Horizon League Power Rankings (December 28 – January 3)

The Horizon League drop to 10th in Conference RPI this week.

Yet another strange week in the Horizon League.  Who’s #1 this week???

In descending order…

10. Youngstown State (Overall Record: 5-7, Conference Record: 1-3, RPI: 245)

Recent Results: Beat UIC 71-69, Lost to Loyola 83-53

The Penguins squeaked one out against UIC at home, but were then crushed in the Beeghly Center by Loyola.  It’s really tough to forecast Youngstown’s next D-I win.  How many wins will they be able to pull out in the Horizon League?  Unfortunately, they don’t get to play UIC at home every week.

Up Next: Friday at Valparaiso (8-5)

9. UIC (4-10, 0-3, 217)

Recent Results: Lost to Youngstown State 71-69, Lost to Cleveland State 83-59

UIC is struggling right now.  They’ve lost 7 of their last 8, and if not for their upset over Illinois, they’d probably be sitting in last place in these power rankings.  Being within a possession of Youngstown State in Youngstown keeps them in 9th for now, but they’re definitely walking on thin ice.  Who knows when they’ll win their first Horizon League game…

Up Next: Thursday vs. Wright State (7-6)

Rahmon Fletcher is hoping to turn this season around for the young Phoenix

8. Green Bay (6-9, 1-3, 180)

Recent Results: Lost to Detroit 79-56, Lost to Wright State 67-64, Beat Houston Baptist 77-61

The Phoenix have beaten three sub-320 RPI teams so far this year, and haven’t looked particularly good in any of them.  Their best win of the year (arguably of course) was over 4-9 Miami (OH).  Single digit wins this season isn’t out of the question, but I have faith they’ll get 10.  This can’t be how Rahmon Fletcher or Bryquis Perine were hoping to end their college careers.

Up Next: Saturday vs. Milwaukee (8-8)

7. Detroit (7-7, 2-1, 206)

Recent Results: Beat Green Bay 79-56, Lost to Milwaukee 84-81

Apparently the Titans are going to try to win most games without the three-ball.  Detroit only gets 19.4% of their points from three point shots.  That’s tough in the Horizon League where you have a number of teams who are trying to bury you with the three ball.  On top of their lack of perimeter shooting, they’re a poor defensive team.  Ken Pomeroy is even a little confused as he labels their defense scheme as inconclusive.

Up Next: Thursday at Loyola (10-5)

Kaylon Williams is hoping that his buzzer beating shot in Detroit was the turning point for Milwaukee's season.

6. Milwaukee (8-8, 3-2, 135)

Recent Results: Lost to Wright State 68-44, Beat Detroit 84-81, Beat Butler 76-52

What a week for the Panthers!  They travel to Dayton to take on Wright State, only to be blown out by Vaughn Duggins and company.  Then they head north and knock off Detroit in overtime.  Finally, they head back home and absolutely demoralize Butler to end their 22 conference game win streak.  What the hell happened in between Wright State and Detroit!?  Kaylon Williams happened…  17 point against Detroit including the game-tying three pointer to send it to overtime, and a triple-double against Butler (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 1 turnover!) shows that Kaylon is the difference maker on this team and it’s him, not Anthony Hill, that makes the Milwaukee offense go.

Up Next: Saturday at Green Bay (6-9)

5. Wright State (7-6, 2-1, 145)

Recent Results: Beat Milwaukee 68-44, Beat Green Bay 67-64

Thoroughly dismantling Milwaukee was the highlight to a great week for the Raiders.  Vaughn Duggins has been outstanding and the post play for Wright State has been up to the task so far.  It seems I may have underestimated their ability to defend a bit there… Oops!  The Raiders travel to Chicago for a couple of tough games this week.  We’ll see what they’re made of soon enough.

Up Next: Thursday at UIC (4-10)

4. Loyola (10-5, 1-3, 164)

Recent Results: Lost to Cleveland State 73-55, Beat Youngstown State 83-53

Another team with a turbulent week as Loyola has yet to prove they are among the upper echelon of teams in the Horizon League.  I’d be shocked to see them get to 20 wins this year, but they have a good shot at 18.  They’ll really need to prove that they’re capable of beating solid teams.  Six of their wins this year have come against teams with a sub-280 RPI, and their best win came against 6-6 Western Michigan.

Up Next: Thursday vs. Detroit (7-7)

3. Valparaiso (8-5, 2-1, 70)

Recent Results: Beat Ball State 69-52, Lost to Butler 76-59

Valpo had two really nice wins in a row over Oakland and then Ball State.  Then they followed it up with a dud against Butler.  I still like the Crusaders for third in the conference though.  Unfortunately, for them, I don’t see it getting any better than that.

Up Next: Friday vs. Youngstown State (5-7)

2. Butler (9-5, 2-1, 18)

Recent Results: Beat Valpo 76-59, Lost to Milwaukee 76-52

What a shame the let down in Milwaukee was for the Bulldogs.  It really hurts their chances at an at-large bid and puts serious doubt into their minds for Friday’s huge matchup against Cleveland State.  Milwaukee really played a nearly flawless game, but Butler really didn’t show up to play.  I’d be shocked if we didn’t see Butler looking to avenge their loss on Monday with a home court win over the Vikings.

Up Next: Friday vs. Cleveland State (13-1)

1. Cleveland State (13-1, 4-0, 27)

Recent Results: Beat Loyola 73-55, Beat UIC 83-59

And earn their keep they have.  The Vikings had no problem dispatching of their Chicago based foes this week and it all sets up for a huge matchup at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday.  Coach Gary Waters has his guys playing extremely efficient basketball.  We’ll see who the king of the conference is come Friday…

Up Next: Friday at Butler (9-5)

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