In case you haven’t gathered from the SWMSU logo or the title of the article, PantherU is going to take every weekday to break down a different opponent of the Milwaukee Panthers. We’re going in chronological order and will be skipping the exhibition game with Parkside, so let’s dive right in.
Opponent #1: Southwest Missouri State Mustangs, November 12th, US Cellular Arena
The Mustangs of NCAA D-II are coming off a 12-14 season in which they finished tied for eighth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Mustangs were led by senior Scott Roehl, who averaged 14.7 points per game while tallying 1,025 for his career. He graduated, which leaves junior Jordan Miller as the leading scorer returning to the court. The Mustangs do share a common opponent last season with the Panthers. SWMSU traveled to South Dakota State and lost by 14, but it wasn’t without good play.
– Key player: Jordan Miller. Miller was only one point per game short of Roehl for the season and is by far the most prolific returning scorer of the Mustangs. Miller averaged 4.4 rebounds per game, also second on the team to Roehl, and is a deft free-throw shooter. He was 85 of 96 from the line in 2010-11, an 88.5% clip. Of course, at the charity stripe it doesn’t matter if you’re playing for Kansas or South Central Louisiana State University. In the South Dakota State game, Miller scored 19 points and was 4-4 at the line, making 6 of 10 from the floor. He does, however, have a wicked faux-hawk that certainly does not help with the ladies. I’m sure if they were old enough, he’d remind them of Alfalfa.
– Giant void. Scott Roehl was the do-it-all man for the Mustangs last season, with 14.7 ppg and 10.2 rpg. The second of the two statistics will be the biggest mark on the Mustangs coming into this season.
– Size. The Mustangs are not without some advantages. Unlike most D-II teams, they come in with relatively good size. Miller is a 6’5” shooting guard and they have four other returnees standing at least that tall. Sophomore Nick Smith, the biggest of the bunch, could see a bigger role this season and a corresponding upswing. Smith scored 4.4 ppg and pulled down 3.9 rpg, and at 6’9” 245 he is a big body with a size advantage if matched up down low against James Haarsma.
– Prediction. The Panthers didn’t play a D-II last season, largely because of disgruntled fans who paid for season tickets that included Concordia-St. Paul and Hillsdale the previous season. Rob Jeter put this game on the schedule, but don’t expect the Panthers to go through the motions – they remember the grumblings of 2009-10 and are not likely to take their foot off the gas.
Panthers 84, Mustangs 65