The WIAC Men's Basketball Tournament's first round opened up with an upset and a near-upset, while the women's Tournament begins tonight.
Men's Basketball - WIAC Tournament First Round: #5 La Crosse (14-12) 76, #4 Eau Claire (18-8) 66
La Crosse never trailed as they avenged two regular-season losses to the Blugolds in Tuesday's victory. The Eagles led at halftime 35-23.
La Crosse will face #1 seed River Falls on Thursday night at 7pm.
Men's Basketball - WIAC Tournament First Round: #3 Whitewater (21-5) 78, #6 Stout (13-13) 69
Just a few weeks ago, Whitewater blew out Stout 83-48 behind dead-eye three point shooting and better overall athleticism than the Blue Devils.
In the first round of the WIAC Tournament, UW-Stout completely changed their formula.
"Obviously, things didn't go as well for us the last time we were here," said Stout coach Eddie Andrist on the Blue Devils broadcasts' postgame radio show, referencing the blowout on February 11. "We had to try something different."
The Blue Devils, minus senior Brett Ahsenmacher, decided to roll out a wrinkle with their bench: a "Press Squad."
"It got [the reserves] fired up because they don't play as much," said Andrist. "We don't have the athletes [Whitewater] does. We couldn't play them straight up, because we know what happened last time here."
The move forced a few turnovers and kept the game in reach for Stout all game long. Whitewater, however, was able to get to the free throw line for 32 free throw attempts (to just nine for Stout). The Warhawks also shot 46% from the floor, and had four players hit double figures.
In what ended up being a relatively unexpected early WIAC Tournament challenge for Whitewater, the Warhawks were able to stay out of foul trouble and make their free throws, holding off a pesky Stout squad that never quite went away, even down the stretch.
Whitewater will face #2 seed Oshkosh on Thursday night at 7pm.
Women's Basketball - #5 Eau Claire (13-12) at #4 La Crosse (15-10) - 7pm
Regular Season Series: La Crosse swept the season series, winning 64-55 at Eau Claire on January 11 and 62-44 at La Crosse on February 11.
Women's Basketball - #6 River Falls (8-17) at #3 Stevens Point (17-8) - 7pm
Regular Season Series: Stevens Point swept the season series, winning 64-48 at home on January 14 and 67-46 at River Falls on January 28.