Monday, February 28, 2011

News On The Horizon 2/28/2011

Saturday: 12 Things to Know--Yard Barker

Saturday’s 12 Things to Know
10) Gonzaga and Butler both clinched shares of their regular-season titles. The ‘Zags did it with a rout over San Diego while the Bulldogs beat Loyola – despite the fact that coach Brad Stevens had to leave the game due to eye issues. Gonzaga shares the WCC with Saint Mary’s while Butler is in a three-way tie with Milwaukee and Cleveland State.

Horizon League Tournament Preview--Eye on College Basketball
UIC, Loyola hope to salvage seasons in Horizon tournament--The Chicago Tribune
Mid-Majors: Missouri Valley Conference, Horizon League, and Summit League Tournaments Start This Week--SB Nation Indiana
Postseason Preview: Horizon League 1st
Let log5 season begin--Basketball Prospectus

March 1, 4, 5, 8 (First round/finals at higher seed, second round/semifinals at UW-Milwaukee)

Milwaukee took the one-seed and home-court advantage after escaping last-place Youngstown State in overtime on Saturday, but they’re actually rated as the sixth-best team in the league. If such odds existed, you could have got pretty good ones around New Year’s on the Panthers getting the auto-NIT bid. It’s unclear whether Butler or Cleveland State is the class of the league, but the penalty for losing the three-way tiebreaker for the Vikings is being forced to play two extra games to punch their dance ticket. That alone propels Butler back to the favorite role in this event, although their chances aren’t nearly as overwhelming as last season, due to the lack of home-court advantage and that they aren’t as dominant as the 2010 team.

Rd1 Semis Final Champ
2 Butler 100 100 62.5 44.5
1 UW Milwaukee 100 100 59.2 23.5
3 Cleveland St. 94.6 73.1 31.3 20.4
4 Valparaiso 91.1 63.0 28.3 7.0
6 Wright St. 74.2 18.8 5.3 2.1
5 Detroit 64.0 19.5 6.7 1.2
8 Loyola Chicago 36.0 15.6 5.5 0.9
7 UW Green Bay 25.8 7.2 0.9 0.3
9 Youngstown St. 8.9 1.9 0.2 0.01
10 Illinois Chicago 5.4 1.0 0.1 0.009

Morning Five: 02.28.11 Edition--Rush The Court

Butler head coach Brad Stevens left his team’s win against Loyola (Ill.) on Saturday a little early due to a condition that blurred his vision badly enough to where he couldn’t even see the other end of the court. He was diagnosed with corneal edema, an entity for which there are many causes, most of them benign. Assistant coach Matthew Graves guided the Bulldogs for the final 22 minutes in that win on Saturday which clinched at least a share of the Horizon League regular season title. Stevens, vision restored, was back at practice on Sunday.

All about the non-Big Six: No. 1

RANKINGS (Last week’s rank in parenthesis.)
7. Butler (21-9, 13-5) – The Bulldogs ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak. (7)
Brad Stevens – The Butler coach left Hinkle Fieldhouse late in the first half of Saturday’s victory over Loyola after complaining of pain in his eye and blurred vision. Stevens was later diagnosed with a corneal edema. His condition was expected to improve over the next 24 hours. Assistant coach Matt Graves took over for Stevens in the 63-56 win.

Eye problem forces Butler coach to leave
Butler's Brad Stevens returns to practice with improved vision--The Indy Star
Butler's Howard makes All-Horizon League's first team--The Indy Star
Season tickets up for grabs with Horizon League Bracket Challenge--Victory Firelight
Howard, Mack, Nored earn All-Horizon League honors--Victory Firelight
Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack Named All-Horizon

Logjam forming at the bottom of the NCAA bracket: National College Basketball Insider--Cleveland Plain Dealer

Right on time: Perhaps no team in the country should be as prepared -- and more importantly, well-rested -- for the postseason than Butler. They played a conference game Feb. 19, then had a week off before playing again. As Brad Stevens' team rested, the Horizon front-runners staggered down the stretch.

After a Saturday win over Loyola, the Bulldogs earned a share of the regular-season title and a bye to the Horizon semifinals, so there's another week off before playing again. Should they win the final on March 8, that's four games in 17 days. Then would come another nine days off before the NCAA Tournament. Contrast that with Cleveland State, which now has to win four games in eight days to make the final 68.

Basketball Finishes Strong in Regular Season--The Cauldron
Cleveland State's Cole Named Horizon League's Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year--Let's Go Vikes!
Norris Cole Selected Horizon League Player Of The
Vikings Open Horizon League Championship Tourney At Home Vs.

Holman, McCallum Earn Horizon League

Crusaders pound paint, Flames--Whoosh!Net
Men's Hoops Begins Postseason Run at Cleveland State

McCammon wins Sixth Man of the Year in Horizon
Ramblers Begin Quest For NCAA Tournament Berth At Detroit Tuesday
McCammon Named Horizon League's Sixth Man of the

Fletcher, Brown honored by Horizon League--UWGB Basketball
Evans has Strong Week Heading into Postseason
Fletcher, Brown Gain Horizon League
Green Bay Opens Horizon League Tourney at Wright State

Phoenix Receives Highest AP Poll Ranking in Program History at No.

