Wednesday, February 2, 2011

News On The Horizon 2/2/2011

Stardate 85-20110131: Geeks vs. Madness, Poets vs. Sanity--The Mid-Majority

Horizon League: Cleveland State had a bad weekend earlier in the month. A really bad one. Lost at Butler and Valpo, and then fell off the face of the earth. It's okay, sports fans, you can come back now. They're not that bad. Of the nine teams with 20 or more wins before Groundhog Day, the Vikings are one. They haven't lost since that weekend -- five straight, three on the road -- and at No. 30 are the second-highest ranked RPI team in the BracketBusters away pool (Utah State: 29), which is the blunt instrument ESPN usually uses to match teams. (Oh yeah, the selections are today.) And there's Butler in fourth place after losing at Valpo in overtime on Saturday, 85-79. The rest of the nation has stuffed the Bulldogs into a "No Gordon Hayward, no good" narrative, but if you're watching, you can see how much they're relying on Matt Howard, how poorly Shelvin Mack is shooting, and how many 2010 role players have been rushed into 2011 key roles. It's sad and romantic, but it's not working very well.

BracketBusters Matchups 2011--The Mid-Majority
The Week That Was: Jan. 25-Jan. 31--Rush The Court

Could America’s favorite mid-major really be on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday? That fate might await Butler now that the Bulldogs have lost three of four games to the likes of Wright State, Milwaukee and Valparasio. Butler now sits in fourth place in the Horizon League (a half game behind Wright State and two and a half behind first-place Cleveland State). had the Bulldogs as its third-to-last team in the tourney in its latest projection (RTC had them in its last four out), and their bracket put the Bulldogs in a First Four game for the West’s 12 seed. There’s no doubt that Butler is on the bubble, and that its status is getting more and more precarious. The problem for the Bulldogs is that they are not nearly the same defensive team they were a year ago when they were the national runner-up. Last season, Butler was the #5 team in the nation in defensive efficiency according to; this year, the Bulldogs check in at #137. They’re only forcing turnovers on 18.8% of their opponents’ possessions (264th in the nation) and they’re giving up an effective field goal percentage of 49.3% (172nd nationally). Butler’s M.O. is supposed to be defense, but they’re a mediocre team on that side of the ball this year. The lone bright spot for the Bulldogs is they have a decent RPI (#42 thanks to the 27th ranked strength of schedule, according to, but that number will continue to slip if they suffer anymore setbacks. It’s time for Shelvin Mack, Matt Howard and company to man up and put a run together. Butler housed Cleveland State at home earlier this year — it’s not out of the question to expect them to win the Horizon League’s automatic bid.

The 10 BracketBuster Games You Don’t Want to Miss--Rush The Court
Groundhog Day: Can It Predict March Success?--Rush The Court

The three-year totals show that in an average year we should expect roughly two-thirds of the top sixteen on Groundhog Day to remain in the upper echelon by Selection Sunday, and a very high number of those to also advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Additionally, if you’re looking for a Cinderella to reach the Final Four, you may not want to go too far down the rankings at this point. The only team outside the top sixteen to make it was Butler last season, and the Bulldogs were a near-miss, sitting at #23 (AP), #15 (ESPN/USA) and #18 (RPI) for an average ranking of 18.67.

A weekly look at the mid-major scene--ESPN

What you shouldn't miss
Thursday: Valpo at Cleveland State -- Vikings leading scorer Norris Cole just keeps on grinding out wins. If it beats Valpo and Butler in the next two games, Cleveland State can put itself in a championship position.
Who's hot
Valpo and Wright State: Valpo defeated Butler 85-79 in OT on Saturday, as Matt Kenney, Ryan Broekhoff and Cory Johnson each scored 16 points and Brandon Wood added 15 points. The Crusaders are now tied in the loss column with Cleveland State for the top spot in the Horizon League. Meanwhile, Wright State has emerged as a dark horse. It is 7-4 in the league and a half-game ahead of Butler, and is led by Vaughn Duggins and N'Gai Evans.

Bracket Busters schedule released--Ballin' is a Habit
Tempo-free conference
Games on Thursday even after the

Utah Jazz: Deron Williams a no-go tonight, will see specialist for injured wrist--Deseret News

Rookie Gordon Hayward will also be in the starting lineup for Kirilenko at small forward, while veteran Earl Watson will get his fourth straight start at point guard.

Hinkle to get preservation funds--The Indy Star
Ex-Butler coach George Theofanis dies--The Indy Star
Butler and a muddled bubble--Indy Star Butler Insider
Cutting down the ‘Net: Average at best--Victory Firelight
Howard finalist for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award--Butler Collegian
Valpo outlasts Butler in OT--Butler Collegian
Stevens selected as USA assistant--Butler Collegian
Bulldogs Begin Ohio Swing At Youngstown

Women’s basketball splits HL weekend--Butler Collegian
Bulldogs Continue League Play With

David S. Glasier: Will this week be a high-water mark for Cleveland State? (with video)--The News-Herald
Morning Five: Groundhog Day Edition--Rush The Court

We thought this was an interesting article from the Cleveland State Cauldron lamenting that CSU basketball is a consistent winner in a town that traditionally has not had many of those, yet it still has significant trouble getting any kind of attention from anyone in the community at-large. The Vikings are currently 20-3 overall and 9-2 in the Horizon League with second-place Valpo and traditional power Butler coming to town this weekend. We agree, Cleveland… get out there and support this team. They just might end up being one of the best mid-major stories of the year in all of college basketball again.

