Friday, February 25, 2011

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

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