STARREDFriday’s Pregame Shootaround: VCU visits UMass and a showdown in the A-Sun--CollegeBasketballTalk
1) Kendrick Perry (Youngstown State)
Perry scored 35 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in the Penguins’ 88-83 overtime win over Milwaukee.
2) LaVonte Dority (Valparaiso)
Dority made just three of his 13 shots from the field, scoring nine points in the Crusaders’ 67-53 loss at Green Bay.
Green Bay clinched the Horizon League regular season title with a 67-53 win over Valparaiso. As a result Brian Wardle’s team will host the quarterfinals and semifinals of the conference tournament, and should they advance to the title game they’ll host that as well.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:Late Night Snacks: UMass outruns VCU--CollegeBasketballTalk
Oakland is hoping to improve its standing within the Horizon League with a win over a UIC team that’s 0-13 in league play and mired in a 16-game losing streak. A Duke Mondy three-pointer as time expired gave the Golden Grizzlies a 76-75 win in the first meeting.
Also of note in the Horizon League is Wright State’s game against Detroit, with the Raiders looking to make a run at the three-seed in next month’s conference tournament. They currently trail Valparaiso by a game for third.
StarredThe Rundown: February 20--Run The Floor
Travis Bader (Oakland)
The 6-foot-5 wing threw off the mental handcuffs Wright State had placed on him during Oakland’s recent loss, converting four of six threes and attempting twelve free throws in a win over UIC.
Oakland has always been known more for its offensive, and not defensive, schemes, but the former Summit League member limited UIC to just over one point per possession and only twelve two-point field goal makes.
Valparaiso at Green BayFebruary 20 Winners and Losers--Run The Floor
Green Bay has a 2 game lead in the Horizon over Valpo. The Crusaders smacked the Phoenix by 15 in the first meeting. A win here would clinch the Horizon league regular season title for the Phoenix since they have a 2 game lead on Cleveland State and swept the Vikings.
Green BayNight Court: UNC nabs 8th straight ACC W; Horizon title clinched--Eye On College Basketball
The Phoenix won big in the return game against Valpo. Not only did they get the satisfaction of that, but they clinched the Horizon league title. They are guaranteed to at least make the NIT. Congratulations to Green Bay.
That's a good win: Green Bay clinches at least share of Horizon League regular-season title.The Final Stretch: Title race reset--Eye On College Basketball
The Phoenix won 67-53 at home over Valpo to give Brian Wardle his first Horizon League title as a head coach. This is a team that won over Virginia earlier in the season and fell to Wisconsin by just three points. Good chance it can earn a No. 12 seed, maybe even a No. 11 if it doesn't lose before Selection Sunday.
Players with impact
Kendrick Perry, really one of the unheralded mid-major stars in the nation, led the country in scoring Thursday night. Perry put up 35 for the Penguins in Youngstown State's 88-83 OT win over Milwaukee. He also had four steals.
You sway away eight or more in a game, you get a mention. Alec Brown of Green Bay will be subject to a feature soon here at the blog, and he came up big in the Phoenix's win Thursday over Valpo.
Horizon: The only thing left to see is if Cleveland State can forge a tie in the standings – as Green Bay is up two games with two left, and also beat Cleveland State twice during the season.College Hoops Viewing Guide: February 25, 2014--College Sports Madness
ElsewhereMid-Major Rankings for the Week of Feb. 24--The Catch and Shoot
Valparaiso Crusaders (17-12, 9-5 Horizon) at Wright State Raiders (16-13, 6-8 Horizon), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Youngstown State Penguins (15-14, 6-8 Horizon) at Cleveland State Vikings (19-10, 10-4), 7 p.m. (Horizon League Network)
Longwood Lancers (8-21, 3-11 Big South) at Liberty Flames (10-19, 4-10), 7 p.m. (Flames Sports Network/MASN/ESPN3)
UIC Flames (5-23, 0-14 Horizon) at Milwaukee Panthers (16-12, 6-8), 8 p.m. (Horizon League Network)
Wichita State Shockers (29-0, 16-0 MVC) at Bradley Braves (12-17, 7-9), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
The main attraction out of this group of games is Wichita State's continued quest for regular season perfection. However, Cleveland State and Valparaiso each have crucial games in the race for the second seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
3. Green Bay (22-5, 12-2 Horizon). Last week: 6
Green Bay clinched the outright Horizon League title and No. 1 seed in the Horizon League Tournament with a win against Valparaiso on Thursday. The Phoenix finish the regular season at Oakland and Detroit.
