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NCAA tournament team previews: Milwaukee Panthers

Jordan AaronJordan Aaron has been scoring at a blistering pace since returning from a team-imposed four game suspension to end the regular season. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)

As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. For more teams, click here.

Record: 21-13, 7-9 in Horizon

RPI/SOS: 132/212

Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 104.4 (179th) / 105.1 (173rd)

Seed: No. 15 in East

Impact player: Jordan Aaron. 15.0 ppg. 4.8 fouls drawn per 40 minutes.

The Case For:

After winning at Horizon regular season champion Green Bay on Feb. 8, Milwaukee lost its best player, Jordan Aaron, for four games because he violated a team rule. Fortunately for the Panthers, Aaron returned in time for the opening round of the conference tournament. Aaron had played well most of the season, but he has elevated his game in the postseason, averaging 20.5 points in 38.8 minutes over four games. The last two times (2005, ’06) the Panthers made the NCAA tournament, they won at least one game. As a No. 12 seed in 2005, under former coach Bruce Pearl, they made it all the way to the Sweet 16. Current coach Rob Jeter guided Milwaukee to the Horizon’s No. 1 seed and an appearance in the conference tournament title game in 2011, but the Panthers lost to eventual national champion runner-up Butler.

The Case Against:

In Milwaukee’s toughest non-conference game, at Wisconsin on Dec. 11, the Panthers scored just 0.80 points per possession, allowed 1.20 and lost by 26. There’s nothing about Milwaukee’s statistical profile that jumps off the page. Milwaukee defended well enough to edge Green Bay and No. 2 seed Wright State in the conference tournament, but the Panthers might not be able to score enough to keep up with a high-seeded opponent. Milwaukee will need Aaron to go off for at least 25 points, and even that probably won’t be enough to keep things interesting.

SI Prediction: Lose in second round to Villanova

View complete bracket predictions from SI.com’s panel of experts

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