PantherU

Anonymous fan weighs in

Jimmy’s note: this was emailed to me by an anonymous Panther fan at about midnight last night. Frankly, their take on this is better than mine. It was also surprisingly well-written and fully researched considering the WBI had only just been announced. I knew ahead of time; my guess is so did this person. Enjoy their take:

Hi,

This year’s Milwaukee Panthers Women’s Basketball team finished in 5th Place in the Horizon League, the exact same spot that the 2015-2016 Men’s Basketball team finished in. You may recall that last year’s men’s team was denied a chance at postseason play by Athletic Director, Amanda Braun, who stated that “We finished fifth in the conference. We also played the 292nd-weakest schedule in the nation. That’s not a season I think merits a postseason.”

 

However, it was announced late Monday evening that this year’s Women’s team will be playing in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Coincidentally, as shown in the stats below, this year’s women’s team and last year’s men’s team had strikingly similar seasons. Both teams finished with 20 wins, while both teams had very unimpressive strength of schedules—291 for the men and 265 for the women.

 

The Women’s Basketball Invitational is the 3rd tier tournament, with 16 teams chosen after the 64-team NCAA Tournament and 64-team Women’s NIT Tournament fields are selected. The two teams that finished ahead of the Panthers in the Horizon League, Detroit Mercy and Wright State, either declined an invitation to this third-tier tournament or were not invited. However, both teams had a better RPI than Milwaukee (145), with Detroit at 142 and Wright State at 143, making it likely that these teams declined an invitation. If the next best teams were to be selected for this tournament, it would be teams with an RPI of 128-143, however the tournament had to go so far down the list in terms of RPI to select teams like St. Francis PA (242) and Charleston Southern (240).

 

Even though the women’s team shouldn’t be playing in this tournament based on Mrs. Braun’s standards, I hope that they win it. I only wish the 2015-2016 Men’s Team would have had the chance to play in a postseason tournament. I also wonder whether Amanda would have turned down an invitation to this year’s Men’s NCAA Tournament given the team’s last place finish in the Horizon League and 11-24 overall record. The Panthers came up just six points short of making that a reality, but it would have made for an interesting question to pose to Mrs. Braun.

 

My only motivation for sending this is because it is now more clear than ever that last year’s Men’s Basketball team was unfairly treated by Mrs. Braun, and the alumni, faculty, staff, student-athletes, students and community deserve to know.

 

 

Below are several quotes from Amanda Braun about her decision to not let the 2015-2016 Men’s team play in a postseason tournament. These all directly contradict any decision that would allow the 2016-2017 Women’s team, which finished in 5th place in the Horizon League, to play in the postseason:

 

Amanda Braun in the Journal Sentinel (http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/panthers/no-postseason-for-uwm-mens-basketball-team-hints-at-bigger-story-b99686477z1-371896421.html):

  • “It wasn’t about funding,” she said. “Middle of the pack, that is not the standard for Milwaukee athletics — not for any of our programs. We’re not going to invest money just to say we played more games.”
  • “In reality, we underperformed this year,” she said. “We finished fifth in the conference. We also played the 292nd-weakest schedule in the nation. That’s not a season I think merits a postseason.”
  • “Our expectation is third place or better,” she said. “We fund the program at the highest level in our league. We didn’t achieve what I think rewarded the merit of a quote-unquote postseason.”
  • “They may call it postseason and that may get some people excited. I played basketball in college (Siena) and that wouldn’t have been interesting for me.”

Amanda Braun during 620 WTMJ Interview (http://www.wtmj.com/sports/college/the-two-sides-to-the-milwaukee-panthers-saga-amanda-braun):

  • “Our expectations are the reason why we declined postseason play. 5th place, again, doesn’t really merit, given the program we had, rewarding with postseason.”

Amanda Braun on 105.7 The Fan Interview (http://media.1057fmthefan.com/a/114053125/03-13-16-amanda-braun-joins-the-college-basketball-show.htm):

  • “We don’t talk about the CBI and the CIT very much. I mean that’s part of this is um you know we aspire to higher than that.”
  • “We expect to be in the top three of our league.”

Amanda Braun in the Journal Sentinel (http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/panthers/jeter-didnt-deserve-ugly-ending-at-uwm-b99689757z1-372494571.html):

  • “Fifth place, again, doesn’t really merit…rewarding a postseason,”

Amanda Braun in the Journal Sentinel: http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/panthers/uwm-will-pass-on-postseason-basketball-tournaments-b99685711z1-371817131.html

  • “Our goal is to win the Horizon League and our expectation is to finish among the top three in the Horizon League on an annual basis.”

