Monday, February 22, 2010

Warhawk men win WIAC title outright, set sights on conference tourney

Everyone interested in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) basketball had Feb. 20 circled on their calendars. The conference’s top teams UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater played their final league games of the season, looking to win while keeping their fingers crossed that they might claim the WIAC title outright.

That’s exactly what happened for the Warhawk men, as they topped UW-Superior, 70-63, and got some help from UW-La Crosse, who beat the Pointers, 88-76.

UW-SP and UW-W were tied atop the WIAC standings, but after Saturday Whitewater took the conference title with a 13-3 WIAC finish, a game ahead of Point.

Whitewater, who earned the No. 1 seed in the WIAC tournament, did not look great against Superior on Saturday and will need to play sharper basketball if they hope to gain the tourney championship.

The Warhawks led 41-26 at halftime, but allowed the Yellow Jackets to creep back into the game late. Superior got to within four points with less than a minute to play before Whitewater made eight free throws down the stretch.

UW-W escaped with a win but could face Superior again in the conference tournament as the Yellow Jackets secured the final spot in the bracket. With the No. 1 tournament seed, Whitewater earns a buy and will play the lowest remaining seed after round one. The Pointers have the No. 2 seed and will play the highest remaining seed from the opening round.

The conference tourney will kick off Tuesday when Superior plays at No. 3 La Crosse. No. 4 UW-Stout will host No. 5 UW-Platteville. Both games tip-off at 8 p.m. Semi-final games will be played Thursday at UW-W and UW-SP. The championship game is Saturday at the gym of the highest seeded team.

If the high seeds prevail it will set up a highly anticipated match up between Stevens Point and Whitewater, who are currently ranked five and nine respectively in the latest poll. The Warhawks beat the Pointers twice in the regular season, though both games were closely contested. Whitewater won 67-60 (F/OT) Dec. 10 at Whitewater and 61-58 at UW-SP Jan. 27.

Check back with I Am Sportacus for results of the WIAC tournament.

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