Following its first trip to the NCAA Division III title game last season, the UW-Oshkosh men’s basketball team opens the 2018-19 campaign ranked among the top teams in the country.
UW-Oshkosh (25-8 in 2017-18) is ranked second in the D3hoops.com preseason poll and seventh by Street & Smith’s Basketball Preseason Magazine.
Reigning national champion Nebraska Wesleyan University (30-3) is the top-ranked team in both preseason polls. The Prairie Wolves secured their first Division III title with a 78-72 decision over UW-Oshkosh in the championship game.
UW-Oshkosh is scheduled to play six games against teams ranked in the preseason top 25 – two contests each against UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater.
Last season UW-Oshkosh matched the school record for wins after winning five straight NCAA postseason games on the road or on a neutral court. The Titans established new program records for points (2,482) and 3-pointer made (301) while ranking seventh nationally with a +8.4 average rebounding margin.
The Titans return all but three players from last year’s squad under first-year interim head coach Matt Lewis, who helped the program to a 95-73 record and three NCAA postseason berths as the lead assistant coach from 2013-18.
Headlining the returning UW-Oshkosh men are senior NCAA Division III All-Central Region First Team guard Ben Boots and junior All-WIAC selections in center Jack Flynn and forward Adam Fravert.
Boots led the Titans last season with 16 points, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steal per game. He averaged 19.7 points per contest during the team’s postseason run a year ago. Boots paced the WIAC with 145 assists and a 2.20 assist-to-turnover ratio, ranked second in the league with an .856 free throw percentage and 45 steals, and listed third with 76 made 3-pointers.
Flynn was eighth in the conference last season with 12.8 points per game while Fravert ranked 11th at 12.3 per contest. The duo finished among the top three rebounders and shot blockers in the WIAC as Fravert pulled down a league-leading 7.5 boards and rejected a conference-best 39 shots. Flynn was third with 7.0 rebounds per game and 23 blocks.
UW-Oshkosh senior guard Brett Wittchow is also back after averaging 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game last season.
The Titans begin the 2018-19 season with an exhibition game at NCAA Division I University of Wisconsin on Nov. 2. UW-Oshkosh then opens the regular season against Piedmont College (Ga.) on Nov. 16 in Wheaton, Ill.