Weekly Panthers report--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Pack the Cell--UWM Post
Panthers hang on, win share of conference title--UWM Post
Matt Graves takes the first shot--PantherU
Milwaukee on the All-Horizon League--PantherU
Special Hour-Long Jeter Radio Show Set For Monday At Harry'
Meier Named Horizon League Basketball Player Of The
Jeter, Hill, Williams Honored In League's Postseason

Laur goes out in style on senior night--UWM Post
Botham induced into WBCA Hall of Fame--UWM Post
Laur Named Horizon League Player of the

All-Horizon League teams released (plus, my ballot)--Off The Mark
Predicting the Horizon League tournament--Region Sports Extra
Wood a First Team All-Horizon League
Crusaders Set to Open HL Championship Tuesday vs.

West Virginia guard picks Wright State--Dayton Daily News
Duggins makes Horizon League first team--Dayton Daily News
Preview: Wright State vs. UW-Green Bay--Dayton Daily News
The West Virginia view of guard Cuffee’s commitment to WSU--Wright State University Sports
WSU’s Duggins named first team, Evans second team in HL awards--Wright State University Sports
Duggins honored with First-Team All-League honors--The Guardian
#6 Seeded Raiders to Host #7 Seed Green Bay Tuesday
Duggins and Evans Honored by Horizon

Women to Wrap Up Home Schedule This

Damian Eargle Named to Horizon League All-Newcomer
Guins Visit Valparaiso in First Round of Horizon League

Milwaukee's Laur named women's basketball player of the week--Horizon League Network

Cole Near-Unanimous Player of the Year, Wins Defensive Player of the Year in Postseason Awards Balloting--Horizon League Network
Milwaukee's Meier Collects Horizon League Men's Basketball Player of the Week Accolade--Horizon League Network

Sunday, February 27, 2011

News On The Horizon 2/27/2011

No. 17 Wisconsin-Green Bay rolls past Butler
Game 7-062: Milwaukee at Cleveland State--The Mid-Majority
Stardate 110-20110225: Stars You Never Could See--The Mid-Majority

Conference Shootaround
Horizon League: Milwaukee is the hottest team in Horizon League play, but not sure anybody was prepared for the emphatic nature of last night's win at Cleveland State. Forget the 87-83 final score, this was a Panther blowout (they led by as many as 18 in the second half) until a late burst made the score pretty. After Valpo's equally surprising foldo at home against Loyola (a 68-48 drop), it's now a three-way tie with one game to go. Milwaukee earned the upper hand with that win; if they win fail to screw up against Youngstown State on Saturday, they win the group tiebreaker (3-1 against the other two) get the double-bye to the semifinals and host the last two rounds. Cleveland State can still win the No. 1 outright if Loyola victimizes Butler and YSU wins. And don't forget that folks still call the Horizon League tournament the "Butler Invitational"... but the Bulldogs need a lot of outside help.

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 715--The Mid-Majority


[Comment From JTJT: ]
Will the Horizon regular season champ and the tourney favorite be the same team?
Friday February 25, 2011 4:17 JT

It really depends on who's who. If the No. 1 is Butler, they're in danger of going up against Milwaukee again, and that's a really bad matchup. If Cleveland State somehow pulls it out, they're really weak against Butler's two "glue sticks" up front. It'll come down to the internal DNA of the tourney bracket, and that's really exciting to think about now. Just think how awesome the actual event is going to be.


[Comment From TyTy: ]
Valpo looked fantastic in their Bracketbusters matchup, like a team that could give any tournament team fits with their style. Do they have any shot at an at-large or do they pretty much have to win out?
Friday February 25, 2011 4:19 Ty

No team in the Horizon should be taking anything for granted; I just saw two coaches last night, Waters and Jeter, who are definitely taking a win-out-or-die approach. I certainly don't see Homer Drew, wise old sage that he is, looking ahead. They all need to win out, and I don't think semifinal losers have any chance at all to get into the NCAA's. Get to the final, then let's see who we have left standing. And honestly? I think the BracketBusters showed how bad the Valley is out of context, and little else.


[Comment From Coaches vs. Cleveland St.Coaches vs. Cleveland St.: ]
Hey Kyle, can you please come to games where we play Cleveland State? You seem to be the best defense against Mr. Cole.
Friday February 25, 2011 4:22 Coaches vs. Cleveland St.

I have no idea when that started, but I have never seen him play a great game in person, ever. Maybe he sees that little orange basketball out of the corner of his eye and it haunts his psyche because Bally has a better haircut than him. He's like orange kryptonite. But I think Mr. Cole is an excellent ballplayer and an even better human dude, he does a lot in the community and for kids and is far more humble than anybody with his talents should be.

The Other 26: Week 15--Rush The Court
Friday's Shootaround--Ballin' is a Habit

Milwaukee 87, Cleveland State 83: The Panthers moved into a first place tie with Cleveland State and Butler in the Horizon League standings thanks to 28 points and nine boards from Tony Meier. It sets up a wild Saturday, where all three teams tip within the span of an hour. If all three win, Milwaukee is the No. 1 seed and Butler is the No. 2 seed.

