UWL hosts two Division 1 schools in ‘Battle by the Bluff’
Fans packed Mitchell Hall Dec. 16 to see some high-quality basketball. But they weren’t there to watch the Eagles. Instead, UW-La Crosse was a neutral site for two Division 1 schools, Kansas State and Arizona State, in what they called the “Battle by the Bluff.”
The teams played at UWL, thanks in part to Kansas State Associate Head Coach Brian Ostermann, a 1988 UWL graduate in physical education.
Both schools were looking to schedule a game in the area, where Ostermann started his coaching career. They collectively have five players who played high school ball 150 miles or less from La Crosse.
“It’s exciting for them to play in front of family and friends,” says Ostermann. “It’s also a great way to give back to UWL and the whole region by bringing D1 basketball to La Crosse.”
Ostermann started his now 30-year coaching career at Central High School in La Crosse. While he may not have had a home-court advantage, he was thrilled to be back at a place he loves.
“UWL gave me some very good life lessons in terms of instruction, and I can thank a lot of professors for that,” he says. “I still use my understanding of putting together a lesson and a game plan to prepare the team and share those life lessons I learned in college.”
Arizona State won the game 65-51.