The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee faces Wisconsin to begin NCAA Tournament

For seven straight seasons (2006-2012) the Milwaukee Panthers (15-2-2) were absent from NCAA Tournament play, but after winning the Horizon League Tournament, they will be returning to the dance. Tomorrow night they will square off against in state rival, Wisconsin (13-4-2), in Madison for the chance to advance in the tournament.

The Panthers will be entering the Tournament on a roll as they are unbeaten in their last six games, and are on a five game winning streak. Milwaukee also has the slight advantage in the all-time series, 16-15-7, against Wisconsin. The Badgers on the other hand have a 13 game unbeaten streak at home, the longest in the nation, but surprisingly enough the Panthers were the last team to knock them off at home, as they beat them last season 1-0.

This will be a rematch of the late October meeting that was held in Milwaukee between these in-state rivals. This game lived up to the hype as both teams played great, competitive soccer, but neither team could find a way to win the game.

Milwaukee had the advantage offensively the entire night, but a goal only 22 seconds after Laurie Bell made a penalty kick in the second half, caused this game to be tied up at one apiece. Even two overtime periods were not enough to determine a winner, as the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

The Badgers have had a very productive offense this season averaging two goals per game. They have 10 different players with at least five points this season, but their main offensive threat is midfielder/forward Nick Janus. He leads the Badgers with 20 points on nine goals and four assists.

Wisconsin has used three different goalies this season, with Casey Beyers starting the majority of the time. He has a 1.38 goals against average and a .647 save percentage. But it is still unknown who will be starting tomorrow night, as Max Jentsch has been the recent starter with a 0.81 goals against average and a .706 save percentage.

While the Badgers have played well on both sides of the ball, the Panthers have done even better. Milwaukee has had a great offense all season scoring 2.05 goals per game, 10th best in the nation, as they are lead by Horizon League Player of the Year, Laurie Bell.

Liam Anderson and the defense have also done an exceptional job recording 10 shutouts this season, with a 0.61 goals against average.

Milwaukee showed in their regular season meeting against Wisconsin that they can play with them because they are a well-rounded team. This will be an outstanding matchup between these in state rivals in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and whichever team is able to take advantage of their opportunities will be moving onto the next round.

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