Northern Iowa's Jake Koch, left, hugs his brother, Adam Koch, right, after Northern Iowa won 69-67 over Kansas in an NCAA college tournament basketball game Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Oklahoma City, Okla. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

The University of Northern Iowa men's basketball program is making its seventh appearance in the Division I NCAA Tournament. Here's a recap of the Panthers' previous trips to the Big Dance:


Head coach: Eldon Miller

Season record: 23-9 overall, 6-6 Mid-Continent

Players in the rotation: Cedric McCullough, Steve Phyfe, Jason Reese, Dale Turner, Troy Muilenburg, Maurice Newby, Jonathan Cox, Cam Johnson, Brad Hill, Nick Pace.

Regular season recap: UNI was just 6-6 during the Mid-Continent Conference season, but the Panthers caught fire in the league tournament on their home court in the UNI-Dome. In the first round, UNI fought off Illinois-Chicago 99-94 in a triple-overtime thriller. In the semifinals, the Panthers edged Missouri State in another game that went down to the wire, 63-61. That sent UNI into the finals against Wisconsin-Green Bay, which was then coached by the legendary Dick Bennett, whose son, Tony, is now the head coach at second-ranked Virginia. The Panthers won, 53-45, and punched their first ticket to the NCAA Division I tournament.

Tournament site: Richmond, Va.

First round: Seeded just 14th, UNI stunned a third-seeded Missouri team coached by former Panther coach Norm Stewart, 74-71. Jason Reese had a big game with 18 points and 15 rebounds, Troy Muilenburg added 16 points, Brad Hill chipped in 11 and Dale Turner added 10. Missouri star Anthony Peeler finished with just three points, although the Tigers got 21 and 20 from all-Big 12 standouts Nathan Buntin and Doug Smith, respectively.

Second round: The Panthers almost pulled off another upset, but Willie Burton's offensive rebound and putback in the final seconds saved sixth-seeded Minnesota as the Gophers won, 81-78. Burton finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds on 13 of 17 shooting. Reese led UNI with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Muilenburg finished with 20 points.


Head coach: Greg McDermott

Season record: 21-10 overall, 12-6 Missouri Valley

Players in the rotation: Matt Schneiderman, David Gruber, Ben Jacobson, Brooks McKowen, Erik Crawford, John Little, Matt Bennett, Pete Schmit, Grant Stout, Jon Godfread.

Regular-season recap: McDermott's third team turned a major page in the program's history book when it started a three-year run of NCAA appearances. Seeded second for the MVC tournament, UNI roared past Illinois State and Wichita State to make the finals where the Panthers won a double-overtime battle over Missouri State, 79-74.

Tournament site: Milwaukee, Wis.

First round: Third-seeded Georgia Tech had too much firepower for UNI, again a No. 14 seed, although the Panthers pushed the Yellow Jackets to the end before falling, 65-60. Gruber had 16 points, Schneiderman 15 and Crawford 12 for UNI while four players scored in double figures for balanced Georgia Tech.


Head coach: Greg McDermott

Season record: 21-11 overall, 11-7 MVC

Players in the rotation: Grant Stout, Eric Coleman, Erik Crawford, Ben Jacobson, Chris Foster, John Little, Pete Schmit, Brooks McKowen, Jon Godfread.

Regular-season recap: A strong non-conference season that included a win over Iowa State and narrow losses to Cincinnati (double-overtime) and 17th-ranked Iowa helped build an RPI that would prove valuable. UNI experienced an up and down MVC season and fell to Missouri State in the quarterfinals of the MVC tournament. However, the Panthers' credentials were good enough for the NCAA selection committee, which gave them an at-large berth and a No. 11 seed.

Tournament site: Oklahoma City, Okla.

First round: It was almost a rerun of the previous year as UNI fell to sixth-seeded Wisconsin, 57-52. Jacobson went off for 20 points and Crawford had 13, but the Panthers got nothing off the bench.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member


Head coach: Greg McDermott

Season record: 23-10, 11-7

Players in the rotation: Grant Stout, Eric Coleman, John Little, Ben Jacobson, Brooks McKowen, Erik Crawford, Jared Josten, Travis Brown.

Regular-season recap: UNI got off to a 10-1 start, including a 67-63 overtime win over 12th-ranked Iowa and a victory over LSU. After another bumpy ride through the Valley, the Panthers were knocked out in the semifinals of the league tournament by Southern Illinois, 66-46 in overtime. Again, they were rewarded for their body of work with another at-large NCAA berth.

Tournament site: Dayton, Ohio

First round: Seeded 10th, UNI drew No. 23 Georgetown in the tournament. Little tallied 17 points and Jacobson 14, but the Hoyas' size inside with 7-footer Roy Hibbert controlled the game as Georgetown fought off the Panthers, 54-49. Hibbert finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.


Head coach: Ben Jacobson

Season record: 23-11 overall, 14-4 Missouri Valley

Players in the rotation: Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Adam Koch, Jordan Eglseder, Ali Farokhmanesh, Johnny Moran, Travis Brown, kerwin Dunham, Lucas O'Rear, Adam Rodenberg

Regular-season recap: Like McDermott, Jacobson's third team broke down the door to another NCAA appearance. These Panthers might have arrived a year earlier than expected as they overcame non-league losses to Marquette, Iowa State and Iowa by storming through the MVC season and winning the Valley tournament with a 60-57 overtime triumph over Illinois State.

Tournament site: Portland, Ore.

First round: Seeded 12th, UNI got knocked out in the first round again, and again by a meager five-point margin as Purdue eded the Panthers 61-56. Eglseder scored 13 points, Ahelegbe 11 and Farokhmanesh 10.


Head coach: Ben Jacobson

Season record: 30-5 overall, 15-3 MVC

Players in the rotation: Ali Farokhmanesh, Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Johnny Moran, Adam Koch, Jordan Eglseder, Jake Koch, Kerwin Dunham, Marc Sonnen, Lucas O'Rear, Anthony James.

Regular-season recap: With nearly everyone back from the 2008-09 season and a trio of newcomers who would eventually make a big impact in Jake Koch, Sonnen and James, expectations were high for this group. The Panthers didn't disappoint. They lost their second game of the season to DePaul, then reeled off 15 straight wins, including victories over Iowa State and Iowa. For good measure, they stormed through the MVC tournament, beating Wichita State in the finals, 67-52, for the automatic NCAA berth.

Tournament sites: Oklahoma City, Okla., St. Louis

First round: Seeded ninth, the Panthers notched the program's first NCAA win since 1990 and just the second overall with a 69-66 victory over an explosive UNLV team. Farokhmanesh had 17 points and a couple of key 3-pointers, while Ahelegbe addd 13 and Adam Koch 11.

Second round: In a game that will go down as perhaps the greatest win in the program's history, UNI stunned top-ranked and top-seeded Kansas, 69-67. Farokhmanesh had 16 points and a couple more daggers from deep, while Eglseder added 14 and Jake Koch 10 as UNI got scoring contributions from nine players in all. Kansas, despite a star-studded lineup of future NBA players that included Xavier Henry, Sherron Collins, Marcus Morris, Cole Aldrich, Tyshawn Taylor, Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and Markieff Morris, couldn't overcome the determined and fearless Panthers.

Third round: UNI's first trip to the Sweet 16 ended with a 59-52 defeat at the hands of 13th-ranked Michigan State. Adam Koch had 13 points and Ahelegbe 12, but the Spartans kept Farokhmanesh under wraps and ended the Panthers' magical run.

Get Breaking News delivered directly to you.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Load comments