Panthers

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Milwaukee Panthers

General Team Information

Founded: 1896

Conference: Horizon League

Past Conferences: Midwestern Collegiate Conference, Mid-Continent Conference, Independent

Arena: UWM Panther Arena

City: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Championships and Titles:

4 Conference Tournament Championships

4 Conference Regular Season Championships

Team History

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men’s basketball team has been around since the late 1800s. But it didn’t join Division I men’s basketball until 1973-74 as an independent program. The UW-Milwaukee Panthers played decently though failed to make the NCAA Tournament. 

It spent seven seasons in D-I before returning to Division III and II. It made some runs at the D-II and D-III tournament titles then returned to D-I in 1990. 

This time, the Panthers were a bit more formidable. It went on to win 23 games during the 1992-93 season under coach Steven Antrim. The following season, the Panthers joined the Mid-Continent Conference (which eventually became the Horizon League). 

Von McDade transferred from Oklahoma State during the 1990-91 season and led the Panthers’ team stats. He became the first Panther to become the highest draft pick in the NBA Draft (2nd round, 53rd overall). 

But as part of the Horizon League, the Panthers struggled. The program even bottomed out and finished with just three wins during the 1994-95 season, which led to Antrim stepping down. Yet even with new coach Ric Cobb, the Panther struggled and won no more than nine games in a season under him.     

Things turned for the better when Bo Ryan took over in 1999. He only coached the Panthers for two seasons as Bruce Pearl replaced him. But the two had laid the foundations for the program’s resurgence. 

Led by Clay Tucker who would become the Milwaukee Panthers’ team stats all-time leader, the program won 24 games and finally made the NCAA Tournament in 2003. During the early 2000s, the Panthers were the class of the Horizon League and even dominated the NCAAB odds. 

The Panthers won 20+ games for four consecutive seasons and made a total of three March Madness appearances. Milwaukee even had a Cinderella run as a 12-seed in 2005 upsetting 5-seed Alabama and 4-seed Boston College. It lost to the top seed, Illinois, in the Sweet Sixteen (Regional Semifinals). 

While Milwaukee continued to field winning teams, it would not return to the NCAA Tournament until 2014. As of the 2022-23 season, this is the last time the program has made March Madness. 

And in 2022, Patrick Baldwin Jr. made history for the program. He became the first Panther to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.     

All-Time Milwaukee Panthers Records

Points Scored

  • Clay Tucker: 1,788
  • Gerald Hardnett: 1,602
  • Chad Angeli: 1,417

Rebounds

  • Adrian Tigert: 760
  • Matt Tiby: 734
  • Clay Tucker: 592

Assists

  • Kaylon Williams: 393
  • Marc Mitchell: 345
  • Clay Tucker: 341

FAQs

Is Milwaukee a Division I team?

The Milwaukee Panthers are an NCAA Division I men’s basketball team. They became a permanent fixture in D-I since the 1990-91 season.  

What Conference are the Milwaukee Panthers in?

The Panthers are in the Horizon League. They have played in this conference since the 1993-94 season. They have won a few titles in this conference: four each from the regular season and tournament (eight in total). 

How far has Milwaukee gotten in March Madness?

The best run Milwaukee got from the NCAA Tournament is in 2005 when it made the Sweet Sixteen (Regional semi-finals). They are 3-4 during March Madness.

Latest NCAAB News

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