24. Cleveland State (19-10, 10-4 Horizon). Last week: 23
Cleveland State can clinch the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League with a win Saturday at Valparaiso
LeBron James hurts nose, leads Miami Heat in rout of Thunder--Miami Herald
Norris Cole gave Miami a 17-point lead with 8:36 left in the half with a 3-pointer but the Thunder soon mounted a comeback.Chris Bosh now center of gravity for Miami Heat--Miami Herald
Bosh is shooting 36.9 percent from three-point range this season and has already attempted 122 shots from beyond the arc. By comparison, that’s more than guard Norris Cole (120 attempts). What’s more, Bosh’s three-point percentage is better than that of LeBron James (36.6 percent), Ray Allen (35.4), Battier (34.8) and Rashard Lewis (34.3).Comfort level for Heat's Mario Chalmers at all-time high--South Florida Sun Sentinel
Chalmers' play of late has widened the gap between backup Norris Cole. There was talk at the beginning of the season of Cole perhaps challenging Chalmers for playing time, even the starting spot. While Cole has somewhat leveled off the last month, Chalmers has elevated his game.Critical games on tap for Cleveland State, Kent State, Akron - Local college hoops this weekend--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland State defense shuts down Milwaukee in 74-50 win--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Akron, or another MAC team, could feel the sting of tournament format - local college hoops this week--Cleveland Plain Dealer
For the majority of mid-major conferences, where it is rare to have more than a team or two annually compete for a league title, such a format protects the yearly elite. This season the Horizon League, which many compare to the MAC, has Green Bay (22-5, 12-2) clearly the best in the league, and two games ahead of the pack in the HL standings.Cleveland State not 100 percent for Youngstown State rematch - local college hoops this morning--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Injuries were a key to the Phoenix losing their two league games, but still, nobody else in the HL could touch them. Green Bay deserves to be rewarded for winning the conference, and protected as the best possible HL representative to the NCAA Tournament.
This is normal for the Horizon League, where only once in the last six years has more than two teams finished within two games of the conference champion. But the MAC is different.
Vikings victorious over Milwaukee--The Cauldron
Cleveland State 74, Milwaukee 50--Cleveland State Hoops
Cleveland State Takes Loss against Green Bay 68-54--Vikings Ball
Cleveland State Crushes Milwaukee 74-50--Vikings Ball
Updated: Cleveland State (19-10) vs. Youngstown State (15-14)--Vikings Ball
Cleveland State vs Milwaukee Men's Hoops Promo--csuvikings.com
Vikings Continue Homestand Against Milwaukee--csuvikings.com
Vikings Top Milwaukee, 74-50, on Senior Day--csuvikings.com
Vikings Host Youngstown State in Regular Season Home Finale--csuvikings.com
Cleveland State MBB vs Youngstown Promo--csuvikings.com
Coleman Scores 1,000th Point As Vikings Drop Close Contest At Green Bay--csuvikings.com
Women's Basketball Falls At Milwaukee--csuvikings.com
Critical trip to L.A. coming up for Ducks--The Register-Guard
