Monday, February 6, 2012

News On The Horizon 2/7/2012

Power Rankings: Week 13--Horizon League Hoops
The Horizon’s 5 freshman to watch--Horizon League Hoops
Men's Basketball Games of the Week 2/6 - 2/10--College Sports Madness

VALPARAISO at CLEVELAND STATE (7 p.m. Thursday at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio)

With Valparaiso only a half-game behind Cleveland State and the Crusaders having beaten their Horizon League opponents once this season, this game will effectively decide the conference’s regular-season championship. Since dropping back-to-back games to Indiana-Purdue and Milwaukee, Valparaiso (17-8, 10-3) has won nine of its last 11 thanks to the scoring of Kevin Van Wijk (15.1 points per game) and Ryan Broekhoff (15.0 points, 8.6 rebounds). Valparaiso won 72-66 over Cleveland State on January 15. Cleveland State (20-4, 10-2) has also lost to Hofstra, Youngstown State and South Florida, but it appears to be a strong candidate for the NCAA tournament, especially if it can knock off Valparaiso. Cleveland State has won five in a row.

Women's Basketball Games of the Week 2/6 - 2/10--College Sports Madness

DETROIT at No. 11 GREEN BAY (8 p.m. Thursday at Kress Events Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin)

In all likelihood, the Phoenix will rise again and the Horizon League title will be decided in this game. Detroit (12-11, 8-3) has a little misleading record, however. The Titans started out the season 1-8 before dramatically turning things around, and its loss to Green Bay was only by nine points, 68-59. Illinois-Chicago and Youngstown State have also beaten the Titans this season. Green Bay (20-0, 10-0) has beaten five straight opponents by 20 points or more since its closer game with Detroit. Look for this game to be a closer one than Green Bay has had recently.

2012 NCAA Tournament: Indiana, Notre Dame, and Louisville Are Safe--SB Nation Indiana

Conference Tournament or Bust:

Valparaiso Crusaders - 17-8, 10-3 Horizon League - Thursday night is a huge game for Valpo, as they travel to Cleveland State in Horizon League play with first place on the line. A win would tie the teams in the loss column, but it would give Valparaiso a critical season sweep of the Vikings. That would put the Horizon League tourney on Valpo's floor and they would need only two home wins to go the NCAAs as long as they win the regular season title. A regular season title also assures an NIT berth at worst.

If Valparaiso can sweep this weekend's road trip to Cleveland State and Youngstown State they only have remaining conference games against Loyola (IL) and Illinois-Chicago (thee two worst teams in the league) and a home game against Butler.

Butler Bulldogs - 13-12, 7-6 Horizon - I've downgraded Butler this week because they can't gain any traction in a crowded Horizon League. Their loss at home to Detroit was a pretty bad one, and it could get worse this week with trips to Youngstown State and Cleveland State. Butler will have a very long road in the Horizon League Tournament as opposed to the favorable placement at home that they are used to.

Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward goes back for seconds at Olive Garden in New York City--Deseret News
Roosevelt Jones Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Butler Blue Fever

Beth Couture Show - Episode

Tuesday Truths--Basketball Prospectus

Horizon: My multi-week salute to Gary Waters continues!

W-L Pace PPP Opp. PPP EM
1. Cleveland St. 10-2 62.5 1.10 0.91 +0.19
2. Valparaiso 10-3 63.6 1.06 1.01 +0.05
3. Detroit 7-6 64.7 1.06 1.01 +0.05
4. Youngstown St. 8-5 62.4 1.06 1.02 +0.04
5. Milwaukee 8-5 64.3 0.97 0.94 +0.03
6. Butler 7-6 64.3 0.95 0.95 0.00
7. Wright St. 6-7 61.3 0.93 0.94 -0.01
8. Green Bay 5-7 66.2 1.01 1.03 -0.02
9. UIC 3-10 61.7 0.96 1.06 -0.10
10. Loyola 0-13 58.0 0.87 1.09 -0.22

AVG. 62.9 1.00

No team -- not even Syracuse or Kentucky -- is dominating their Tuesday Truths league in per-possession terms the way Cleveland State is dominating the Horizon. It's true the conference has taken a step back from what we've seen in recent years, but Gary Waters' team is clearly moving in the opposite direction. Since the first installment of these figures was posted three weeks ago, the Vikings have run away from the rest of the conference and vaulted over 40-plus teams nationally in the Pomeroy ratings. And yet even at this late date no one's talking about CSU, which is weird because they did win at (Festus Ezeli-less) Vanderbilt way back when. Maybe no one's talking because it's true that Cleveland State will still have to win the Horizon tournament to go dancing. Assuming they do, however, you don't want to see this team in the brackets.

Anton Grady Wins the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Vikings Ball
First Place Vikings Host Valparaiso on

Eli Holman Wins the StatSheet Horizon Sixth Man of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Titans Update
CHEER FOR A COIN! – Detroit Titans v. James

Brown Tabbed College Sports Madness HL Player Of The

Vikings show hustle and muscle--Whoosh!Net
Free Bus Rides to Loyola Available for UIC

Skube steps up with Samplawski sitting at Loyola--The Post-Tribune

Prudential To Serve As Title Sponsor For Loyola Basketball Doubleheader Feb.
Take Advantage Of Groupon Deal For Loyola Men's Hoops

Women's basketball: UWGB rises to No. 9 in AP Top 25--Green Bay Press Gazette
Rob Demovsky column: UWGB women's basketball team flourishes under coach Matt Bollant--Green Bay Press Gazette

Keifer Sykes is Runner-Up for the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Phoenix Fever

Records are made to be celebrated--PantherU
Milwaukee Long-Distance Barrage Sinks Green Bay, 81-75--Milwaukee Panther Tracks

After Brandon Wood's bounceback vs. Michigan, Tom Izzo will reconsider lineup--The Detroit Free Press
Spartans' Tom Izzo: 'I do think we are going to be a better team two weeks from now'--The Detroit Free Press

Freshman Branden Dawson has played his best ball the last four games -- he scored in double digits back-to-back games and finally is playing with the energy Izzo has been seeking. Senior transfer Brandon Wood didn't start in Sunday's win over Michigan but responded with his best effort in almost a month.

"We are getting some improvement," said Izzo, citing, along with Dawson and Wood, freshman Brandan Kearney, who "has done way more than I thought he would do."

Brandon Wood adjusts to coming off bench for Michigan State--The Detroit News
2013 Wing Clay Yeo.--Hoosierland Report
Richie Edwards is Runner-Up for the StatSheet Horizon Sixth Man of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Valpo Daily
A PPS Statistical Preview for Thursday--Section EE

Wright State women’s basketball enters week tied for second place in Horizon League--Wright State University Sports
AJ Pacher Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Sixth Man of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Rowdy Review

YSU makes Horizon history--Youngstown Vindicator
Kendrick Perry named Horizon League Player of the Week--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Damian Eargle Wins the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - February 6th, 2012--Guin Report

Middlebrooks shoots for stars--The Jambar

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