Wednesday, March 2, 2016

News On The Horizon 3/2/2016

NIT Bracketology: Feb. 25, 2016--Big Apple Buckets
Seriously considered: Southern Illinois, Pepperdine, Columbia, Oakland, UT Arlington, Siena, Louisiana Tech, UTEP, Memphis, Towson, New Mexico, Northwestern, Nevada, Ohio, Iona, MTSU, Long Beach St., Virginia Tech, William & Mary
The Morning Dish – Friday, February 26, 2016--Hoopville
Tonight’s Menu:
If Valparaiso wins its last two in the Horizon League, it will have earned it. The Crusaders begin the Wisconsin trip with a game at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (7 p.m., ESPN2). Also, the burgeoning Detroit/Oakland rivalry is renewed (9 p.m., ESPNU) and we’ll be on hand up in Green Bay, where Illinois-Chicago takes on high-octane Wisconsin-Green Bay.
NIT Bracketology: March 1, 2016--Hoopville
Seriously considered: Illinois St., Oakland, UCSB, James Madison, Iona, Fresno St., Ohio, Northwestern, Long Beach St., Penn St., Rhode Island, Richmond
The Morning Dish – Sunday, February 28, 2016--Hoopville
Today’s Menu: Heavy on a diet of big games in out-of-the-spotlight leagues
Valparaiso closes the regular season with a challenge at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Likewise, Tulsa goes on the road as well, and Memphis’s size will be a test for a team that is far deeper in the backcourt than up front (4 p.m., ESPNU).
VIDEO: Max Hooper hugs ailing father in stands after Oakland’s win on senior night--CollegeBasketballTalk
LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 5 Xavier, No. 8 Iowa suffer road losses--CollegeBasketballTalk
Alec Peters, Valparaiso: 25 points and 15 rebounds in the Crusaders’ two-point win at Green Bay.
Valparaiso, already the Horizon League regular season champion, moved to 26-5 on the season with a 70-68 win at Green Bay. Alec Peters finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds.
Previewing 13 mid-major conference tournaments--Sports Illustrated
Horizon League

Championship game info: Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. (Full bracket and schedule can be found here.)

The favorite: Valparaiso has rode its elite defense all the way to a 26–5 record and 16–2 mark in conference play. The Crusaders boast the No. 4 adjusted defensive efficiency in the country and are holding opponents to 40.9% shooting on two-point attempts. They’ve defeated the entire Horizon League save for one team—Wright State, which won both regular-season matchups. Valpo could be a Cinderella candidate in the NCAA tournament, but the Crusaders have to qualify for the tourney first.

The contender(s): Oakland and Wright State. Okland (sic) is led by 5’9” do-everything guard Kay Felder, whose versatile stat lines may only be trumped by LSU’s Ben Simmons. The Grizzlies know how to score and took Valparaiso and its defense to the edge on the road just a few games ago. Meanwhile, Wright State seems to have Valpo’s number, having taken down the Crusaders twice this season. Beating a team three times in once season is hard, but the Raiders would likely have more confidence than anyone should they face the Crusaders in the Horizon League final.

The sleeper: Green Bay has been rather inconsistent this season (it went through a 12-game stretch where it didn’t win consecutive games), but before the Phoenix lost their regular-season finale to Valparaiso they had found some footing, winning four in a row. Green Bay’s biggest challenge is the fact that it is 0–4 against Valpo and Oakland, and odds are it would need to beat at least one to capture the Horizon League crown. But the Phoenix average 86 points per game and could be a tough out if their defense is able to step up.
Carter sparks Valparaiso late, beats Milwaukee 80-76 in OT--CBS Sports
Green Bay finishes fast, tops Illinois-Chicago, 85-69--CBS Sports
Oakland beats Detroit 108-97, clinches 2nd seed in Horizon--CBS Sports
Karena scores 18, Wright State beats Cleveland State 55-51--CBS Sports
Youngstown State defeats Northern Kentucky 94-75 in finale--CBS Sports
Hammink hits late 3; Valparaiso beats Green Bay 70-68--CBS Sports
Johnson sets assists mark and Milwaukee beats UIC 98-85--CBS Sports
Valparaiso Holds Off Milwaukee in an Overtime Thriller--Mid-Major Madness
Horizon League basketball award predictions--Mid-Major Madness
On The Menu: Sunday, February 28, 2016--Blogging the Bracket

Valparaiso Crusaders (25-5, 15-2) at Green Bay Phoenix (19-11, 11-6), 3 p.m. (ESPN3)

This is a possible Horizon semifinal preview, as the Crusaders have locked up the top seed and the Phoenix will finish fourth. Valpo topped the Phoenix by 15 at the ARC on January 16th.
I Slept On It: Seton Hall, Wisconsin Move Closer; The American Is A Potential Mess--Blogging the Bracket

Valparaiso (26-5, 16-2) completed its Wisconsin road swing with another close Horizon League win, 70-86 over Green Bay (19-12, 11-7).
What you need to know about Horizon League tourney at JLA--The Detroit Free Press
Mid-Major Rankings for the Week of Feb. 29--The Catch and Shoot
2. Valparaiso (26-5, 16-2 Horizon). Last week: 2
24. Oakland (21-10, 13-5 Horizon). Last week: Not Ranked
Horizon League Awards: Handing out all-conference honors--The Catch and Shoot

Baker, Grady lead Wichita St. past Loyola of Chicago 76-54--Wichita Eagle
Day After: Wichita State 76, Loyola 54--Wichita Eagle
Center Anton Grady scored 17 points in 22 minutes and Rashard Kelly added eight points for WSU. Grady’s contribution was particularly important because starter Shaq Morris played 11 foul-plagued minutes.
Stat that shouldn’t surprise you: Grady made 5 of 7 shots and his 15-foot jumper from around the top of the key is a increasingly important part of WSU’s offense. Grady is 28 of 42 (66.6 percent) from the field the past eight games. He has four assists in the past three games after going nine without one.

