NCAA Basketball March Madness

Milwaukee Basketball: Panthers Punch Their Ticket To NCAA Tournament

Milwaukee Panthers

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Panthers are on their way to the NCAA Tournament after defeating the Wright State Raiders by a score of 69-63.

The Panthers capped off their improbable run through the Horizon League tournament with yet another impressive win. Senior forward Kyle Kelm led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds and Jordan Aaron – another senior — was also terrific in the win, scoring 18 points of his own, including knocking down four triples. AJ Pacher headed the Raiders’ attack as he tallied 16 points in the crushing defeat.

Make no mistake about it, Rob Jeter‘s team was not expected to be in this position. Nope, not with a record of 17-13 overall and just 7-9 in Horizon League play. But the great thing about college basketball is that teams have the  opportunity — no matter of  record or standing — to earn a spot in the Big Dance by winning their respective conference tournaments. And while their regular season performance can certainly be described as underwhelming, you can’t fault the Panthers for doing exactly that.

Jeter and company fought tremendously hard to earn this bid, and they deserve all the credit in the world for doing so. Milwaukee finished fifth in the Horizon League regular season standings, but in the last week, they’ve gone on to defeat the Horizon’s first, second and fourth place teams respectively. Furthermore, they won on both Green Bay and Wright State’s home floors in consecutive games. That’s how you step up and punch your ticket to the best postseason event in all of sports.

It’ll be fascinating to see if the Panthers can ride this momentum into a Cinderella-like run. A team that I wouldn’t want to see in my bracket is a team that is hot, and playing with absolutely nothing to lose. Perhaps, a team like the Milwaukee.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27