Pioneers return to Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Pioneers return to Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999

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PLATTEVILLE (WKOW) -

The UW-Platteville men's basketball team is making it's eighth Sweet 16 appearance and it's first since 1999 when the Pioneers won their most recent national championship.

There is still some March madness buzz to be had in Wisconsin. The Pioneers have turned things around from a year ago after they finished with just one conference win. This season, the Pioneers currently sit at (24-4) overall and (12-2) in conference play. Now, they are in the midst of an NCAA Tournament run making it to the Sweet-16.

"Having people come up to you in class, and even having professors congratulate you on the successful year," said senior guard Trey Sigel. "The energy around campus has been second to none. 

Fellow senior guard Matt Oesterich said, "the craziest part to me has been, people not expecting this out of us. Coming from one win last year in conference to advancing to the tournament."

For the first time in conference history three teams from the WIAC have made it to the Sweet-16. UW-Stevens Point, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville. The Pioneers return this late in the season for the first time since 1999, and for their return, they get to play from the comfort of their home floor. 

"It's the buzz around the community obviously with the team advancing to the Sweet 16," Said head coach Jeff Gard. "On top of it, the opportunity to host the Sweet 16, I think is the big thing."

The Platteville community knows good basketball. The Pioneers won four national titles (1991, 1995, 1998, 1999) in the mid 1990's under then head coach Bo Ryan.

The Pioneers will tip off against Nebraska Wesleyan on Friday at 7:30 at the Williams Fieldhouse on the campus of UW-Platteville. 

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