It is almost that time of year again when the hardwood starts to see some action. We are closing down on the football season and Basketball practice is begining to start. What are your thoughts and predictions on this years WIAC basketball season.
1. Stevens Point: Return a ton of starters from last years squad four of them i believe. Also have a ton of bench and role players returning as well. They fell off a little at the end of the year last year. They would like to take that sour taste out.
2. Whitewater: The defending national champions do loose chris davis, but that wont keep them down for long. Pat miller has another strong group of recruits ready to step in and start fresh. They will be a force agian this year.
3. La Crosse: They had an interesting season last year. Very inconsistant at times, also impressive at other stretches. They return alot from last years team as well as a young bench who will be improved this year as their playing time increases. Look for them to challenge teams all year long and post an impressive campeign.
4. River Falls: THey have done a remarkable job the last few seasons, but this year no one will take them lightly. They havent been taken lightly in the past, but of the top teams a year ago i feel they are the least bit improved. Jeff Berkoffs kids will be ready to play all year but will struggle at times against the big boys this year.
5. Platteville: May have been a dissappointment last season to some, but still made the Wiac tourny. They will struggle early on this year because they lost a good senior class from a year ago. By the second half of the season player roles will be defined and this team may show a lot of potential.
6. Eau Claire: Interesting off season for them. They failed to make WIAC tourny a year ago which was surprising. Coach Kyle Green leaves after one season, and they bring in former UW Superior head Matt Silverling. With that being said this will be a learning curve for the Bluegolds. They have a new coach and a new system to learn. Those arent so easy right away. The bottom half of the league is so bad that even a down year for them should get them into WIAC tourny, but they have a coach who could do more.
7. Superior: New coach Paul Eberhardt enters a truly differnt atmosphere and change. He is now part of the best conference in divisoin 3. I think it will take him a year to figure it out, but the experience and talent level at his program is there to possibly be a middle of the conference contender.
8. Stout: Looked awful up until january last year and then started playing much better ball at the end of the season. Can they carry that momentum into this season with a young team. They do have there leading scorer Alex Omen back but the rest of this league is so deep and far superior to them that the Blue Devils have a long way to go.
9. Oshkosh: Last season was a joke for UWO going 0-16 in conference playing and ending season on a 15 game losing streak to finish 4-21. Ted van Dellen retired brining in nationally recognized Pat Yuckem. He has a major task at hand to rebuild this program. THey are two or three years away from contention in my opinion, but they will be an improved team this year especially on defense. IF anyone can turn this thing around it is Pat.