Side DishesMid-major reset: Picking top teams & players outside the major conferences--Sports Illustrated
A stunner in the Horizon League as Youngstown State went on the road and defeated Oakland 100-98 on a tip-in by Jorden Kaufman at the buzzer. The Penguins (picked ninth in the HL preseason poll) perennially face an uphill battle in the Horizon but always give an honest effort, and they won this one despite missing their best player, as Bobby Hain is out with a foot injury.
Also in the Horizon, Wisconsin-Milwaukee set a school record with 14 blocked shots and J.J. Panoske reset his own school record with eight blocks as the Panthers rallied to top league newcomer Northern Kentucky 76-67.
Top three contenders
Valparaiso (11–3, Horizon League). The Crusaders returned every major contributor from the team that won 28 games and pushed No. 4 seed Maryland in a three-point loss in the NCAA tournament last season. They opened this season 5–0 and split a pair of games against Oregon (loss) and Oregon State (win) in late November but stubbed their collective toe at Ball State a few days later. That defeat hurts, but Valparaiso can really guard (No. 2 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency), and it remains the odds-on favorite to win the Horizon and will be a scary matchup for any major-conference opponent in the tourney.
Player of the year so far
Kay Felder, Oakland. There would have been no debate for who deserved this honor had the Golden Grizzlies managed to upset No. 1 Michigan State at the Palace of Auburn Hills last month (they lost by six in overtime). But Felder is a really strong candidate nonetheless. He leads Division I in assists per game and Offensive Win Shares, ranks second in points per game and fifth in minutes played per game. The 5’9” junior scored 38 points to lead Oakland to a 14-point win at Washington on Dec. 19, dropped 37 points in the loss to the Spartans three days later and 30 in a defeat at the hands of Virginia late last month. Felder is an electric scorer who’s proven he can light up major conference teams; let’s hope he gets a chance to display his talent in the NCAAs. Even the best center in the NBA is a believer.
Forbes fine-tunes game as MSU’s go-to guy--The Detroit News
A Look at What’s Upcoming This Week for Cleveland State Sports--NEO Sports Insiders
Cleveland State Falls to Detroit 88-80 in Horizon League Hoops--NEO Sports Insiders
Make Plans To Be At Third Titan Luncheon On Jan. 13--detroittitans.com
Titans Welcomes Schools, Employees for Field Trip Day on Feb. 11--detroittitans.com
Poor defensive efforts result in first league loss for Oakland--Oakland Post
OAKLAND INSIDER BY TERRY FOSTER--ougrizzlies.com
Women's basketball wins four straight over break--Oakland Post
Flames Ready For League Battle With Oakland Thursday--uicflames.com
UWGB men win in comeback fashion--Green Bay Press Gazette
Men’s Basketball Gets First Conference Victory--UWM Post
Johnson leads the way for Milwaukee--PantherU
Valpo Heads to Oakland For Nationally-Televised Showdown--valpoathletics.com
Crusaders Take on Titans Thursday in Dorow's 500th Game--valpoathletics.com
Holland tosses in career high 19 points, but Milwaukee rallies in late going to edge NKU men--Northern Kentucky Tribune
Horizon League Addition NKU, Not New to WSU--RaiderRoundball.com
Penguins’ smaller, faster lineup performing well--Youngstown Vindicator
Penguins stun Oakland, 100-98--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Upset win gives Penguins confidence in Horizon--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Men's Basketball Hosts Milwaukee in HL Home Opener Thursday--ysusports.com
Jackson’s actions helping Penguins--Youngstown Vindicator
Cash earns weekly honor--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Women Host Milwaukee in Basketball Doubleheader on Thursday--ysusports.com