Email from Amanda Braun (Page 57) http://mediamilwaukee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Braun-Emails_.pdf:

  • “Our option with a fifth‐place finish is to participate in events that are not aspirational for our program.  Because of this, it is difficult to justify participation in the CBI and CIT events.”

o   Note that the CBI (established in 2008) and CIT (2009) have been in existence longer than the Women’s Basketball Invitational (2010).

Quotes related to the 2015-2016 Men’s Basketball Season:

 

Todd Rosiak – Journal Sentinel (http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/panthers/uwm-will-pass-on-postseason-basketball-tournaments-b99685711z1-371817131.html):

 

“Every significant player remained in the program. The Panthers opened the season winning a tournament in California. They won road games against Big Ten opponents Wisconsin and Minnesota and finished fifth in the regular-season Horizon League standings. And while they lost Sunday to eventual champion UW-Green Bay in the conference tournament, they finished with a 20-13 overall record.”

 

From http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/rob-jeter-fired-as-uwm-mens-basketball-coach-b99689696z1-372401751.html:

“Braun’s handling of the men’s basketball program has also ruffled the feathers of a number of donors and sponsors, and her refusal last week to allow the team to participate in the CBI or CIT even after at least one donor offered to underwrite all costs was a flashpoint.”

 

 

More information on the Women’s Basketball Invitational: http://www.womensbasketballinvitational.com/landing/index.

Although host teams keep all revenue from the event, they must provide a guarantee of $10,000 for the first and second rounds and $12,000 for the semifinal and final rounds. Assuming the average attendee spends $10 (ticket prices of $6 for adults, $4 for youth and senior citizens, and free for students; $2 parking; and limited concession options), this would require 1,000 fans to break even before other facility costs.

 

Milwaukee’s highest attended game this year (1,372 fans) came on a Friday night against in-state rival, Green Bay, with nearly a third of the fans from Green Bay. I would expect the attendance at this game to be similar to or lower than the January 11th game against Oakland, which was also played on a Wednesday and had 422 fans. This game will be played with 2 days notice, and average attendance is closer to the 500 mark.

 

—————————————————————————————

 

Comparisons:

 

2015-2016 Men 2016-2017 Women Notes: Sources (Men): Sources (Women):
Final Conference Standing 5 5 Same Conference Standing http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/conferences/standings/_/id/45/year/2016 http://www.horizonleague.org/sports/womens-basketball
Wins 20 20 Same number of wins http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Losses 13 11 Men had two more losses, but played 2 more games http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Conference Wins 10 11 Men had 1 fewer conference win http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Conference Losses 8 7 Men had 1 more conference loss http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Home Wins 9 11 Men had 2 fewer home wins http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Home Losses 4 3 Men had 1 more home loss http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Road Wins 7 7 Same number of road wins http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Road Losses 6 7 Men had 1 fewer road loss http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Neutral Wins 4 2 Men had 2 more neutral wins http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Neutral Losses 3 1 Men had 2 more neutral losses http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?schedule=262&path=mbball http://mkepanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball
Wins vs. NCAA Tournament Teams 2 1 Men beat Wisconsin and Green Bay; Women beat Green Bay http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2016/3/15/11222678/2016-march-madness-ncaa-tournament-schedule-bracket-results-format http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/basketball-women/d1
Wins vs. Top 50 RPI Teams 1 1 Men beat Wisconsin (Final RPI of 41); Women beat Green Bay (Current RPI of 28) http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/rpi/_/year/2016/groupId/45 http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/basketball-women/d1/ncaa-womens-basketball-rpi
RPI 175 145 Women slightly better http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/rpi/_/year/2016/groupId/45 http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/basketball-women/d1/ncaa-womens-basketball-rpi
Strength of Schedule 291 265 Women slightly better http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/rpi/_/year/2016/groupId/45 http://warrennolan.com/basketballw/2017/sos
Established
CBI 2008 http://www.gazellegroup.com/main/cbi/history/
CIT 2009 http://www.collegeinsider.com/tournament/schedule-results.php
Women’s Basketball Invitational 2010 http://www.womensbasketballinvitational.com/about_us/About_US

Sincerely,

Concerned Panther Fan

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