Horizon League Power Rankings (February 1-7)

The Horizon League’s RPI actually slipped this past week to the 12th best conference in America.  The Missouri Valley Conference just inched ahead.

In descending order…

10. UIC (Overall Record: 5-18, Conference Record: 1-11, RPI: 278)

Recent Results: Lost to Detroit 77-63, Lost to Wright State 69-63, Lost 72-65

It looks like this could be the final resting place for the Flames.  Despite playing quite competitively at Wright State and Butler, they weren’t able to pull out the victory.  Their best chance at another victory probably comes next week when they host the Loyola Ramblers. Projected Conference Finish: 1-17 (10th)

Up Next: Thursday vs. Green Bay (11-12)

9. Youngstown State (6-15, 1-11, 273)

Recent Results: Beat Butler 62-60, Lost to Valparaiso 86-78 (OT), Lost to Wright State 74-70

Beat Butler was simply a win that nobody in their right mind saw coming.  Nevertheless, the Penguins came out victorious.  This has to be their signature win of the season, and at this point, with improved play, they might just have a shot at another conference win. They played three of the top 4 or 5 teams in the league down to the wire this week; a great sign of improvement.  Projected Finish: 3-14 (9th)

Up Next: Saturday at Cleveland State (19-4)

8. Loyola (13-11, 4-9, 212)

Recent Results: Lost to Wright State 76-63, Lost to Detroit 81-71

The Ramblers are unquestionably the 8th team in the conference.  There were times this year when they could have argued for a higher spot, but no more.  They only have one win against a team higher than them on this list, Milwaukee, and they’ll have a shot to sweep them on Thursday.  Projected Finish: 6-12 (8th)

Up Next: Thursday vs. Milwaukee (13-11)

7. Green Bay (11-12, 6-6, 137)

Recent Results: Lost to Milwaukee 88-75

Getting drubbed by rival Milwaukee is tough to swallow, and the schedule ahead is tough.  The Phoenix will need to upset Butler or Valparaiso at home to have a chance at 6th in the league.  It doesn’t seem likely at this point, but isn’t this where we expected Green Bay to finish all along? Projected Finish: 9-9 (7th)

Up Next: Thursday at UIC (5-18)

6. Detroit (13-12, 8-6, 170)

Recent Results: Beat UIC 77-63, Beat Loyola 81-71, Beat Cleveland State 81-78

The Titans have a tough schedule ahead of them, but this week was HUGE.  They’ll need Eli Holman to stay out of foul trouble to lead them against Butler and Valpo and get the coveted first round home game in the Horizon League Tournament.  Projected Finish: 10-8 (5th)

Up Next: Thursday at Valparaiso (15-7)

 

Many will be battling for position in the Horizon League Tournament.

5. Milwaukee (13-11, 8-5, 121)

Recent Results: Beat Green Bay 88-75

The Panthers are HOT, and it couldn’t come at a better time.  They’ll travel to Chicago for two winnable games this week and an outside chance at a first round bye in the tournament.  They’ll need more of this from Anthony Hill.   Projected Finish: 11-7 (4th)

Up Next: Thursday at Loyola (13-11)

4. Butler (15-9, 8-5, 43)

Butler fans felt dejected after dropping one to lowly Youngstown State.

Recent Results: Lost to Youngstown State 62-60, Beat Cleveland State 73-61, Beat UIC 72-65

Clearly this isn’t the same team that went to the National Championship wire against Duke, but what frustrates many Butler fans is the thought that 3 of these 5 starters are from that very team.  Butler still hasn’t found a consistent 3rd scorer, and Shelvin Mack hasn’t had the season many had hoped for.  The Horizon League Tournament is where they’ll have to do their damage.  Projected Finish: 13-5 (3rd)

Up Next: Thursday vs. Wright State (15-9)

3. Wright State (15-9, 10-4, 99)

Recent Results: Beat Loyola 76-63, Beat UIC 69-63, Beat Youngstown State 74-70

The Raiders have exceeded my expectations all season, and one would think I might learn from my lapse in judgment.  But something tells me this simply won’t end well for the Raiders.  I’m thinking about a 4 game conference losing streak to end the season.  Projected Finish: 10-8 (6th)

Up Next: Thursday vs. Butler (15-9)

2. Valparaiso (15-7, 9-3, 54)

Recent Results: Lost to Cleveland State 76-65, Beat Youngstown State 86-78 (OT)

It’s really tough to see where Valpo ends up at this point.  There are a number of games left on their schedule that could go either way.  I’m going to lean towards them finishing the season strong, but that’s far from a sure thing at this point.  Projected Finish: 14-4 (Tied for 1st)

Up Next: Thursday vs. Detroit (13-12)

1. Cleveland State (19-4, 10-4, 34)

Recent Results: Beat Valparaiso 76-65, Lost to Butler 73-61, Lost to Detroit 81-78

The Horizon League regular season title is completely up for grabs.  Five teams are within a game and a half of first and even Milwaukee controls their own destiny at this point.  Still, to me it looks to be a two team race.  Look for the Vikings to finish strong.  Projected Finish: 14-4 (Tied for 1st)

Up Next: Saturday vs. Youngstown State (6-15)

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