Following the second full week of the season, the Horizon League is 34-21 against Division I opponents.
Plenty of movement in the rankings this week as will continue to be the case in the early part of the season.
In descending order…
10. UIC (3-3, 190)
Recent Results: Lost to Central Michigan 62-52, Beat Toledo 63-62
I know they have a .500 record so far, but I simply can’t be impressed by the Flames’ two victories over Toledo so far. Toledo is in the bottom 10 teams in the entire country. This is a team the Flames are supposed to beat, and with the help of a game-winning Robo Kreps three, fortunately they did. To be fair, this isn’t the same lowly UIC team from a year ago.
Up Next: Thursday at Valparaiso
9. Milwaukee (Record: 3-4, RPI: 246)
Recent Results: Lost to Western Michigan 67-55, Lost to Marquette 75-72
The Panthers drop to 9th despite performing admirably against cross-town rival Marquette on Saturday. Losing two home games in a week is never a good thing, especially when one of them comes to the hands of Western Michigan in the form of a blowout. Even though it still counts in the loss column, their game against Marquette revealed that Ja’Rob McCallum (19 points) is ready to step up.
Up Next: Thursday vs. Youngstown State
8. Wright State (2-3, 201)
Recent Results: Beat Oakland 82-79, Lost to Richmond 71-61, Lost to Southern Illinois 56-50
I’m not yet sure what to make of the Raiders. Obviously, they’re going to get destroyed in the post all season. They’re ranked 323rd in the nation in rebounds per game! The problem with that is they’re only making 40.1% of their shots… This will become a severe problem this week against Cincinnati and Detroit. Don’t be surprised to see them fall farther down this list.
Up Next: Wednesday at Cincinnati
7. Green Bay (2-3, 175)
Recent Results: Lost to IUPUI 63-46, Beat North Dakota State 71-69
Yikes! The Phoenix have had quite the up and down week. After being destroyed by a pretty pathetic IUPUI team, the Phoenix come back with a nail biter at home against North Dakota State. This team is going to take its lumps this year if Bryquis Perine can’t find a more consistent shooting stroke (38.2% from the field).
Up Next: Thursday vs. Cleveland State
5. Valparaiso (2-2, 61)
Recent Results: Lost to Ohio 78-75, Beat Northern Colorado 76-61, Beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 68-62
Sophomore G Ryan Broekhoff has been a breakout star for the Crusaders early in the season. In their loss against Ohio, the Australian sharpshooter tallied 24 points on 9-13 shooting and 7 rebounds. One point of concern however, has been Brandon Wood‘s dismal shooting. He had been making up for it with brilliant point guard work until Saturday when he laid an egg against Texas A&M-CC (4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist). Once he snaps out of it, the Crusaders will be a well oiled offensive machine.
Up Next: Thursday at UIC
5. Youngstown State (4-1, 149)
Recent Results: Beat Toledo 73-67, Beat St. Francis (PA) 91-63
Break up the Penguins! Led by senior G Vytas Sulskis, the Penguins have a whole new attitude this year and have been the surprise of the Horizon League early. Damian Eargle has been a shot-blocking force and is a strong presence down low, while Devonte Maymon has added the scoring punch necessary to see his team in the top 100 of Division I teams in scoring so far this season. The schedule gets a tad more difficult in the coming weeks. We’ll see if the Penguins are for real.
SPOILER ALERT: they’re not
Up Next: Thursday at Milwaukee
4. Detroit (3-3, 150)
Recent Results: Beat Albany 84-82, Beat Bowling Green 71-62, Beat Niagara 96-77
It took them a little while, but it looks like the Titans are starting to get it together. Despite needing 2 overtimes to dispatch of the mediocre Great Danes of Albany, Detroit has been on fire offensively. Eli Holman has looked like an all conference player, and as a team, the Titans have the 18th most rebounds per game in the country.
Up Next: Wednesday vs. Akron
3. Butler (2-2, 76)
Recent Results: Beat Siena 70-57, Lost to Evansville 71-68
Without Ronald Nored, who could miss up to another week with a concussion, the Bulldogs look a bit lost on offense. Shelvin Mack struggled to get open and was forcing shots (3-13 from the field) that just couldn’t find the bottom of the net. At this point, Butler looks like it could lose by 30 to defending champion Duke, who they will face in a rematch this week. This is not the cinderella story of yesteryear.
Up Next: Wednesday at Loyola
2. Loyola (7-0, 69)
Recent Results: Beat Alabama State 74-46, Beat San Francisco 63-62
The Ramblers have taken a similar path to last season in non-conference play. The question again is, can they continue their dominant play to the conference portion of the schedule? Last week I mentioned Jordan Hicks’ true shooting percentage. This week I need to point out G Terrance Hill‘s. The man has a 70.2% true shooting percentage, which highlights just how efficient he has been from the field. Eventually, some of these numbers will come back to earth. Rambler fans are hoping it doesn’t happen until AFTER their upcoming tussle with Butler.
Up Next: Wednesday vs. Butler
1. Cleveland State (8-0, 25)
Recent Results: Beat Akron 64-51, Beat St. Bonaventure 69-51, Beat Robert Morris 58-53
Here you have it. The Horizon League’s top team after this week. Norris Cole has officially put this team on his back. In the last 7 days, Cole has averaged 21.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2 steals per game. Two key road league games this week will be a true test for the Vikings, but they could legitimately win both if they can get consistent play from Aaron Pogue, and dominating guard play from their trio of sharpshooters Cole, Jeremy Montgomery and Tre Harmon.
Up Next: Thursday at Green Bay
Filed under: Horizon League | Tagged: Aaron Pogue, Brandon Wood, Bryquis Perine, Butler, Cleveland State, Damian Eargle, Devote Maymon, Eli Holman, Green Bay, Ja'Rob McCallum, Jordan Hicks, Loyola, Milwaukee, Norris Cole, Robo Kreps, Ronald Nored, Ryan Broekhoff, Shelvin Mack, Terrance Hill, UIC, Valparaiso, Vytas Sulskis, Wright State, Youngstown State |