Loyola 68, Valpo 48: The Crusaders would have been part of that three-way tie atop the conference if they hadn't gotten blown out Thursday.

Friday's Pregame Beat: Previewing your college hoops weekend--Ballin' is a Habit


* 1:05 pm: Milwaukee @ Youngstown State; 2:00 pm: Green Bay @ Cleveland State; 2:00 pm: Loyola @ Butler: Milwaukee, Cleveland State, and Butler are all tied for the Horizon League lead heading into the regular season's final weekend.
* 8:05 pm: Illinois-Chicago @ Valpo: Thanks to an unfortunate loss on Thursday night, Valpo is now on the outside looking in of the top of the Horizon.

NIT Bracketology - With the bracket

Official RTC Bubble Watch: 02.25.11--Rush The Court


Butler 19-9 (10-5), 50 RPI, 81 SOS- Butler’s case to the committee would be boosted if Milwaukee loses at Youngstown State on Saturday and the Bulldogs take care of Loyola at Hinkle Fieldhouse, therefore handing Butler yet another regular season Horizon title. Butler’s chances are fairly simple. If they lose again to anyone but RPI top-50 Cleveland State (say Milwaukee or Valparaiso in the conference tournament), it’s extremely unlikely they earn a spot in the field as an at-large with six poor losses in Horizon League play. Their neutral court win over Florida State only holds so much weight and the Washington State victory means close to nothing. Butler is right on the fringe at this moment.

BGTD: Late Afternoon/Evening Games Analysis--Rush The Court

Bubbling Up: Colorado, Baylor and Kansas State in the Big 12; Butler in the Horizon; Clemson and Virginia Tech in the ACC; Michigan in the Big Ten; UAB in CUSA.

Mid-major royalty fighting to crash the Dance--Eye on College Basketball
Paul George Tried To Block Gordon Hayward--The Big Lead
Utah Jazz: Corbin likes what he sees from newcomers--Deseret News

Tonight will also mark the first time Indiana native Gordon Hayward will get a chance to play in his home state as a professional.

"To be able to come here and play and at least be on the court and not in the stands is really special," said Hayward, who hit a championship-winning shot at Conseco Fieldhouse during his Brownsburg High School days. "It will be fun to play in front of my home crowd and my friends and family."

Utah Jazz: Devin Harris, Derrick Favors impressive in Jazz debut--Deseret News

"It's gotta be difficult coming into a team 50-something games into the season with one practice and be expected to play and kind of know the offense and blend in," Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward said. "But I thought they did a terrific job on that.

"I think the most important thing," he added, "is they competed, which is what you want from players coming in. They did a great job."

High praise coming from the most popular man in Indiana.

But Hayward was hardly the only one in the Jazz locker room giving the pair props.

Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson leads Jazz over Pacers for Ty Corbin's first win as head coach--Deseret News

It was a fun homecoming night for Gordon Hayward.
The team was also exited to be part of Haywardmania. The former Butler star and Indiana native — from nearby Brownsburg — treated the loudly supportive crowd with a monster dunk, three rebounds and some trademark Hoosier State hustle during his first game back in Indiana as a professional.

Though Hayward was raucously cheered on by the crowd of 16,205 — a bunch of whom wore No. 20 Jazz jerseys — the No. 9 overall pick also had a shot swatted by Indiana's Jeff Foster. Pacers fans loudly cheered to show their real colors when that happened.

But Hayward's team left Conseco with the win, so the lifelong Pacer fan will happily take that away from his special night.

"That's the ultimate goal. ... Whether or not I even played, I'm most happy about the win," Hayward said. "We've been struggling a little bit, so it was good to get a win finally and we played well as a team."

Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward receives warm homecoming--Deseret News
Hayward’s homecoming: Jazz rookie thrills hometown fans with big dunk--Salt Lake Tribune
Saturday Mid-Major Action: Indiana State, Evansville Close Regular Season With Wins. Butler Wins Horizon League--SB Nation Indiana
Butler fans create 'robot' to honor Ronald Nored--The Indy Star
Butler's Howard helps lift his hometown, Connersville--The Indy Star
Butler wins without Stevens, earns share of Horizon title--The Indy Star
Stevens leaves with eye problem--The Indy Star
Bulldogs deliver perfect finish against Loyola, 63-56--The Indy Star
Win, dunk highlight Hayward’s return--Indy Star Butler Insider
Defense, coach Graves do it for Dawgs--Indy Star Butler Insider
Is Butler playing its best basketball of the season?--Victory Firelight
Game Preview: Butler vs. Loyola--Victory Firelight
Butler clinches tourney 2-seed with win--Victory Firelight
Loyola (Chicago) vs Butler: Recap Notes--BUTLER BLUE FEVER
On this day 8 years ago - Feb 27, 2003--BUTLER BLUE FEVER
Butler Beats Loyola (Chicago), 63-56--BUTLER BLUE FEVER
Butler Clinches Record Fifth Straight League
Butler's Brad Stevens Recovering From Eye

