Men's Basketball Tournament Game Preview: vs UIC - Sunday, 4 p.m. CT
CATCH THE ACTION: Sunday, Mar. 5 - 4 p.m. CT // Detroit, Mich. (Joe Louis Arena)
Matchup: No. 3 Green Bay Phoenix (18-12, 12-6 HL) vs No. 6 UIC Flames (14-17, 7-11 HL)
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Where to Watch: TV - NA Online - ESPN3
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Green Bay has won 10-straight games against UIC and owns the 60-36 advantage in the all-time series. The Phoenix is also 3-0 versus the Flames in the postseason.
Green Bay Notes
Green Bay will be making its 17th all-time appearance in the Horizon League Tournament, owning a 13-15 all-time record since the start of the Horizon League in 2001-02 (team is 21-20 overall including tournament games in the MCC) after going a perfect 4-0 a year ago. The four wins in 2015-16 was the same amount of wins the Phoenix had accumulated over the last eight tournaments combined, punching its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years. Most notably, Green Bay is a perfect 3-0 against UIC in the tournament, owning wins in 14-15, 12-13 and 05-06.
FACING UIC, AGAIN
The Phoenix will be playing the Flames for the third time in just 32 days, having won both meetings after trailing by as many as 14 and 9 points in each game. In those two meetings (Feb. 2 and Feb. 21), Warren Jones averaged 20.0 PPG and made nine of his 14 3-point attempts. Green Bay averaged 85.5 PPG in those two games, its third-highest total against any other league team this year. Three other players averaged in double-figures, with Khalil Small (12.5 PPG0, Kenneth Lowe (11.5 PPG) and Charles Cooper (11.0 PPG) all leading the way. Ironically, those four players all earned Horizon All-League honors this season. Green Bay has won 10-straight games against UIC and owns the all-time series with a 60-36 advantage, the most wins it has over any other opponent in program history.
Over the last four regular seasons, Green Bay has gone 13-3 over its final four games to end the year. The Phoenix finished with another strong 3-1 finish this year, the same record it had to end last year before the magical run. Over the last four games, Cooper is averaging 16.3 PPG and Green Bay is averaging 82.0 PPG as a team. The team has been shooting hot from the field, boasting a 46.1 field goal percentage while owning a plus-7.0 rebounding margin. The momentum will look to carry into Motor City Madness again this year.
THE BETTER HALF
By finishing in a tie for third place, owning the No. 3 seed thanks to tiebreaker with NKU on its split with Oakland, Green Bay secured a top four finish in the Horizon League for the fifth-straight season. The Phoenix has most recently finished third, fourth, second, first and fourth over the past five seasons. Only Valparaiso currently has a longer streak in the top four, finishing there in seven-straight seasons.
MAKING ALL-LEAGUE HISTORY
When the league announced its All-League teams on Wednesday, Mar. 1, Green Bay had four players (Charles Cooper, Warren Jones, Kenneth Lowe, Khalil Small) receive accolades. The four individual players to be recognized are the most Green Bay has had any one season in its Horizon League history, while also having the most individual players this year than any other HL team. Jones is just the second Phoenix player ever to earn Sixth Man of the Year honors, joining Ryan Tillema in 2008-09. Lowe and Small are the third pair of Green Bay players to earn All-Defensive Team honors, joining Carrington Love and Jordan Fouse from last year, and Alec Brown and Fouse from 2012-13 and 2013-14. Cooper added Second Team All-League honors to go along with his All-Tournament Team honors from a year ago.
SCORING WITH TEMPO
Green Bay finished the regular season by averaging a league-high 80.4 PPG, ranking 34th in the NCAA in that category. The Phoenix reached 80 points in 11 Horizon League games this season, the most of any other league team. According to KenPom, the Phoenix is averaging 74.7 possessions per 40 minutes, which is the eighth most of any other team in the country.
DOWN MEMORY LANE
The defending Motor City Madness champions will take the floor at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since they left it after cutting down the nets amidst falling confetti and celebrations. Green Bay’s magical run included four wins in four days, a dramatic overtime win over Valparaiso in the semifinals and a 78-69 victory in the championship game over Wright State. Tournament MVP Jordan Fouse averaged 18.5 PPG and shot 50 percent (10-for-20) from 3-point range in the tournament. Fellow All-Tournament Team members Charles Cooper (16.0 PPG) and Carrington Love (13.3 PPG) stepped up big in the four wins, while Green Bay averaged 9.8 steals per game, a plus-9.3 scoring margin and made 23.8 free throws per game. Should Green Bay and Valpo both win their quarterfinal games, another semifinal showdown would on tap at the Joe.
Kerem Kanter has now tallied eight double-doubles on the season, the third most in the Horizon League behind Alec Peters (16) and Drew McDonald (10). Kanter has a double-double in three-straight games, the longest current streak of any Horizon League player. The native of Turkey has seen all eight of his career double-doubles come this season and Green Bay is 6-2 when Kanter records a DD. Charles Cooper (3) and Kenneth Lowe (1) are the only other players on the roster to have recorded a double-double in their career.
The bench production for the Phoenix this season has been the best in the Horizon League, averaging 38.0 bench points per game during the 18-game Horizon League schedule. Green Bay has reached 40 or more bench points in six league games this year, and the team is a perfect 6-0 in those games. In the last three games alone, the team is averaging 44.4 bench points per game. The league’s Sixth Man of the Year Warren Jones and Second Team All-League performer Charles Cooper, who are combining to score 25.0 PPG in league play, lead the strong bench production numbers.
BALANCE OF POWER
Four players or more have scored in double-figures in 12 games this season and Green Bay is a strong 10-2 in those games. In HL play alone, the team is 6-2 when that happens and the team is even better when five players reach 10 or more points. The Phoenix is 5-1 when five or more players reach that threshold, including the most recent win at UIC.
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