern bench.
UW-Oshkosh made previous trips to the Division III Championship in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Titans, who reached the national quarterfinals in 2003, have a 12-8 record in the NCAA postseason.