Bulldogs Try To Rebound vs. #17/13 Green
#17/13 Green Bay Defeats

Latest loss shows Cleveland State men's team's faults: College Basketball Insider--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Apologetic after his Thursday outburst, Cleveland State's Gary Waters says Vikings can still earn NCAA bid: Terry Pluto--Cleveland Plain Dealer
It's a low-key celebration for Horizon co-champion Vikings: Cleveland State Insider--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Vikings earn share of Horizon regular-season title by defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, but must take long road to postseason crown--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland State 64, Green Bay 57: Vikings Earn Share of Horizon League Regular Season Title--Let's Go Vikes!
Green Bay vs Cleveland State: Recap Notes--VIKINGS BALL
Cleveland State Beats Green Bay, 64-57--VIKINGS BALL
Vikings Topple Green Bay, 64-57, To Claim First Horizon League

Vikings Top Youngstown State, 76-71, Move Into Tie For Third

State hoops: Detroit Mercy rallies to win regular season finale--The Detroit Free Press
Titans Grab 77-67 Win and Five-seed in HL
Horizon League First Round Tickets Now

Four Titans Net Double Figures As Detroit Upends

Scouting: UIC @ Valparaiso--The Chicago Tribune
Valparaiso rolls past Illinois-Chicago 79-65--The Chicago Tribune
Stanley a buzzkill to Flames--Whoosh!Net
Senior Day nightmare--Whoosh!Net
UIC vs Valparaiso: Recap Notes--FLAME FANATIC
On this day 4 years ago - Feb 27, 2007--FLAME FANATIC
UIC Drops One To Valparaiso, 79-65--FLAME FANATIC
Flames Fall at Valpo in Regular Season Finale,

Women's Basketball Wins Third Straight Over Wright State,

Scouting: Loyola @ Butler--The Chicago Tribune
Butler loses coach but tops Loyola--The Chicago Sun-Times
Loyola (Chicago) vs Butler: Recap Notes--LU WOLF BALL
Butler Beats Loyola (Chicago), 63-56--LU WOLF BALL
Gritty Effort Comes Up Short In Loyola's 63-56 Loss At
Loyola Earns Number Eight Seed, Will Face Detroit In First Round Of Horizon League Championship

Loyola Falls To Detroit In Alumni Gym Finale,

Men's basketball: Today's UWGB vs. Cleveland State preview--Green Bay Press Gazette
Men's basketball: Young stars give Phoenix chance in regular-season finale--Green Bay Press Gazette
Game 31: Cleveland State 64, UWGB 57 FINAL--UWGB Basketball
Green Bay vs Cleveland State: Recap Notes--PHOENIX FEVER
Cleveland State Gets 64-57 Win Over Green Bay--PHOENIX FEVER
Green Bay's Furious Rally Falls Short at Cleveland

Today's UWGB women's basketball preview--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Phoenix puts on show for sellout crowd--Green Bay Press Gazette
No. 17 UWGB women vs. Butler--UWGB Basketball
Record Day the Phoenix Way in 93-57 Win over

Panthers in three-way tie for Horizon title--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Panthers win Horizon regular-season title--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It’s not over: Game 30 vs. Youngstown State--PantherU
PantherU Live Chat--PantherU
Faith rewarded--PantherU
Milwaukee vs Youngstown State: Recap Notes--UWM UPDATE
Milwaukee Beats Youngstown State in Overtime, 94-87--UWM UPDATE
Postgame Extra – Milwaukee at Youngstown State--Panther Blog Zone
Panthers Are League Champs, Tournament Hosts After Overtime
Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship Ticket

UWM's Laur leaves home in style, hits game-winner--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Post-Game Wrap-Up: Milwaukee vs. Valparaiso--Panther Blog Zone
Laur's Layup Sends Panthers Past Valparaiso,

Unselfish Play Highlights Senior Night for Valpo--Confessions of a Sports Junkie
Desperate times for Valpo--The Post-Tribune
VU men: ‘I do think we needed it’--The Post-Tribune
VU shifts focus to matchup with Youngstown--The Post-Tribune
UIC at Valparaiso, Live Blog, Feb. 26--Off The Mark
Valpo looks to snap skid against UIC--The NWI Times
Johnson leads fourth-place Crusaders over the Flames--The NWI Times
Crusaders to host Youngstown State on Tuesday night--The NWI Times
Live from the ARC: Valparaiso vs. UIC--Region Sports Extra
UIC vs Valparaiso: Recap Notes--FOLLOW VALPO DAILY
Valparaiso Over UIC, 79-65--FOLLOW VALPO DAILY
Crusaders Defeat UIC on Senior Night, Host YSU to Open HL

VU women head to Milwaukee--The Post-Tribune
Scouting Valparaiso University women's basketball--The NWI Times
VU women's basketball team loses in the final seconds--The NWI Times
Milwaukee Nips Valpo Women in Final

