By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – As the Capital University men's basketball team rolls into Rock Island, Ill. for the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III Tournament, we roll out some of the items you need to know about the game, your Crusaders, and the opponent - the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers.
Capital tied with Mount Union and Marietta this year for a share of its 12th Ohio Athletic Conference championship with a 14-4 record. The Crusaders, 20-7 overall and ranked 24th in the nation, are led by Damon Goodwin, who is in his 24th season as the school's head coach. He has a 388-253 record and has led the program to six of its 13 NCAA Tournament appearances. Capital is making its first tourney trip since 2012 and has a record of 5-5 in tournament games under Goodwin.
Capital spent five weeks inside the D3Hoops.com Top 25 rankings before a week's hiatus prior to the OAC Tournament. In the lone week they have been on the outside since early January, they were still receiving votes and were the first team out of the top 25. As a point of reference, Cap was picked to finish sixth in the conference in the preseason coaches' poll.
Capital is averaging 80.1 points and giving up an average of 70.1. The Crusaders are shooting .480 from the field, .360 from three-point range and .761 from the free throw line. They have limited their opponents to .434 shooting from the floor and .341 from beyond the arc. Cap is plus 6.3 per game (38.2 to 31.9) on the boards. Capital has committed 323 turnovers to 334 for the opposition.
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville enters its 12th NCAA Division III Tournament with a stellar history that includes a 33-7 record and four national championships. The Pioneers captured titles under Head Coach Bo Ryan in 1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999.
This year's UWP squad, led by 10th-year head coach Jeff Gard, won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 70-57 victory over UW-Stevens Point in the tournament championship.
The Pioneers are averaging 72.9 points per game this season on shooting percentages of .422 from the field, .351 from three-point range and .766 from the foul line. They have limited the opposition to 69.2 points on shooting marks of .436 from the field and .370 from behind the arc. UWP has outrebounded its opponents by a margin of 3.1 per game and committed just 315 turnovers while forcing 372.
THE PLAYERS YOU'LL NEED TO WATCH
The 18-10 Pioneers are led by First Team All-WIAC performer Robert Duax (17.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, .359 3-pt%, .805 ft%, 57 ast 47 stl). The 6-4 senior was a Third Team D3hoops.com All-America selection a year ago and was named to this year's preseason second team.
Duax was joined on this year's All-WIAC first team by 6-3 junior Carter Voelker (13.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .353 3-pt%, 64 ast, 41 stl).
Also averaging in double figures is 5-9 sophomore Quentin Shields (13.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .372 3-pt%, .912 ft%, 83 ast, 34 stl). Six-foot, seven-inch senior Clay Gerds (6.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and 6-5 freshman Kyle Tuma (5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .371 3p%, .778 ft%) round out the Platteville starting five.
The Crusaders feature three players who were named to this year's All-OAC team, including conference Player of the Year Austin Schreck (17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .513 fg%, .360 3-pt%, 78 ast, 36 stl). The 6-3 senior leads Goodwin's veteran bunch in scoring and steals and was also named the OAC's Defensive Player of the Year.
Schreck is one of two players to hit 1,000 career points this season. The other is six-foot, two-inch senior Joey Weingartner (15.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, .397 3-pt%). Weingartner and 6-7 classmate Caleb Cox (14.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, .585 fg%, .789 ft%, 13 blk, 32 stl) were Second Team All-OAC selections this year. Weingartner leads the team in three-point percentage while knocking down a team-high 87 treys, which ranks 25th nationally. Cox leads Capital in rebounding, field goal percentage and blocked shots. Cox ranked 29th in the country in total rebounds (272).
Also averaging in double figures for the Crusaders is 6-4 senior Will Hannah (11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .400 3-pt%, .846 ft%, 79 ast), who leads the team in free throw percentage and assists.
ROUND ONE, AND BEYOND …
Capital and UW-Platteville will kick off the action in this pod - which also includes Aurora College and host Augustana University - on Friday, March 1. Tipoff between the Crusaders and Pioneers is set for 5:30 p.m. CST / 6:30 p.m. EST from inside the Roy J. Carver Center.
The winner of the Capital/UW-Platteville game will line up to play the winner of the Augustana (24-3)/Aurora (17-11) matchup on Saturday, March 2, at 7 p.m. CST / 8 p.m. EST.
$10 for adults and $5 for seniors age 60+ and all students with a valid ID. Children under two will be admitted free of charge. There are no complimentary passes for NCAA Tournament games.
Rounds 1 & 2 home page (provided by Augustana)
Information on matchups, hotel, dining, and entertainment options in Rock Island, Illinois, plus much more.