Horizon League Power Rankings (February 15-21)

The Horizon League holds steady in the conference RPI ranks remaining ahead of the Missouri Valley Conference for 11th this week.

In descending order…

10. UIC (Overall Record: 6-22, Conference Record: 2-15, RPI: 291)

Recent Results: Lost to Loyola 67-66 (OT), Lost to Butler 79-52

With just one game left on the schedule for the Flames, it looks like a certainty they’ll finish last in the league for the tournament.  Their likely draw for the first round of the tournament will be Valpo or Butler who they are 0-3 against this season.  Projected Conference Finish: 2-16 (10th); no postseason

Up Next: Saturday at Valparaiso (18-9)

9. Youngstown State (7-18, 2-14, 272)

Recent Results: Lost to Detroit 91-79, Beat Bowling Green 83-76

The Penguins are toiling at 2-14 in conference, but they have two home games left, and I think they win at least one of them.  Projected Finish: 3-15 (9th); no postseason

Up Next: Thursday vs. Green Bay (12-16)

8. Loyola (15-13, 6-10, 213)

Recent Results: Beat UIC 67-66 (OT), Lost to St. Peters 71-67

The Ramblers only have one win against a Horizon League team in the top half of the conference.  They’re a below average team in an above average conference…  Projected Finish: 6-12 (8th); no postseason

Up Next: Thursday at Valparaiso (18-9)

7. Green Bay (12-16, 7-9, 190)

Recent Results: Lost to Butler 64-62, Lost to Southern Illinois 61-60, Beat Valparaiso 81-80 (OT)

After losing two straight games to game winning baskets by the opposing team, you can imagine how hard Coach Brian Wardle’s heart was pumping in his chest when he found his team going to overtime against 11-4 Valparaiso.  This time, the Phoenix were on the other side of the drama; much to the delight of Milwaukee Panther fans everywhere.  Projected Finish: 7-11 (7th); no postseason

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

6. Detroit (14-15, 9-8, 159)

Recent Results: Beat Youngstown State 91-79, Lost to Drake 84-76

Do you realize that the Titans have exactly TWO wins over teams in the RPI top 150 all year?!  They surprised Cleveland State earlier this month, but before that their only other decent win was on December 4th against Wright State.  Their last chance at another top-150 win comes on Friday at Wright State.  I don’t see it happening…   Projected Finish: 9-9 (6th); no postseason

Up Next: Friday at Wright State (16-12)

5. Wright State (16-12, 10-7, 111)

Recent Results: Lost to Cleveland State 74-72, Beat Hofstra 82-56

Wright State is still playing really good basketball.  After losing to Valpo, Butler, and Cleveland St. by a combined 12 points (two of them on the road), they then went out and crushed Hofstra.  Projected Finish: 11-7 (5th); no postseason

Up Next: Friday vs. Detroit (14-15)

When it came down to it, Valparaiso couldn't close on a victory.

4. Valparaiso (18-9, 11-5, 48)

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

I had a hard time trying to decide what the order should be the rest of the way.  Valparaiso falls here due to their losses at Milwaukee and Green Bay.  Still, they beat a really good Missouri State team this past weekend.  Projected Finish: 13-5 (3rd); NIT

Up Next: Wednesday at Milwaukee (15-11)

3. Milwaukee (16-12, 11-5, 107)

Recent Results: Beat Valparaiso 79-76, Lost to Buffalo 80-65

Losing to Buffalo was expected in my opinion.  It was clear that the Panthers had nothing to play for in this game, and quite frankly, they had much more to lose.  They came out of the game with their best post player, Anthony Hill, injured with a “twisted ankle.”  They’ll need everyone at 100% to overcome Norris Cole and the Cleveland State Vikings.  If they can, only Youngstown State stands in their way for the league title.   Projected Finish: 12-6 (4th); CIT

Up Next: Thursday at Cleveland State (21-6)

Ronald Nored will do everything he can to get the Bulldogs back to the NCAA's.

2. Butler (19-9, 12-5, 49)

Recent Results: Beat Green Bay 64-62, Beat UIC 79-52

The Bulldogs will go into the tournament having won seven in a row and huge momentum towards the NCAA tournament.  A product of their weak schedule to end the season, Butler has a really good shot at at the coveted two seed, but they’ll need a little help, as well as a victory over Loyola. Projected Finish: 13-5 (2nd); NCAA Tournament Auto Bid

Up Next: Saturday vs. Loyola (15-13)

1. Cleveland State (21-6, 12-4, 35)

Recent Results: Beat Wright State 64-62, Lost to Old Dominion 74-63

Losing to Old Dominion all but assures that the Vikings will need to win the HL Tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament.  Norris Cole will do everything in his power to make sure that happens.  Projected Finish: 14-4 (1st); NIT

Up Next: Thursday vs. Milwaukee (16-12)

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