Defeat drops Raiders to sixth seed in HL tourney--Dayton Daily News
Raiders learn tourney foe today--Dayton Daily News
For Tabler, a lesson learned--Dayton Daily News
Commentary: No. 6 seed could be good for Wright State--Dayton Daily News
Horizon tourney set; Green Bay at WSU in 1st round--Dayton Daily News
WSU fades late and loses regular season finale to Detroit, 77-67--Wright State University Sports
UW-Milwaukee wins Horizon League title by surviving overtime in Youngstown--Wright State University Sports
WSU will host UW-Green Bay in HL tournament first round after Loyola loss--Wright State University Sports
West Virginia guard becomes final WSU recruit in Class of 2011--Wright State University Sports
--Through the Arch--Fairborn Daily Herald
Raiders fall to Detroit
--The Guardian
Raiders Fall to Detroit in Regular-Season
#6 Seeded Raiders to Host #7 Seed Green Bay Tuesday

Women Drop 77-60 Decision at

BUZZER-BUMMER--Youngstown Vindicator
Fan Blog: Future of YSU Hoops is Very Bright!--Let's Go Guins!
Milwaukee vs Youngstown State: Recap Notes--GUIN REPORT
UPDATED: Devonte Maymon is questionable for Tuesday's Horizon Conference Tournament game against Valparaiso--GUIN REPORT
Milwaukee Too Much for Youngstown State In Overtime, 94-87--GUIN REPORT
Pesky Penguins Push Milwaukee to OT Before Falling--The Jambar
Pesky Penguins Push Milwaukee to OT Before

Cleveland State Rallies to Knock Off YSU,

Field Set for 2011 Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship--Horizon League Network

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Men's Seed Race 2/26/2011

Scores from 2/26/2011:

Milwaukee 94 Youngstown State 87 OT
Cleveland State 64 Green Bay 57
Butler 63 Loyola 56
Valparaiso 79 UIC 65

Seed Team Conf 1st round matchup
---- ---------- ---- -----------------
#1 Milwaukee 13-5 Double-bye; Host
#2 Butler 13-5 Double-bye
#3 Cleveland State 13-5 Will host #10 UIC
#4 Valparaiso 12-6 Will host #9 YSU
#5 Detroit 10-8 Will host #8 Loyola
#6 Wright State 10-8 Will host #7 Green Bay
#7 Green Bay 8-10
#8 Loyola 7-11
#9 Youngstown State 2-16
#10 UIC 2-16

Milwaukee wins the 3-way tie because they are 3-1. Thus they host the 2nd and 3rd rounds at US Cellular Arena. Butler is 2-2 and gets the other double-bye. CSU is 1-3 and will host UIC on Tuesday at the Wolstein Center.

Valpo will host YSU on Tuesday at the ARC. Detroit gets the 5 seed because they swept WSU and will host Loyola Tuesday at Calihan Hall. WSU will host Green Bay at the Nutter Center on Tuesday.

YSU gets the 9 seed because of their upset of Butler.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Men's Seed Race 2/25/2011

Scores from 2/25/2011:

Detroit 77 Wright State 67

Seed Team Conf 1st round matchup
---- ---------- ---- -----------------
#1 Milwaukee 12-5 Would receive double-bye
#2 Butler 12-5 Would receive double-bye
#3 Cleveland State 12-5 Would host #10 UIC
#4 Valparaiso 11-6 Would host #9 YSU
#5 Detroit 10-8 Clinched 5 seed
#6 Wright State 10-8 Clinched 6 seed
#7 Green Bay 8-9
#8 Loyola 7-10
#9 Youngstown State 2-15
#10 UIC 2-15

We're down to 16 scenarios with 4 games left, and nothing much has changed except that Detroit clinched the 5 seed by completing their season sweep of Wright State. WSU likewise claims the 6 seed. Both will host 1st round games next Tuesday. Loyola and Green Bay will fight over the 7 and 8 seed. Otherwise, the analysis in my last post remains the same.

News On The Horizon 2/25/2011

Wisconsin-Green Bay beats Valpo to win
Stardate 109-20110224: One Beautiful Season Later--The Mid-Majority

Horizon League (Ch. 18): One of the most exciting races in league history, Horizon, MCC or otherwise. According to the conference office, the top half of the league hasn't been separated by 2.5 games or less since 1992. If it's a two-bid league, though, Butler is most likely going to have to be involved (again).
Butler (Chs. 9, 3-0): The Bulldogs have had to fight much harder than they did last year, and they're younger and greener than any of us ever figured they'd be. Part of that's because Hayward moved on prematurely, but all these role players in starting roles, and all these freshmen. They could still win the league, and they can still go as far as fate will allow, but when it's over and it ends in a loss, perhaps Butler will inspire more time-lapse wonder instead of short-term disappointment. That's our hope, anyway.

Set Your Tivo: 02.24.11--Rush The Court

Two games with conference championship implications:

Milwaukee @ Cleveland State – 7 pm on TWC Sports 32 Milwaukee (***)

The Horizon League has been fun to follow all season and especially down the stretch, and it culminates with this game tonight. While Cleveland State holds a one game lead over Milwaukee, Butler, and Valparaiso in the loss column, this game is essentially for the conference title. That’s highly important in this league as it gives the winning team a double bye to the semifinals and home court advantage in the Horizon League Tournament. First off, let’s assume Butler and Valparaiso win out and get to 13-5. That shouldn’t be a problem, given their upcoming opponents (Butler has a game at home with Loyola (IL) while Valpo plays both Illinois-Chicago and Loyola at home). Should the Vikings win, they’ll move to 13-4 and would clinch the #1 seed with a win over Green Bay on Saturday. If the Panthers win, they’ll move to 12-5, and can win the league with a victory at Youngstown State on Saturday by virtue of what would be a 4-2 record against the teams involved in the four-way tie at 13-5. Cleveland State would drop all the way to the #4 seed in that situation, 2-4 against the other 13-5 teams. Milwaukee will be eliminated from title contention should they lose tonight.

