Is it UNI or NIU? Basketball Matchup This Season Set To Confuse
As someone who has covered UNI sports pretty extensively for the last five years, there is one thing that I've learned Panther fans everywhere absolutely detest.
And that is when people from different schools, fanbases, or parts of the country refer to their beloved university as NIU.
It is the UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA, DAMN IT. GET IT TOGETHER.
For those folks who love to watch Coach Ben Jacobson and the UNI men's basketball team, you're about to get an earful.
As shared yesterday by Rocco Miller of bracketeer.org, the Huskies and Panthers will face off this coming season on November 26 in the McLeod Center -- and for a few years to come as well.
If there's one thing to be prepared for when this matchup comes around it's that if one of Eric Braley or Brad Wells of Around the Corner Productions (two UNI grads who have been calling Panther sports for years) aren't on the call, whoever announces this game is going to be in for one hell of a night.
A word of advice to whomever that may be -- don't abbreviate. Say Northern Iowa or Northern Illinois all night. It'll be much simpler.
The Panthers are coming off their second regular season Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) title in three years and an NIT berth. They finished the year with an overall record of 2012 and 14-4 in conference play. They lose their three leading scorers from last season, as AJ Green (18.8 ppg) is headed to the NBA Draft, Noah Carter (15 ppg) transferred to Mizzou, and Trae Berhow (10.3 ppg) graduated.
Their top returning scorer from last season is Nate Heise, who put up 8.6 points per game and grabbed down 4.6 rebounds. MVC Sixth Man of the Year Bowen Born returns and former first team all-conference big man Austin Phyfe is expected to be back for his sixth year as well.
Northern Illinois finished the year 9-21 last season with a 6-14 record in the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies return their leading scorer from 2021 in guard KeShawn Williams, who put up 16.3 points per game during his sophomore campaign. They lost their second-leading scorer in Trendon Hankerson (11.4 ppg) who transferred to Akron.
Last season was the first for Northern Illinois under head coach Rashon Duro. Duro and the Huskies have signed seven young men to be part of the Huskies' 2022-2023 recruiting class.