Cleveland State's Gary Waters has a message for win-starved sports fans -- check out the Vikings: Terry Pluto--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland State's Trevon Harmon goes West Coast to North Coast to shine for Vikings--Cleveland Plain Dealer
D'Aundray Brown Redshirting This Season--Let's Go Vikes!
The Gary Waters Radio Show: Feb. 1--Let's Go Vikes!
CSU BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: CSU Men Prepares For Three Games In Six Days--Let's Go Vikes!
Vikings Draw Old Dominion in
Vikings Host Valpo With First Place On The
Men's Basketball Notes:

Viking Report from CSU--Let's Go Vikes!
CSU Head Coaches' Media Gathering: Feb. 1--Let's Go Vikes!

Vikings Head to Green

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Detroit draws Drake in ESPN BracketBusters--The Oakland Press
Detroit Draws Drake in ESPN
Three-Game Homestand Tips-Off

Detroit Makes Its Way To Indiana For A Pair Of HL Road

Illinois-Chicago at Detroit--The Chicago Tribune
Flames melt away 9-game skid--Whoosh!Net
The Howard Moore Podcast: Episode
Men's Basketball Faces Detroit in Motor City

Women's Basketball To Host Annual

Loyola, ND conquer the snow --The Chicago Sun-Times
LUC beats last place team, loses to top dog--Loyola Phoenix
Loyola Men's Basketball To Host St. Peter's On February
Ramblers Open Weekend Road Trip At Wright State Thursday
Loyola To Hold Sister Jean Bobblehead Night On February

Phoenix Sports first look at Norville Athletic Center--Loyola Phoenix

Ramblers split close games--Loyola Phoenix

Men's basketball: UWGB to play at Southern Illinois in BracketBuster--Green Bay Press Gazette
UWGB's BracketBusters Announced--UWGB Basketball
Green Bay to Play at Southern Illinois in 2011
Flying with the Phoenix: JUCO Transfers Making

Women's basketball: UWGB's Hoewisch named Horizon player of week--Green Bay Press Gazette
No. 21/17 Phoenix Nation's Best in Free-Throw Percentage and Won-Lost
Support Your Green Bay Alumni Saturday, Feb. 5
Women's Basketball Begins Second Half of League Play

Buffalo to Host Milwaukee in the ESPNU BracketBusters--Bull Run
Weekly Panthers report--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Horizon League Power Rankings (January 25-31)--PantherU
Milwaukee Perseveres to Secure Two More Big League Wins--Milwaukee Panther Tracks
Panthers Draw MAC Co-Leader Buffalo For

All-Access with
Ryan Broekhoff Wins the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - January 31st, 2011--Valpo Daily
On this day 9 years ago - Feb 02, 2002--Valpo Daily
Updated: Valparaiso (16-6) Takes On Cleveland State (20-3)--Valpo Daily
College Basketball: Valparaiso Gets Marquee BracketBusters Game--SB Nation Indiana
Valpo draws Missouri State--The Post-Tribune
Valparaiso draws Missouri State in ESPN2 game--Off The Mark
Crusaders draw Missouri State in ESPN BracketBuster--The NWI Times
Crusaders to Face Missouri State on ESPN2 in BracketBusters
Crusaders Travel to Cleveland State

Horizon League's Second Half Starts Thursday for Valpo
Valpo Women Set Game Time Versus UIC on February

First-place Cleveland St. tries to separate in major weekend--Dayton Daily News
Raiders enter busy stretch--Dayton Daily News
WSU guard named Horizon League player of the week--Wright State University Sports
WSU to face nation’s active leading career scorer in BracketBuster matchup--Wright State University Sports
One injured WSU starter possible this week, another not ruled out for season--Wright State University Sports
Pre-game bash has organizations fired up for Raiders game this Saturday--The Guardian
Raiders making do without Tabler, Land--The Guardian
Bus to Butler aims to get rowdy--The Guardian
Duggins finally getting credit for talent, named Horizon League Player of the Week--The Guardian
Raiders to Host Hofstra on ESPNU February

Thomas shot at the buzzer gives Lady Raiders victory over Loyola--The Guardian
Women's Basketball Game Time with Youngstown State

ALSO THIS WEEK: Thursday | Women’s basketball at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. | Saturday | Men’s--Youngstown Vindicator
Men's Basketball to Host Bowling Green in BracketBusters Feb.
Men’s Basketball Returns Home to Host Butler Thursday

YSU women’s coach: ‘They didn’t try’--Youngstown Vindicator
Women's basketball team heads north--The Jambar
Penguins Make Snowy Drive to Milwaukee to Face

Horizon League Receives Three TV Contests in 2011 BracketBusters--Horizon League Network
Wright State's Duggins Receives Horizon League Men's Basketball Player of the Week Honor--Horizon League Network

Green Bay's Hoewisch picks up women's basketball player of the week as the Phoenix take first in the League Standings--Horizon League Network

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