Now that you’ve digested all of that (hopefully), on to the game. Cleveland State blasted the Panthers in Milwaukee way back on December 4, winning 82-59 on the strength of 63.8% shooting. The Vikings held the home club to 29.6% shooting of their own and walked out of U.S. Cellular Arena with a convincing win. CSU star Norris Cole scored 14 points on 6-6 FG and dished out nine assists in the win. Of course, Cole has done even bigger things of late going for 41/20/9 against Youngstown State and scoring 35 points in his most recent game, a loss at Old Dominion on Sunday. Milwaukee stood at 4-5 in league play on January 23, but they went out that afternoon and took Butler down in overtime at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Panthers haven’t looked back since, winning seven straight league games starting with that one. Their last game was a loss at Buffalo but that was a non-conference game as part of the ESPN BracketBusters. To win tonight on the road, Milwaukee has to stop Cole and Cleveland State’s guards. They shoot 39.8% from deep in conference games, #1 in the Horizon. The Panthers are the worst team in the league at defending the triple, allowing 38.9% shooting in conference games while ranking #313 nationally in three point defense. Quite simply, they have to turn in a strong defensive effort to have a chance to win this game. It would be quite the turnaround to win this game after losing by 23 last time. The Panthers will have to do it on CSU’s home floor but this is a resilient bunch of players coached by Rob Jeter. While the Vikings should win this game, don’t be surprised if Milwaukee keeps it close and has a chance to win in the final minutes. They’ve got something to play for and they should lay it all out on the floor tonight.

Bettin' is a Habit - 2/24--Ballin' is a Habit

UW-Milwaukee (16-12, 11-5) at Cleveland State (23-6, 12-4)

This game may end up determining the Horizon league tournament seeds. The way things have played out thus far, the seeds will be determined by second and third tie-breakers. These two teams last played in mid-December, with CSU winning by 23. But UW-Milwaukee is a much different team now, having won seven of their last eight. I think Cleveland State should win this game, but I would not be surprised if it came down to the last shot.

Pick: UW-Milwaukee +8.5

Thursday's Pregame Beat: Could five regular season conference titles be decided--Ballin' is a Habit

7:00 pm: Milwaukee @ Cleveland State: I also named this one of the ten most important games left in the regular season, and believe me when I say there is A LOT at stake tonight. I'll spare you another break down. If you are interested, click here to see the complete analysis.

Butler joins three-way tie atop Horizon League--Eye on College Basketball
NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Detailed Insanity For 02/25/2011--Blogging the Bracket

The Rest of Division I

As I anticipated last week, BracketBusters cleared up the mid-major at-large picture a bit. The Missouri Valley looks more like a one-bid league, thanks to losses by both Wichita State and Missouri State, while the CAA should get two (and maybe three) in. The Horizon's at-large hopes were hurt by a loss by Cleveland State in the event and another bad RPI loss by Valparaiso outside of it. Both teams then went and suffered conference losses Thursday night to make their departure more permanent. Likewise, it looks increasingly like Conference USA will send just a single team to the field of 68, thanks to a lack of a clear leader.
In Good Shape (3)

Butler Bulldogs (Next Four IN)
Record: 19-9 overall; 12-5 conference; 3-3 vs. RPI Top 50; 2-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 11-1 vs. RPI 150+; 9-7 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 148 Loss: 94
RPI: 45
SOS: 75
RPI 1-50 Wins: Cleveland State, at Cleveland State, Florida State (N)
RPI 51-100 Wins: Valparaiso, Washington State (N)
Bad (RPI 150+) Losses: at Youngstown State
Other Losses: Duke (N), at Xavier, at Louisville, at Valparaiso, Milwaukee, at Milwaukee, at Wright State, Evansville
Remaining Regular Season Schedule: Loyola-Chicago (Sat.)
The Bulldogs are huge fans of Florida State and Washington State right now, as those two bubble teams fell victim to Butler in Hawai'i over Christmas week, and thus represent the Horizon League power's best non-conference wins. Butler is back in the thick of things because of some changes in the Horizon race and the national landscape. For starters, their bad losses against Milwaukee (a team tied with them for third in the conference) and Evansville don't look so bad now. Plus, the Bulldogs are winning again, picking up six wins in a row heading into their regular season finale against Loyola-Chicago. Additionally, the Bulldogs are 3-1 against Cleveland State and Valparaiso, two teams they're battling with for the league crown (though the sweep at the hands of the Panthers, who's in the driver's seat, hurts them). If Brad Stevens' team can complete a sweep of the Chicago schools by beating the Ramblers, they will likely earn a bye to the semifinals in the Horizon tournament, depending on what their competition does. Still, a loss Saturday will make things very difficult for Butler, both in terms of tournament seeding and the national picture.

