Milwaukee opens Gulf Coast Showcase with stiff test

Another week for the Milwaukee Panthers and another tournament for them as well. This time a traditional tournament with the final two match-ups being results dependent on the results from the opening game against Murray State. It will be an early wake-up for the Panthers and Racers as they begin the Gulf Coast Showcase on Monday morning at 11 A.M. Murray State was in the NIT last season as a representative of the Ohio Valley conference.
The Racers won 29 games last season but are presently a team in transition. Matt McMahon has taken over the head coaching duties following his time as the associate head coach at Louisiana Tech. The Racers roster is also trying to incorporate many new and changing pieces as well. Their offense is reasonably balanced but is currently highlighted by two transfers. Junior Guard Damarcus Croaker is a transfer from Texas. Croaker has the ability to be a precise shooter who can put a lot of points in both a short amount of minutes and shots. In the opening game of the season Croaker scored 21 points on only 21 minutes while attempting 11 field goals. While he has not maintained this efficiently recently, the Panthers need to be aware of him being able to demonstrate that efficiency at any time and defend him accordingly.
The other significant transfer is Junior Forward Gee McGhee from Chattanooga. His season stats are on par with Croaker but his stats have likewise fallen over recent games as the Racers have faced stronger opposition. In addition to the transfers, several returners all have increased roles in the offense. Senior forward, Wayne Langston averaged only 2.5 points per game last season but is averaging 13 so far this year. Freshman guard Chad Culbreath had his most productive game in the Racers most recent game against Georgia, scoring 11 points in just 15 minutes. The Racers are a team trying to fit things together at the early stage of the season. The Panthers are hopefully going to catch the Racers at a good time because they have the look of a team that will get steadily better as the season progresses.
For the Panthers to do well in the Gulf Coast Showcase, they are going to continue to need Junior Guard Cody Wichmann to continue doing what he has been doing so far this season. Wichmann fills two big roles in the Panthers offense. First, Wichmann provides experience and scoring off the bench. His scoring is becoming reliable as the Panthers rotate between their first and second unit in a half. The scoring he is able to provide the second unit will ensure the Panthers stay out of scoring droughts even when they have their second unit in a game.
Secondly, Wichmann and his three point scoring ability ensures that defense remain spread out in order to respect the three. It is important for the Panthers to make defenses respect three point weapons regardless of who is on the floor because it prevents defenses from collapsing excessively on the inside on players like Matt Tiby and JJ Panoske who need space to operate inside. The less inside traffic for the Panthers offensively the better off it will be for the offense.

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