Wednesday, January 5, 2011

News On The Horizon 1/5/2011

Stardate 58-20110104: Dark Roads--The Mid-Majority

Conference Shootaround

Milwaukee 76, Butler 52 (Horizon League) -- So down goes Butler's 22-game Horizon winning streak and the six-game holiday funride the Bulldogs had been on since losing to Xavier on December 8. Milwaukee (8-8, 3-2 HL), not exactly a defensive juggernaut this season, erased the national runner-ups' offense and forced Shelvin Mack into perhaps the worst night of his career so far: 1-for-7 from the field, three points, and nary an assist. But the biggest takeaway from this game is the reappearance of the primary Achilles' heel from Butler's Final Four run, namely Matt Howard's arms. The Bulldog big man collected three fouls in a 36-second span during the second half, which left Brad Stevens scrambling for points and rebounds as the Milwaukee lead grew to an impossible size. Memo to the rest of the conference: drive on 54. In the big picture, Milwaukee lost to league-undefeated Cleveland State by an even more embarrassing score (89-52) in early December, so that gives a rough idea of how the league stack order is at the moment. The Viking-Bulldog game this Friday is a real throwdown-showdown-hoedown, for realsies.

Stardate 59-20110105: The 800 Game Project--The Mid-Majority
Ten Tuesday Scribbles--Rush The Court

- If you believe in the transitive property and root for Cleveland State, last night gave you even more hope this is the year that Butler could be supplanted atop the Horizon League. The reigning national runner-ups were outplayed in every way possible by Milwaukee to snap the Bulldogs 22-game conference winning streak on Monday night, falling in blowout fashion 76-52. Guess what happened when Cleveland State traveled to Milwaukee in early December? The Vikings blew out the Panthers by nearly the same margin, 82-59. With do-everything guard Norris Cole, the early frontrunner for HL POY who ranks ninth in efficiency among high-usage players, and adequate efficiency numbers across the board, Cleveland State has staying power. In fact, according to Basketball Prospectus, CSU is out-performing even last year’s 18-0 Butler team on a per-possession basis, numbers that are unsustainable but nonetheless eye-popping. Last night was a combination of Milwaukee’s red-hot outside shooting and stellar inside play from Anthony Hill and Butler’s deficiencies coming to light. Matt Howard was suckered into three early second half fouls that forced a benching, Ronald Nored was continuously dared to take outside shots and Shelvin Mack was chased off screens and harassed from his preferred shooting areas on the floor. Most importantly, Butler’s defensive efficiency has plummeted from fifth last season to 78th and both their rebounding and turnovers forced totals are down. Much like Kansas in the Big 12, until Butler doesn’t win the Horizon, I’m not going to predict their demise into (gasp) second place. Still, there are plainly evident signs it could be the year.

The Other 26: Week 7--Rush The Court
Pre-conference preview blowout: part 1--the blog

23. Horizon

Butler 7861
Cleveland St. 2085
Valparaiso 32
Wright St. 18
Loyola Chicago 2
Detroit 1

This is the closest thing to a two-team race in the nation - only 53 simulations have a team other than Butler or Cleveland State winning the title and receiving the honor of hosting the conference tourney. Even with Cleveland State already having two more wins than Butler, the Dawgs are still a substantial favorite.

The cause of Butler's struggles involve Gordon Hayward, just not the way you think--Ballin' is a Habit
Complex Jazz offense makes it tough for rookies to crack Sloan’s lineup--Salt Lake Tribune
Cutting down the ‘net: Seth Davis says “sell” Butler--Victory Firelight
VF Podcast 005: Nick Gardner suggests Butler will get back to basics--Victory Firelight
The misfortunes of Shelvin Mack--Victory Firelight

Bulldogs Start Important Road Swing At Wright

Players teams can't do without--Sports Illustrated

Norris Cole, G, Cleveland State

Cole is the epitome of a mid-major player who blossoms and lifts his entire team with him. Even with practically everyone back from last year's team, Cole has blown up this season, currently posting clear career highs in virtually every offensive category. He's averaging 20.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists a game while equaling Jimmer Fredette's scoring efficiency and possession usage. As a result, the Vikings currently sit in the top 60 in both offensive and defensive efficiency after ending last season at 126th and 205th, respectively.

Vikings Host Milwaukee on Thursday

First Home Game Of New Year Has Valparaiso Visiting Calihan

Wright State at Illinois-Chicago--The Chicago Tribune
Men's Basketball Hosts Wright State on Comcast SportsNet Chicago

UWGB roundup: Tetschlag named Horizon player of week--Green Bay Press Gazette
Watch Inside Phoenix Basketball: Jan.
No. 20 Green Bay Heads to Ohio for First League Road

Flying with the Phoenix: Rahmon

Jeter on cover of Milwaukee Magazine--PantherU
Doug Gottlieb and Andy Katz discuss MKE-BU game--PantherU
Basketball Notes: RPI Released; Luncheon Thursday; Green Bay Tickets; Jeter Show

Panthers Return To The Road At Cleveland State

Scouting Valparaiso University women's basketball--The NWI Times

Crusaders Return Home Friday, Host

Raiders silencing opponents’ top guns--Dayton Daily News
Winning short road trips can be critical in Horizon League--Dayton Daily News
Preview: WSU vs. Illinois-Chicago--Dayton Daily News
Reader reaction on WSU free throws on the mark--Wright State University Sports
Raider Games to be Streamed on

Men's Basketball Visits Horizon League Foe Valparaiso on Friday

Women's Basketball Returns Home to Face No. 20 Green

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