Tuesday, February 21, 2012

News On The Horizon 2/21/2012

Week 15 Power Rankings: With Scenarios!--Horizon League Hoops
Men's Basketball Games of the Week 2/20 - 2/24--College Sports Madness

BUTLER at VALPARAISO (7 p.m. Friday at Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Indiana)

Don’t look now, but here comes Butler. After a 5-7 start to the season, Butler (17-12, 10-6) has won 12 of its last 17 and is starting to show signs of the team to reach the NCAA finals each of the past two years. Valparaiso (19-10, 12-4) has the Horizon League title pretty much locked up because this is the final regular-season game for both teams. It may be too late for Butler to earn an NCAA bid, but don’t be surprised to see the Bulldogs get some consideration if they knock off Valparaiso and then have a strong showing in the Horizon tournament.

Bubble Trouble: Volume III--Rush The Court

Team 1 Team 2
Winning Percentage: .555 Winning Percentage: .586
RPI: 151 RPI: 119
SOS: 149 SOS: 120
Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank):
40, 100, 31, 114, 69 47, 97, 81
Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank):
156 (2), 229 149, 245, 174 (2), 130, 169

Ugh, can you tell we have reached the CBI. Team two has the slightly better résumé, led by their winning percentage and RPI and SOS ranks. Their number of bad losses in the mid to high 100s is concerning, no doubt, but this is the CBI, and I’m guessing they’re not going to be too picky on that category.

Team One is Oregon State. Their quality wins came against Texas, Montana, California, UCLA, and Oregon while the bad losses were to Washington State (2) and Arizona State. Team Two is Butler, who had their quality wins against Purdue, Stanford, and Oklahoma State, and the multitude of bad losses were to Evansville, Ball State, Detroit (2), Wisconsin Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Green Bay. As you can see, each team has had a lot of poor outings against their lower conference foes. I’m still taking Butler.

Butler is in transition, but not dead--Rivals.com
Biggest winners and losers from BracketBusters weekend--Beyond the Arc
Week in Review: Team of the Week--Beyond the Arc

Teams deserving a shoutout

Butler: We all thought the Bulldogs were done as they sat at 7-6 in the Horizon League incapable of hitting a jumper from the perimeter, but as Brad Stevens is wont to do, he’s got Butler heading in the right direction at the right time. After wins over Loyola (IL) and Indiana State this past week, Butler has pushed their winning streak to four games and moved into a tie for third place in the conference standings. Anyone want to bet against this team come March?

Utah Jazz: Raja Bell out, DeMarre Carroll in--Deseret News

With Bell out, the Jazz will start Josh Howard at small forward, while Gordon Hayward will slide into the shooting guard role.

Jazz notebook: Jazz awake early despite travel day--Deseret News

Second-year Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward just shrugged when asked if he was surprised they scheduled a shootaround the morning after a road trip, especially with an always-tough and rested Spurs team already in town waiting to face them.

"Coach calls practice and we're ready to go," he said. "That's just our job. People were a little tired, but at the same time, we realize these games are important, so we have to do whatever we can to try and get a win.

"Each game is very important. This game (against the Spurs) is important just because we want to go into Minnesota and go into this All-Star break with some momentum. So every night is a very important game."
And Utah's second-year swingman Gordon Hayward, who grew up admiring Duncan's San Antonio teammate Manu Ginobili so much that he chose the Argentian's No. 20 to wear as his own jersey number, is also an admirer of Duncan and the Spurs' championship legacy.

"Mr. Fundamental and always gets the job done," Hayward said of Duncan.

"He's isn't that flashy but he always seems to do whatever it takes to get the job done. That goes for Manu and (point guard) Tony Parker as well.

Utah Jazz notes: Raja Bell’s hot streak ends due to injury--Salt Lake Tribune

Josh Howard was promoted to the starting lineup in Bell’s place. With Howard playing small forward, Gordon Hayward slid down to the 2.

Utah Jazz notes: Raja Bell’s hot streak ends due to injury--Salt Lake Tribune

Josh Howard was promoted to the starting lineup in Bell’s place. With Howard playing small forward, Gordon Hayward slid down to the 2.

Kragthorpe: Jazz come close to Spurs, but that’s all--Salt Lake Tribune

Even before the unhappy ending, the Jazz were making so many of their usual, maddening mistakes. Favors and Enes Kanter repeatedly failed to grab a rebound, eventually resulting in DeJuan Blair’s tip-in. Gordon Hayward had an open lane and settled for a pull-up jump shot that missed. Alec Burks tried to lob a pass toward the basket, into heavy traffic.

