Saturday, November 8, 2008

Parkside Pregame

It's about 45 until tipoff for the Panther men against UW-Parkside. This is the second exhibition game for UWM, which will open the regular season Friday against Loyola Marymount.

As most Panther fans already know, matchups with Parkside have not amounted to typical exhibition blowouts each of the last two seasons. In 2006-07, UWP shot 70 percent in the second half and beat the Panthers, 77-71. Then last season, UWM built a double-digit second-half lead but had to hang for an 86-83 victory.

So, it should be another good test for the Panthers tonight. With the regular season opener just six days away, it appears likely UWM will tighten its rotation - at least somewhat - with a "real" game right around the corner. What exactly that means for who will and won't play more or less remains to be seen, but it is something to keep an eye on tonight.

Also, with a game under their belt, a lot of people will be keeping an eye on the large group of new players for the Panthers. But, it really isn't just the truly new players who are still either kicking off some rust or looking to make large jumps with their first big chance to play in Division I. Anthony Hill only played limited minutes last season and is now in the starting lineup, while Jason Averkamp didn't truly get regular minutes until late in the season. And, Avery Smith hadn't played in a real college game in front of fans in about 20 months when he took the court Wednesday night.

There is also a strong UW-Platteville connection in this matchup, as both Rob Jeter and Luke Reigel are Platteville grads. That is one reason this matchup has become an annual date in the preseason.