The Horizon League holds steady at 11th in Conference RPI this week.
In descending order…
10. UIC (Overall Record: 4-15, Conference Record: 0-8, RPI: 266)
Recent Results: Lost to Loyola 68-59
Another dismal season for the Flames. A bummer of a way to go out for seniors Paul Carter and Robo Kreps. UIC will be hard-pressed to reach 5 wins this season. Crazy that one of them came against Illinois. Bizarre…
Up Next: Thursday vs. Cleveland State (16-3)
9. Youngstown State (5-12, 1-8, 260)
Recent Results: Lost to Wright State 66-62, Lost to Detroit 73-69
The Penguins actually put together a rather competitive week. They only lost to Detroit and Wright State by a combined 8 points. Senior Vytas Sulskis just keeps chugging along, and deserves some consideration for an all-conference team.
Up Next: Thursday at Loyola (12-8)
8. Loyola (12-8, 3-6, 194)
Recent Results: Beat UIC 68-59
Loyola gets their second win in a row this week, albeit against the worst team in the conference. Senior Andy Polka has played quite well the last couple games, and if Loyola is going to make a run in this league, this is the stretch that they’ll need to do it.
Up Next: Thursday vs. Youngstown State (5-12)
7. Milwaukee (10-11, 5-5, 130)
Recent Results: Lost to Valparaiso 60-43, Beat Butler 86-80
I’m just not sure what to say about this team. I don’t know what motivates them to beat teams like Butler, and just get completely blown out in other games. It seems to be a lack of mental toughness, but how does that explain their wins over the Bulldogs? If anyone can logically explain how the Panthers have gotten to this point, please let me know. Either way, they’re in the thick of a tight conference race for a first-round bye in the conference tournament
Up Next: Friday vs. Detroit (10-10)
6. Detroit (10-10, 5-4, 167)
Recent Results: Lost to Cleveland State 81-69, Beat Youngstown State 73-69
A .500 record is too low for the talent this team boasts. That has to fall squarely at the feet of Coach Ray McCallum Sr. However, if they can come out of Wisconsin with a sweep this weekend, it will go a long way towards their standing in the Horizon League with UIC and Loyola to follow Milwaukee and Green Bay.
Up Next: Friday at Milwaukee (10-11)
5. Green Bay (10-10, 5-4, 131)
Recent Results: Lost to Butler 81-75, Beat Valparaiso 63-61
Brian Wardle has done a great job with his squad this year. He was left with two great senior guards, and absolutely nothing else. He’s gotten good production from his young players, and it’s obvious that they continue to improve as the season goes on. However, I don’t expect Green Bay to end up in the top half of the league come late February.
Up Next: Friday vs. Wright State (11-8)
4. Wright State (11-8, 6-3, 100)
Recent Results: Beat Youngstown State 66-62, Lost to Cleveland State 65-46
Getting blown out at Cleveland State was not what new coach Billy Donlon was hoping for. They’ll have the chance to bounce back in what is shaping up to be a very important week in Wisconsin. Vaughn Duggins is the heart and soul of this team and will likely find himself on one of the two All-Conference teams at the end of the year.
Up Next: Friday at Green Bay (10-10)
3. Butler (13-7, 6-3, 41)
Recent Results: Beat Green Bay 81-75, Lost to Milwaukee 86-80
Getting swept by Milwaukee is the reason Butler has no chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Fortunately, they still can earn their way in the Horizon League tournament, but it’ll be an uphill climb. Cleveland State, Valparaiso, and apparently Milwaukee will have a lot to say about Butler making it back to the “big dance.”
Up Next: Saturday at Valparaiso (13-6)
2. Valparaiso (13-6, 7-2, 57)
Recent Results: Beat Milwaukee 60-43, Lost to Green Bay 63-61
The Crusaders drop a spot due to their home loss to the hands of the Green Bay Phoenix, but they’re still tied for first in the standings. This week is perhaps the biggest week of the season so far for the Crusaders. They’re 7-2 and will take on Butler AND Cleveland State in the next two games.
Up Next: Saturday vs. Butler (13-7)
1. Cleveland State (16-3, 7-2, 32)
Recent Results: Beat Detroit 81-69, Beat Wright State 65-46
Cleveland State probably doesn’t have the signature victory to earn an at-large bid at this point. Hopefully, a victory over Butler, Valparaiso, and the BracketBuster can help them earn that respect. The Vikings have won three in a row, and traveling to Chicago this week should improve that to five in a row. Norris Cole has been the best guard in the league this year.
Up Next: Thursday at UIC (4-15)
Filed under: Horizon League Tagged: | Andy Polka, Billy Donlon, Brian Wardle, Butler Bulldogs, Cleveland State Vikings, Detroit Titans, Green Bay Phoenix, Loyola Ramblers, Milwaukee Panthers, Norris Cole, Paul Carter, Ray McCallum Sr., Robo Kreps, UIC Flames, Valparaiso Crusaders, Vaughn Duggins, Vytas Sulskis, Wright State Raiders, Youngstown State Penguins