Non-Conference Opponents Update: February 20--Hammer and Rails

Butler Bulldogs - 17-12, 10-6 Horizon, RPI: 113 - Dig out your Butler shirts this week, because the Bulldogs are making the run we need them to. They crushed Indiana State in the BracketBusters after winning at home against Loyola (IL). With wins this week over Illinois-Chicago and Valparaiso they can get into the top 100, which is important because then they are not considered a "bad loss" anymore. Winning both games also might get them the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Tourney, which puts them just two games away from the NCAAs. They would still need a Detroit loss and a Cleveland State loss to get there, but at least one of those will happen since Cleveland State plays Detroit on Thursday. The conference tournament would also be played nearby at Valparaiso in that scenario, with the final at Hinkle Fieldhouse if it is not against Valpo.

Men's college basketball preview: Illinois-Chicago at Butler--The Indy Star
Ronald Nored's best moments for Butler--The Indy Star
Ronald Nored - 02/20/12--1070 The Fan
Shelvin Mack - 02/20/12--1070 The Fan
Two losses to Detroit costly--Indy Star Butler Insider
Roosevelt Jones Wins the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 20th, 2012--Butler Blue Fever
Butler (17-12) vs. UIC (8-18)--Butler Blue Fever
Hinkle Fieldhouse Time Lapse--ButlerSports.com
Butler Closes Homestand With “Senior Night”--ButlerSports.com

Hamm Named Horizon League Player of the Week--ButlerSports.com

This is the team the Heat imagined--South Florida Sun Sentinel

"No. 2, they have a lot more depth,'' he said, meaning a healthy Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem as well as the additions of Shane Battier and Norris Cole.

Cleveland State, Kent State facing important road tests on Tuesday--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Jeremy Lin, Norris Cole reveal college basketball's little secret: 'We do miss players' -- Terry Pluto--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland State (20-8) Takes On Green Bay (12-14)--Vikings Ball
Trevon Harmon Wins the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - February 20th, 2012--Vikings Ball
Vikings Travel to Green Bay for Final Regular Season Road Contest--csuvikings.com

Preview: UIC at Butler--The Chicago Tribune
Flames bust 26-game road losing streak--Whoosh!Net
UIC (8-18) Takes On Butler (17-12)--Flame Fanatic
Flames Travel to Butler for Horizon League Road Finale Tuesday--uicflames.com
UIC Basketball Partners with ON THE LINE in Support of Prostate Cancer Awareness--uicflames.com

Preview: Loyola at Valparaiso--The Chicago Tribune
Loyola (Chicago) (7-19) and Valparaiso (19-10) Face Off--LU Wolf Ball
Joe Crisman Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 20th, 2012--LU Wolf Ball
Ben Averkamp Named Horizon League Player Of The Week--LoyolaRamblers.com

Rob Demovsky column: Wardle's first picks leaving UWGB with class--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay (12-14) Goes Up Against Cleveland State (20-8)--Phoenix Fever
Green Bay Closes Home Slate Tuesday Night--uwgbathletics.com

Panthers squeak out victory at home 67-63 over Fairfield--UWM Post
Tony Meier Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - February 20th, 2012--UWM Update

Women’s basketball goes 1-1 in Ohio--UWM Post

Broekhoff leads Valparaiso to the brink of its first Horizon League title--The Post-Tribune
"Uncharted waters" for Valparaiso--Off The Mark
Valparaiso's Nick Shelton is embracing his final regular season--The NWI Times
Shawn Windsor: Tom Izzo praises Michigan State's inner toughness--The Detroit Free Press

Izzo is convinced that the team still hasn't reached its ceiling. He wants more consistency from Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix. He wants health for Travis Trice (ankle) and Brandon Wood (shoulder).

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is cautious about Gophers--The Detroit News

Fellow guard Brandon Wood hasn't missed any games but has been slowed by a strained right shoulder.

Izzo said he expects Wood to remove a protective brace he has been wearing on the shoulder sometime this week, but Wood still had it on during practice Monday.

Ryan Broekhoff is Runner-Up for the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - February 20th, 2012--Valpo Daily
Valparaiso (19-10) and Loyola (Chicago) (7-19) Face Off--Valpo Daily
Game Preview: Loyola--Section EE
Valpo Looks to Clinch HL Title, #1 Seed on Tuesday--valpoathletics.com

Despite losses, Slocum pleased--Youngstown Vindicator

End of the road--The Jambar

Loyola's Averkamp Earns Men's Basketball Player of the Week--Horizon League Network

Butler's Sarah Hamm Named Women's Basketball Player of the Week--Horizon League Network

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