“We are making steps,” senior guard Jason Calliste said. “We are pushing each other to make the right plays. It is about palying hard for us. When we have a slow start it is because we are not playing hard. It has nothing to do with talent or anything like that.”Wright State defeats Detroit 65-61--The Oakland Press
Detroit Tripped Up by Wright State 65-61--Titans Update
Titans Drop Tough One at Wright State, 65-61--detroittitans.com
Detroit Falls In Shootout To Wright State--detroittitans.com
Titans Put On Another Great National Girls & Women In Sports Day--detroittitans.com
Freshman Sensation Galloway Earns Second Straight HL Honor--detroittitans.com
Titans To Clash With Crusaders On Wednesday--detroittitans.com
Oakland Coach Kampe Says Bader Should Have Future in NBA--The Catch and Shoot
Travis Bader, Duke Mondy pace Oakland past Illinois-Chicago--The Detroit Free Press
Ralph Hill excels for Oakland as Tommie McCune sits due to suspension--Grizzlies Den
Oakland freshmen Jalen Hayes, Artis Cleveland progressing in red-shirt seasons--Grizzlies Den
Oakland Punishes UIC 86-71--Grizz Gang
Oakland (11-18) Goes Up against Green Bay (22-5)--Grizz Gang
OU holds on despite late UIC run--Oakland Post
Oakland Cruises Past UIC, 86-71--ougrizzlies.com
OAKLAND FALLS AT VALPO 84-70--ougrizzlies.com
Oakland Pulls Away from UIC Behind Bader’s 28 Points--The Catch and Shoot
Illinois College Basketball Rankings for the Week of Feb. 24--The Catch and Shoot
13. UIC (5-23, 0-14 Horizon). Last week: 13Tuesday's matchup: UIC at Milwaukee--The Chicago Tribune
UIC is one of four teams (TCU, Southern Utah, Citadel) that is winless in conference play. The Flames have lost 17 straight games and finish the regular season this week against Milwaukee and Wright State.
Force is with Bader, Oakland--Whoosh!Net
UIC Punished by Oakland 86-71--Flame Fanatic
UIC (5-23) Squares Off with Milwaukee (16-12)--Flame Fanatic
UIC's Comeback Falls Short Against Oakland, 86-71--uicflames.com
Flames Set For Final HL Road Game on Tuesday at Milwaukee--uicflames.com
Flames Seek Program Record Thursday at Youngstown State--uicflames.com
O26 Weekly Awards: Wyoming, Billy Baron, Brian Wardle & George Mason…--Rush The Court
O26 Team of the WeekO26 Resume Review: Bubble Watch Edition--Rush The Court
Honorable Mentions: Green Bay (2-0: @Youngstown State, @Cleveland State); Middle Tennessee State (2-0: vs. Tulane, vs. Southern Miss); Eastern Michigan (2-0: @Ball State, vs. Toledo).
O26 Coach of the Week
Brian Wardle – Green Bay. This time last week, Green Bay appeared to be struggling. The team had just been thoroughly beaten at home by a solid-but-inferior Milwaukee bunch, and star center Alec Brown seemed not himself since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him against Valparaiso a couple weeks earlier. Moreover, the metrics showed the Phoenix to be slipping on both ends of the court. Confidence might have also been slipping, not that any measurement would prove it. So credit Wardle, then, for the sharp turnaround that came next: Thursday night at Youngstown State, Green Bay responded to the loss by absolutely manhandling the Penguins by a whopping 31-point margin. Wardle’s club held preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Kendrick Perry to just 10 points — one of only two players to reach double-figures — and didn’t allow YSU many second chance looks at the basket. Brown, meanwhile, was back to his excellent self, scoring 24 points on 10-fof-14 shooting and swatting three shots. The 71-40 final was a categorical beat-down, by any metric.
