OSHKOSH, Wisc. (WBAY) The UW-Oshkosh men’s basketball team is still in the NCAA tournament. They haven’t enjoyed basketball this deep into March in 15 years.
“It’s just cool to be able to come to practice today,” Titans guard Charlie Noone said. “Only 16 teams in the country were able to do that, and just excited you know to have a more couple days with my best friends."
“Certainly, it's a great feeling four our players and supporters of our program,” Titans Head Coach Pat Juckem said. “It’s something we envisioned, that this team was capable of.”
The 15-year drought is over. The UW-Oshkosh men's basketball team is headed to Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. So where was the current team back in 2003?
“Let’s see here. I was born in 1996, yeah, that puts me at about 7 or 8 years old,” Noone said. “I was probably shooting on a little hoop, a little 8-foot hoop.”
“I think in 2003 I was at Lawrence (University) as an assistant, and we were in the tournament,” Coach Juckem said. “I think we were actually made it to the Elite 8 that year, so there's maybe some symmetry in that I guess.”
UWO finds itself in familiar company in the Sweet 16, fellow WIAC competitors UW-Stevens Point and UW-Platteville have also advanced.
“I mean, we take great pride in our conference,” Titans guard Ben Boots said. “It's a battle every single night out against every single team, so it doesn't surprise me at all Platteville and Stevens Point. Hopefully, we can all three advance one more time.”
All three of the WIAC teams play Friday, and if Stevens Point and Platteville advance, they'll face each other in the next round.
The Titans have a 6th ranked Emory team standing between them and the Elite 8.
“It’s time,” Coach Juckem said. “We've been in the tournament the last three years, and I think we all felt that it was time for this program and these guys, you know Ben (Boots) and Charlie (Noone) and those guys, that have been to there felt like it's time for us to go and advance.”