College Basketball On TV For February 24, 2011--Blogging the Bracket

Early Evening (ET)
Milwaukee Panthers at Cleveland St. Vikings, Horizon League Network/TWC Sports 32 (7 p.m. ET)
This is a key contest in the Horizon race, as Cleveland State sits in first at 12-4, a game ahead of three teams, including Milwaukee. The Vikings hammered the Panthers at the old MECCA in the Horizon's early December preview window. However, Rob Jeter's team, who had won seven in a row until they lost at Buffalo in their BracketBuster game, are a completely different group to deal with now. projection: Vikings 73-62, 66 poss.

Here We Go: College Basketball On TV For February 26, 2011--Blogging the Bracket

Mid-Afternoon (ET)
Milwaukee Panthers at Youngstown St. Penguins, Horizon League Network (1 p.m. ET); Green Bay Phoenix at Cleveland St. Vikings. WWRD/STO/Horizon League Network (1 p.m. ET) and Loyola of Chicago Ramblers at Butler Bulldogs, WNDY/Lakeshore/Horizon League Network (2 p.m. ET)
There are four Horizon League games on the schedule on Saturday, with three of them in the early afternoon. All of them may have an impact on the two teams who will earn a precious bye to the semifinals for the conference tournament, which starts Tuesday. Milwaukee (12-5) is in the best position, thanks to a 3-1 record over Cleveland State and Butler, who share the same league record. If the Panthers beat Youngstown State, they'll clinch the top seed and host the quarterfinals and semifinals (and final, should they qualify). Likewise, Butler can clinch a semifinal bye if they beat Loyola at home, and earn the league title if Milwaukee loses, since they swept the Vikings. If all three lose, Valparaiso, who plays in the evening, is back in the mix and things get too messy for this post. projections: Panthers 74-70, 70 poss.; Vikings 75-64, 66 poss.; Bulldogs 74-63, 64 poss.
Late Evening (ET)

UIC Flames at Valparaiso Crusaders, Horizon League Network (8 p.m. ET)
Depending on what happens in the three afternoon Horizon League contests, the Crusaders could be playing for a semifinal bye or nothing at all. projection: Crusaders 71-57, 65 poss.

Tempo-free Horizon League: Get ready for Game

Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward returns to his home — to Hinkle Fieldhouse--Deseret News
Jazz notes: Harris, Favors eager for new start--Salt Lake Tribune
Trade of Williams is O’Connor’s biggest gamble--Salt Lake Tribune

Utah also obtained the Nets’ 2011 first-round pick in the trade, which will at least be a lottery selection and potentially could result in a No. 1 choice. Grouped with newly acquired 19-year-old forward Derrick Favors and rookie Gordon Hayward — the ninth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft — the Jazz will likely have three lottery players on their roster when the 2011-12 campaign tips off.

Homecoming: Jazz rookie Hayward returns to play Pacers--The Indy Star
Win guarantees No. 1 or 2 seed--Indy Star Butler Insider
Hayward’s NBA adventure--Indy Star Butler Insider
Fan Speak: What’s new with Willie Veasley?--Victory Firelight
Bulldogs Get Title Shot Against

Panthers Edge Bulldogs,

Cleveland State men's basketball team loses to Milwaukee, creating roadblock to league title--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Milwaukee 87, Cleveland State 83--Let's Go Vikes!
On this day 8 years ago - Feb 24, 2003--VIKINGS BALL
Milwaukee vs Cleveland State: Recap Notes--VIKINGS BALL
StatSheet Projects Cleveland State as NCAA Tournament Bubble Team 12 Seed: 02/25/2011--VIKINGS BALL
Cleveland State Closes Their 2010-2011 Campaign Against Green Bay--VIKINGS BALL
Milwaukee a Little Too Much for Cleveland State, 87-83--VIKINGS BALL
Cole Scores 27, But Vikes Fall

Vikings Host Youngstown State on Saturday

Key Regular Season Finale Matchup Friday to Decide

Titans Downed By
Pivotal HL Match-Up Set For Saturday As Detroit Visits

Up next: Illinois-Chicago at Valparaiso--The Chicago Tribune
he Howard Moore Podcast: Episode
Men's Hoops Wraps up Regular Season at Valpo Saturday

Women's Basketball Defends Home Floor Against Detroit,

Loyola easily beats Valparaiso 68-48--The Chicago Tribune
Up next: Loyola at Butler--The Chicago Tribune
20 by Hill as Loyola rips Valpo--The Chicago Sun-Times
Loyola easily beats Valparaiso 68-48--Daily Herald
Loyola (Chicago) vs Valparaiso: Recap Notes--LU WOLF BALL
Loyola (Chicago) Finishes the Season With Butler--LU WOLF BALL
Loyola (Chicago) Gets Big Win Over Valparaiso, 68-48--LU WOLF BALL
Seniors Lead Way In Loyola's 68-48 Victory At
Surging Ramblers Close Out Regular Season At Butler

Kortekamp's Big Night Not Enough As Loyola Falls To Wright State,
Loyola Turns Back The Clock, Takes On Detroit At Alumni

