Horizon League Rankings (February 8-14)

The Horizon League grabs position in the conference RPI ranks inching ahead of the Missouri Valley Conference for 11th this week.

Which Horizon League team will be the Cinderella in this year's NCAA Tournament?

In descending order…

10. UIC (Overall Record: 6-20, Conference Record: 2-13, RPI: 277)

Recent Results: Beat Green Bay 63-61 (OT), Lost to Milwaukee 70-59

The Flames have a tough stretch to end the season, but coach Howard Moore has his team playing tough to the end.  UIC pulled out a gritty overtime win over Green Bay earlier this week before losing to Milwaukee.  Can they play spoiler late in the season with games against Butler and Valpo?  Projected Conference Finish: 2-16 (10th); no postseason tournament beyond Horizon League

Up Next: Wednesday vs. Loyola (14-12)

9. Youngstown State (6-17, 2-13, 266)

Recent Results: Lost to Cleveland State 86-76

The ‘Guins played Cleveland State tough in Cleveland and will be a tough team to play at the end of the season.  They have a very real chance at upsetting Green Bay and/or Milwaukee on their home court.  Projected Finish: 3-15 (9th); no postseason

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

8. Loyola (14-12, 5-10, 214)

Recent Results: Lost to Milwaukee 66-57, Beat Green Bay 79-62

The Ramblers were spanked by Milwaukee in a revenge game earlier this week.  They truly lack a dependable point guard at this point as Geoff McCammon, Andy Polka, and Ben Averkamp really aren’t the problem.  Projected Finish: 6-12 (8th); no postseason

Up Next: Wednesday at UIC (6-20)

7. Green Bay (11-14, 6-8, 164)

Recent Results: Lost to UIC 63-61 (OT), Lost to Loyola 79-62

Green Bay has the toughest schedule of anyone down the stretch.  To get to 7 wins will be an accomplishment as they have Butler, Valpo, Youngstown State, and Cleveland State left on the schedule.  Projected Finish: 6-12 (7th); no postseason

Up Next: Tuesday vs. Butler (17-9)

6. Detroit (13-14, 8-8, 151)

Recent Results: Lost to Valparaiso 82-74, Lost to Butler 66-51

Detroit has, undoubtedly, one of the most talented starting lineups in the Horizon League.  They might have THE most talented.  So, what’s keeping them at 8-8 in conference?  The problem is, things don’t seem to be getting any better for the Titans.  Projected Finish: 9-9 (6th); no postseason

Up Next: Wednesday vs. Youngstown State (6-17)

5. Wright State (15-11, 10-6, 106)

Recent Results: Lost to Butler 71-63, Lost to Valparaiso 58-56

Originally I projected a four game losing streak to end the conference season for the Raiders, but I think they’ll take care of business against Detroit to end the season right.  Vaughn Duggins has had a 1st team All-Conference type of season for coach Billy Donlon.  Projected Finish: 11-7 (5th); no postseason

Up Next: Wednesday vs. Cleveland State (20-5)

4. Butler (17-9, 10-5, 45)

Recent Results: Beat Wright State 71-63, Beat Detroit 66-51

The Bulldogs have won four in a row now and play three of the four worst teams in the league in the next two weeks.  Look for Butler to finish strong and take a seven game winning streak into the conference tournament.  Projected Finish: 13-5 (3rd); NCAA Tournament Auto Bid

Up Next: Tuesday at Green Bay (11-14)

3. Milwaukee (15-11, 10-5, 109)

Recent Results: Beat Loyola 66-57, Beat UIC 70-59

Butler’s hot streak is eclipsed only by Milwaukee six (!) game winning streak.  The Panthers are hot, and look capable of beating any team in the league at this point.  They have a shot at a first-round bye in the league tournament, but the road won’t be easy.  They finish the season on a two game Ohio road trip.   Projected Finish: 12-6 (4th); CIT

Up Next: Wednesday vs. Valparaiso (17-7)

2. Cleveland State (20-5, 11-4, 37)

Recent Results: Beat Youngstown State 86-76

The Vikings probably need to finish alone in first place to take the Horizon League title as their tie breaker with Valpo doesn’t fall in their favor as of right now.  A lot can happen between now and then, but they’ll need help.  Their schedule is manageable but will provide some tests.  Projected Finish: 14-4 (2nd); NIT

Up Next: Wednesday at Wright State (15-11)

Can the Crusaders handle the bright lights of crunch time?

1. Valparaiso (17-7, 11-3, 49)

Recent Results: Beat Detroit 82-74, Beat Wright State 58-56

The Crusaders have an easy finish to end the season with the Milwaukee Panthers the only road block on the way to a Horizon League crown.  Can Homer Drew’s team handle the pressure and finish strong?  Projected Finish: 14-4 (1st); NIT

Up Next: Wednesday at Milwaukee (15-11)

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