The Horizon League dropped again to 11th in Conference RPI this week.
There’s no doubt the Horizon League is as good talent-wise as it’s ever been, and this past week, we saw that in the results.
In descending order…
10. UIC (Overall Record: 4-12, Conference Record: 0-5, RPI: 255)
Recent Results: Lost to Wright State 71-63, Lost to Detroit 72-69
Five games into the conference schedule and UIC is winless. When will their first win come? Three upcoming road games make it seem likely it won’t be any time soon. In new coach Howard Moore’s first year, the talent level just isn’t there yet. There are pieces in place, however, that should give UIC fans some hope for the future.
Up Next: Thursday at Milwaukee (8-9)
9. Youngstown State (5-9, 1-5, 245)
Recent Results: Lost to Valparaiso 79-55, Lost to Butler 84-79
The Penguins were just a couple of possessions short of a major upset over Butler on Sunday. While Youngstown State is clearly not the most talented team in the Horizon League, they obviously have enough to make any game interesting. However, it will be tough sledding for them up until the end of January.
Up Next: Tuesday vs. Wilberforce
8. Loyola (10-7, 1-7, 197)
Recent Results: Lost to Detroit 83-71, Lost to Wright State 58-41
New year…Same results. Loyola just can’t seem to replicate their non-conference success when the conference portion of the schedule comes around. Much of this comes from the fact that the teams in the Horizon League are MUCH better than most of the teams they’re playing in the non-conference games. Coach Jim Whitesell isn’t doing his Ramblers any favors by preparing them for a low-major conference schedule. This is the Horizon League, not the MEAC!
Up Next: Thursday vs. Detroit (7-7)
7. Green Bay (7-9, 2-3, 166)
Recent Results: Beat Milwaukee 69-64
Beating in-state rival Milwaukee on their home floor is always a nice feeling for Green Bay, but the true test will be whether or not they can avoid a letdown against the two Chicago teams this week. This part of the schedule provides the Phoenix with a nice opportunity to get some conference wins before heading to Indiana to take on Butler and Valpo. Senior leaders Rahmon Fletcher and Bryquis Perine came up huge against Milwaukee.
Up Next: Thursday vs. Loyola (10-7)
6. Milwaukee (8-9, 3-3, 135)
Recent Results: Lost to Green Bay 69-64
Much like Green Bay, the Panthers will host the two Chicago teams this week and look to pad the conference record before traveling to Indiana. Losing to rival Green Bay was a bit of a disappointment for coach Rob Jeter’s team, but they’ll look ahead to UIC for what they hope will be a blowout win. If they’re upset by the Flames, watch the Panthers slide back down this list…
Up Next: Thursday vs. UIC (4-12)
5. Detroit (9-7, 4-1, 155)
Recent Results: Beat Loyola 83-71, Beat UIC 72-69
The Titans did well to sweep the Chicago teams this week as it puts them atop the league in a tie for first place. Unfortunately for Detroit, they’ll be without star big man Eli Holman as he was suspended for one game by the league for his involvement in a scuffle with UIC forward Brad Birton in their most recent game. This is a huge blow for a team looking to shut down Matt Howard and Butler’s potent offense.
Up Next: Friday vs. Butler (11-5)+
4. Wright State (9-6, 4-1, 145)
Recent Results: Beat UIC 71-63, Beat Loyola 58-41
Who’s the hottest team in the Horizon League? That’s right… It’s the Wright State Raiders who’ve won 7 of their last 8 games. The Raiders will get a major test this week though as they host both Valpo and Butler. Can N’Gai Evans continue his outstanding point guard play and push Wright State ahead of Valpo on this list? We’ll find out Friday…
Up Next: Friday vs. Valparaiso (10-5)
3. Valparaiso (10-5, 4-1, 58)
Recent Results: Beat Youngstown State 79-55, Beat Cleveland State 64-58
The Crusaders are rolling. They took care of business at home against Cleveland State to keep them tied atop the Horizon League. Senior guard Howard Little is doing much of the dirty work, and coach Homer Drew has a good thing going. The key will be if they can at least split in their four games against Butler and Cleveland State. So far, so good…
Up Next: Friday at Wright State (9-6)
2. Cleveland State (13-3, 4-2, 30)
Recent Results: Lost to Butler 79-56, Lost to Valparaiso 64-58
This is not what the Vikings had hoped for. In what they knew would be a tough week, they wanted to prove their mettle traveling to Indiana to take on their two biggest challengers in the Horizon League race this year. Fortunately they’ll have a chance at redemption in about a month, but until then, the Penguins await.
Up Next: Saturday at Youngstown State (5-9)
1. Butler (11-5, 4-1, 26)
Recent Results: Beat Cleveland State 79-56, Beat Youngstown State 84-79
Butler is a vulnerable team this year, and there’s certainly no guarantee they’ll win the conference. Beating Cleveland State put them in the right direction, but they’ll need to continue to take care of business against 4-1 Detroit. At this point, it would be hard to put the Bulldogs in the tournament should they lose in the HL tournament. They’ll need to avoid more performances like those against Milwaukee and Youngstown State.
Up Next: Friday at Detroit (9-7)
Filed under: Horizon League | Tagged: Brad Birton, Bryquis Perine, Butler Bulldogs, Cleveland State Vikings, Detroit Titans, Eli Holman, Green Bay Phoenix, Homer Drew, Howard Little, Howard Moore, Jim Whitesell, Loyola Ramblers, Matt Howard, Milwaukee Panthers, N'Gai Evans, Rahmon Fletcher, Rob Jeter, UIC Flames, Valparaiso Crusaders, Wright State Raiders, Youngstown State Penguins | Leave a Comment »