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UND vs Milwaukee (11/9 7 PM)


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To say the exhibition didn't go as well as UND wanted would be a bit of an understatement but behind 28 points from Mitchell Sueker, UND survived with a 68-64 win over Mayville State.  Now the season starts for real on Tuesday Night when they host the Milwaukee Panthers of the Horizon League, who is being hyped up because of a decision made by one of the top incoming freshmen in America.

About the Panthers:

There are certain dates that you always remember, but for Panther fans, May 12th, 2021 certainly is one of them.  That was the day that one of the best recruits in the 2021 class spurred all the Power 5 programs and stated, I am going to stay home and play for UW-Milwaukee!  Sure, it helps that it happens to be the coaches son and all but.... its still a pretty big deal. 

For a program looking for a jumpstart, it couldn't have come at a better time.   While Milwaukee made some progress with a 10-12 record last year, they still are struggling to gain some traction in the Horizon.  With a program still looking for success they haven't had since the days of Bruce Pearl and Rob Jeter (who, btw is building a program in Western Illinois).  There is reason to be excited for a breakthrough.

While adding Baldwin Jr is a big deal, this squad already has some players with high levels of potential.  They have transfers from San Francisco, Boston College, and UTEP that are ready to have big impacts for their new squad.  Also... this is a HUGE squad.  Two 7 footers (Kane and Bol), two players at 6'10 and a 6'9 player that will all get significant minutes. 

With all of this... the expectations are high.  Old Friend Scott Nagy and Wright State still run the conference, but there is zero reason why Milwaukee can't challenge them.  If they can't that... then it might be time to ask some questions.

About Patrick Baldwin: (5th season: 47-70 overall record, 26-45 record Horizon)

The former Northwestern guard entered his 5th year and has high expectations to deliver.  So far, there hasn't been a lot to write about.  Still looking for the first winning season in both conference and overall record.  He has the horses, it is time to cash in.  Can Coach Baldwin push all the right buttons to make this talented squad go?

Key Player: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (6'10" 215 lb Freshman)

Lets not kid ourselves here, this is the guy to watch.  He could have played anywhere in the nation and could have easily be playing for one of the 4 teams that are playing at the Garden on Tuesday.  However, he decided to stay home and play his 1 and only season with his dad.  This is a guy that can do it all, but his experience his is shooting.  He will be a mismatch on the court for UND.  It is not often that you should go to a game just to watch an opposing player, but this is the exception to the rule.

Series History: This will be the 7th meeting against the two squad.  UND leads the all time series 4-2 and is 2-0 at home.  Milwaukee won the last one in 2019, 79-70. 


1) Defending Baldwin:  How UND decides to defend him will be interesting.  Do they live with him going off and guarding the rest? Or do they limit him and have others beat you

2) Outside Shooting: This needs to be the stat that UND needs to win if they are going to have a chance.  They have to hit their 3s

3) Avoid the droughts:  Cannot have those moments where they go 5-6 minutes without making a shot.  Efficient offense is needed for a full 40

The Call:

After a less than stellar exhibition, the way to get people to forget is to start the season off with a win.  UND is going to be challenged with a talented team and hopefully they have learned from their exhibition.  UND is going to have to hit some shots and come out of the gate swinging.  Sueker, Mathews, and T are going to have to be huge against the Panther bigs and whoever is matched up against Baldwin... embrace the challenge.   This will be a tough one for UND to win, but they need to make steps in the right direction with an overhauled roster.  I see this being a 6 point Milwaukee win.  A win would really give the team a shot in the arm after a disappointing exhibition.  A blowout would only continue the bad feelings. 

76-70 Panthers. 

*Nevertheless: College basketball is BACK!  Tomorrow will be nothing more than a holiday for me.  Game is on Bally Sports North!   If you have a chance to get out to the game, highly would recommend heading out.  Don't get too many potential lottery picks that come to the Betty. 

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