Saturday, though, was the big test, on the road at surging Cleveland State. Although the Vikings were without leading-scorer Bryn Forbes, Green Bay still came in as a slight underdog at the Wolstein Center. The game was huge, the stakes were high… and whatever Wardle said to his guys beforehand worked incredibly well. The Phoenix smacked Cleveland State right out of the tunnel, jumping to a 16-2 lead in the opening seven minutes and never allowing the Vikings to get within 11 points the rest of the way. It was the definition of a wire-to-wire thrashing, putting to rest questions about Green Bay’s confidence, Brown’s health, and whether Wardle’s team is the best in the league — it most definitely is. The coach deserves a nod for re-energizing and refocusing his talented bunch as it heads into the final month of the season.
OthersMid-Major Madness Power 15: Green Bay Makes it's Move, Delaware Plummets--Mid-Major Madness
Locks: Wichita State
A lot of work to do: Toledo, Green Bay, Stephen F. Austin
Green Bay (21-5, #64 RPI). The only thing keeping Green Bay in the at-large picture is a strong non-conference win against Virginia (#17 RPI) in December. While the Cavaliers disappointed early, their resurgence in ACC play make Green Bay’s win look better by the day. Yet that’s the only top-100 RPI win on the entire docket. The Phoenix stayed within three of Wisconsin in mid-November and also have a 12-point loss to Harvard, but they also have two sub-100 RPI losses to Milwaukee and Valparaiso. Green Bay needs to win just one of its last three games in the Horizon League to take the regular season title and earn home court advantage throughout the conference tournament. Again, auto-bid or bust.
Green Bay (22-5) Squares Off with Oakland (11-18)--Phoenix Fever
NOTEBOOK: Brown Helps Secure First League Title in 18 Years--GreenBayPhoenix.com
The Madness is Coming: Horizon League Championship Tickets On Sale Now--GreenBayPhoenix.com
Women's basketball: Monke lifts UWGB over Cleveland State in 1st career start--Green Bay Press Gazette
UWGB's annual PinkZone game extra special for Weitzers--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Youngstown State tops UWGB to create 3-way tie for 1st--Green Bay Press Gazette
Mike Vandermause column: Don't underestimate young UWGB women's squad--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's Basketball Controls Paint Play to Get by Cleveland State, 59-56--GreenBayPhoenix.com
Youngstown State Uses Second Half Runs to Top Phoenix, 72-63--GreenBayPhoenix.com
Panthers succumb on Kendrick Perry's record night--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Winter gets a bit chillier for Panthers--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Panthers, Flames will square off on Senior Night--PantherU
Updated: Milwaukee (16-12) Squares Off with UIC (5-23)--UWM Update
Panthers Wrap Up Road Swing At Cleveland State--uwmpanthers.com
Panthers Can't Overcome Slow Start In Falling To Vikings--uwmpanthers.com
Panthers Back Home For Senior Night Tuesday--uwmpanthers.com
UWM loses battle of struggling squads--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Rodriguez, Young lead Panthers--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Postgame Report: Cleveland State at Milwaukee--Panther Blog Zone
Green Nets 1,000th Career Point But Panthers Fall To Penguins--uwmpanthers.com
Panthers Host Cleveland State In Final Game Of February--uwmpanthers.com
Rodriguez, Young Pace Milwaukee In Big Victory Over Cleveland State--uwmpanthers.com
Green Bay clinches Horizon title after beating Valparaiso--The Post-Tribune
Horizon League seeding still important for Valpo--The Post-Tribune
Men’s basketball: Valpo really needs to win last two games--The Post-Tribune
VU's Dority limited as Green Bay clinches Horizon League title--The NWI Times