Men's basketball: UWGB rolls past Penguins--Green Bay Press Gazette
Game #30: UWGB 71, Youngstown State 60 FINAL--UWGB Basketball
Horizon League/UWGB tiebreaker scenarios--UWGB Basketball
Green Bay vs Youngstown State: Recap Notes--Green Bay vs Youngstown State: Recap Notes--PHOENIX FEVER
Green Bay Closes the Season With Cleveland State--PHOENIX FEVER
Green Bay Gets Win Over Youngstown State, 71-60--PHOENIX FEVER
Defense Keys Green Bay's Road Victory at Youngstown
Flying with the Phoenix: Seniors Winding Down
reen Bay Closes Regular Season Saturday at Cleveland

Women's basketball: UWGB crushes Valpo to wrap up outright Horizon title--Green Bay Press Gazette
No. 17 UWGB women vs. Valpo--UWGB Basketball
Watch: Inside Phoenix Basketball: Feb.
Phoenix Adds its Own 13th Championship to

UWM scores road upset, keeps title hopes alive--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Tonight, tonight – Game 29 vs. Cleveland State--PantherU
It’s Leff’s--PantherU
At Destiny’s door--PantherU
On this day 11 years ago - Feb 24, 2000--UWM UPDATE
Milwaukee vs Cleveland State: Recap Notes--UWM UPDATE
StatSheet Projects Milwaukee as CBI Team: 02/25/2011--UWM UPDATE
Milwaukee Closes Their 2010-2011 Campaign Against Youngstown State--UWM UPDATE
Milwaukee Gets Close Win Over Cleveland State, 87-83--UWM UPDATE
Live Blog - Milwaukee at Cleveland State--Panther Blog Zone
Postgame Extra – Milwaukee at Cleveland State--Panther Blog Zone
Live Blog - Milwaukee at Youngstown State--Panther Blog Zone
Panthers One Victory From League Title After Thrilling Win In
Panthers Head To Youngstown Looking To Claim League

Laur leads balanced Panthers attack--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Live Blog: Milwaukee vs. Butler--Panther Blog Zone
Post-Game Wrap-Up: Milwaukee vs. Butler--Panther Blog Zone
Panthers' Strong Shooting Takes Them Past Butler,
Panthers Host Valparaiso Saturday In Home

Valpo squanders another opportunity--The Post-Tribune
Loyola at Valparaiso, Feb. 24, Live Blog--Off The Mark
Horizon League seeding scenarios with one game left--Off The Mark
Horizon League seeding scenarios, one last time--Off The Mark
JOSH WEINFUSS: After Loyola loss, Valpo can't see Horizon anymore--The NWI Times
Valpo shoots poorly in 20-point loss to the Ramblers--The NWI Times
Live from the ARC: Valparaiso vs. Loyola--Region Sports Extra
Loyola (Chicago) vs Valparaiso: Recap Notes--VALPO DAILY
StatSheet Projects Valparaiso as NIT Six Seed: 02/25/2011--VALPO DAILY
Loyola (Chicago) Way Too Much for Valparaiso, 68-48--VALPO DAILY
Crusaders Fall to Loyola Thursday
Valpo Closes Regular Season at ARC

Green Bay routs VU women's basketball team--The NWI Times
#17/13 Green Bay Topples Crusader
Valpo Women Set for Final Regular Season Road

Preview: Wright State vs. Detroit--Dayton Daily News
A last look at Wright State's four seniors--Dayton Daily News
WSU seniors close regular-season careers--Dayton Daily News
Commentary: Coach’s cafeteria stunt sends wrong message--Dayton Daily News
Is lower-tourney postseason better than no postseason? WSU says no. What about you?--Wright State University Sports
New first-place team takes control of Horizon League race--Wright State University Sports
Wild Horizon League race enters final games with numerous scenarios--Wright State University Sports
Commentary: Donlon on-campus message a ‘classy’ move to be praised in future--The Guardian
Duggins leadership and toughness has rubbed off on other seniors, underclassmen--The Guardian
Donlon Urges Students to Attend Game Friday

WSU women move into tie for second--Dayton Daily News
WSU women win, pull within half game of second place--Wright State University Sports
Fox, Sandifer Lead Women Past Loyola

Slocum: Penguins lacked effort in loss to Green Bay--Youngstown Vindicator
Slocum: Penguins’ effort missing in latest defeat--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Green Bay vs Youngstown State: Recap Notes--GUIN REPORT
UPDATED: Devonte Maymon is questionable for Saturday's game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee--GUIN REPORT
Youngstown State Closes the Season With Milwaukee--GUIN REPORT
Youngstown State Loses To Green Bay, 71-60--GUIN REPORT
Rough game for Penguins in loss to Green Bay--The Jambar
Cold Spell Does in Penguins as Green Bay Wins
Men’s Basketball Hosts Milwaukee on Senior Day Saturday at 1:05

Guins Head to CSU for Final Regular-Season Road

Only four games remain in women's basketball regular season--Horizon League Network

Milwaukee Stakes Claim to Top Spot in Horizon League with Road Win--Horizon League Network
Four Teams Alive for No. 1 Seed as Regular Season Winds Down--Horizon League Network
Possibilities Abound As League Closes Regular Season--Horizon League Network