Crusaders entering key seven-day stretch to determine conference finish--The NWI Times
'Big Shot Bob' delivers for Valparaiso University's men's basketball team--The NWI Times
Challenging week ahead for Valparaiso men's basketball team--The NWI Times
Valpo vs. Youngstown State Wrap up--The Torch
Valparaiso Sneaks by Youngstown State 68-66--Valpo Daily
Updated: Valparaiso (17-12) vs. Wright State (16-13)--Valpo Daily
Valpo Looks to Bounce Back Saturday versus YSU--valpoathletics.com
Crusaders Pull Out Key Win Over YSU Saturday--valpoathletics.com
Valpo Men's Basketball Postgame Press Conference - Youngstown State--valpoathletics.com
Crusaders Kick Off Final Week of Regular Season at WSU--valpoathletics.com
Peters Earns HL Freshman of the Week Award--valpoathletics.com
Valpo Men's Basketball Weekly Preview Show--valpoathletics.com
Women’s basketball: Oakland (11-14, 6-6) at Valparaiso (3-21, 1-10)--The Post-Tribune
Women’s basketball: Valparaiso ends six-game skid--The Post-Tribune
Balanced effort leads Crusaders past Oakland women--The NWI Times
Play 4 Kay Game on Tap for Crusaders Saturday vs. Oakland--valpoathletics.com
Karungi's Monster Game Leads Valpo over Oakland--valpoathletics.com
College Sports Madness Tabs Karungi as HL Women's Player of the Week--valpoathletics.com
Crusader Women Carry Momentum into Wednesday's Showdown with Detroit--valpoathletics.com
Raiders rally to topple Titans--Dayton Daily News
Sledge hammers the boards to offset Young’s absence--Dayton Daily News
Special night could be in store for WSU seniors--Dayton Daily News
Valparaiso -Wright State preview--Dayton Daily News
Raiders top Detroit on free t-shirt night 65-61--RaiderRoundball.com
Wright State Gets Win against Detroit 65-61--Rowdy Review
Updated: Wright State (16-13) and Valparaiso (17-12) Face Off--Rowdy Review
Men’s Basketball: Vest sparks Wright State’s second half rally over Detroit--The Guardian
Men’s Basketball: Plenty on the line for senior night--The Guardian
Men Hold Off Detroit 65-61--wsuraiders.com
Young in Round Two of Dark Horse Dunker Competition--wsuraiders.com
Women’s Basketball: Putting Green Bay, Cleveland State losses into perspective--The Guardian
Women Dominate Second Half for 102-82 Win at Detroit--wsuraiders.com
Sources: YSU’s Keene punched teammate Weber--Youngstown Vindicator
YSU seeks victory, respect at CSU--Youngstown Vindicator
Youngstown State Loses Heartbreaker to Valparaiso 68-66--Guin Report
Youngstown State (15-14) Faces Cleveland State (19-10)--Guin Report
Penguins Finding Offensive Groove Once Again--The Jambar
Ryan Weber Scores Career High 24 in 68-66 Loss at Valpo--ysusports.com
Men’s Basketball Visits Cleveland State in Road Finale--ysusports.com
Kendrick Perry Named Horizon League Men's Basketball Player of the Week--ysusports.com
Hornberger, Schlegel lift YSU women over Milwaukee--Youngstown Vindicator
YSU women grab share of first place--Youngstown Vindicator
On a Mission: ’97 – ’98 Penguins Aimed For Redemption (Part 1)--The Jambar
Hornberger, Schlegel Lead Penguins to 81-69 Win at Milwaukee--ysusports.com
YSU Moves Into Tie for First with 72-63 Win at Green Bay--ysusports.com
Schelgel Named Horizon League Women’s Basketball Player of the Week--ysusports.com
Oakland and Wright State Tally Key Conference Wins--Horizon League Network
CSU, Valpo Maintain Pace in Chase for Byes--Horizon League Network
YSU's Perry, Valpo's Peters Tabbed for #HLMBB Honors--Horizon League Network
Tickets Now On Sale for #HLMBB Tournament--Horizon League Network
Green Bay and Youngstown State Win to Stay at Top of Standings--Horizon League Network
Wright State and Valparaiso Score Key Wins on Saturday--Horizon League Network
YSU Win Creates Three-Way Tie at Top; UWM Captures Big Home Win--Horizon League Network
Schlegel Named Player of the Week, Galloway Earns Freshman Honors--Horizon League Network