Grady, Morris and Rashard Kelly are each showing good passing skills in recent games, some of it helpful when teams zone the Shockers.

Stat that might surprise you: Grady made all seven of his foul shots, his most since making 7 of 9 at Tulsa in November. He entered the game shooting 56.5 percent from the line.
Trio of Wichita State seniors prepping for final home game--Wichita Eagle
Anton Grady and Bush Wamukota will also be playing their final home game Saturday, and will no doubt receive an appreciative reception from the crowd. But the trio of Wessel, VanVleet and Baker is such a rarity in college basketball these days that this week has turned into a celebration of them.
A look at Wichita State’s 2016 senior class--Wichita Eagle
Anton Grady

▪ Averages 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds in 25 games as a Shocker, shooting 50.7 percent from the field

▪ Scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds at Tulsa, 17 points vs. Evansville and 17 at Loyola

▪ Scored 1,360 points in 104 games at Cleveland State and 25 at WSU for a career average of 10.5 points

▪ All-Horizon League and All-Defensive team in 2015, second-team All-Horizon in 2014
Gameday update: Illinois State at Wichita State--Wichita Eagle
▪ Illinois State, as recent meetings show, can match the Shockers with size and athletic ability. It has won two in a row, rallying from second-half deficits both times, because Illinois State doesn’t get overwhelmed by the Shockers like most MVC teams.

The Redbirds present matchup problems all over the court because of their size and athletic ability. WSU’s centers will often have to guard post players who can make three-pointers — Deontae Hawkins — which is not what Shaq Morris and Anton Grady usually do. The Redbirds can often find size mismatches when Fred VanVleet, Conner Frankamp and Evan Wessel are on the floor.

It is a defensive challenge other Valley schools don’t present.
Bob Lutz: A fitting Shocker senior day, but more work to be done--Wichita Eagle
VanVleet, Ron Baker, Evan Wessel, Anton Grady and Bush Wamukota are likely finished at Koch. But, like the rest of the Shockers, they don’t want this season to end for a few more weeks.
Grady has spent only this season at WSU after transferring from Cleveland State. He suffered a spinal concussion in November and has had ups and downs. But he was special Saturday, with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
VIDEO: Wichita State postgame celebration with Gregg Marshall's thoughts on seniors--Wichita Eagle
Fans ‘forever grateful’ to Wichita State seniors--Wichita Eagle
Saturday’s rout of Illinois State was the last time this senior class – which also includes senior transfer Anton Grady and Bush Wamukota – will play in Koch Arena, but fans said they are confident the team will make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament in March.
“Thank you for embracing me and making me part of this family,” said Grady, who transferred to WSU after playing four seasons at Cleveland State.
VanVleet, Baker, Wessel, Grady and Wamukota received framed jerseys after the game as they walked across the court with their families.
MVC awards season should be kind to Wichita State basketball, again--Wichita Eagle
Several other Shockers, most prominently freshman Markis McDuffie and senior transfer Anton Grady, could also land on specialty teams.
Day After: Wichita State 74, Illinois State 58--Wichita Eagle
Stat that shouldn’t surprise you: Grady made 6 of 9 shots and is 36 of 58 in his past 10 games (62.1 percent). He is making a killing off 15-foot jumpers and hasn’t taken a three-pointer since Feb. 3.
Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet earns second MVC Player of the Year honor--Wichita Eagle
Markis McDuffie of WSU was named Freshman of the Year in the conference. McDuffie made the All-Newcomer and All-Freshman teams. WSU senior Anton Grady, a transfer from Cleveland State, was named to the All-Newcomer team.
Video | Trey Lewis talks Miami loss--Louisville Courier-Journal
Video | U of L's Trey Lewis on their last game at Yum!--Louisville Courier-Journal
Lee and Lewis stick up for grad transfer rule--Louisville Courier-Journal
Video | Mathiang on Trey Lewis, Damion Lee--Louisville Courier-Journal
Video | Lewis reflects on senior night ceremony--Louisville Courier-Journal
Video | Artist's portrait of U of L's Lee and Lewis--Louisville Courier-Journal
Lee, Lewis picked for senior all-star game--Louisville Courier-Journal
Sullivan | U of L's hired guns became heroes--Louisville Courier-Journal
Instant Analysis | U of L 56, Georgia Tech 53--Louisville Courier-Journal
Men’s basketball week of ups and downs--The Cauldron
Cleveland State Falls in Regular Season Finale to Wright State 55-51--NEO Sports Insiders
CSU Vikings the 9th Seed in the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship; Play Green Bay Saturday--NEO Sports Insiders
Cleveland State 63, NKU 58: ‘A Total Team Effort’ Lifts Vikings Past Northern Kentucky--Cleveland State Hoops
Wright State 55, Cleveland State 51: Vikings Rally Falls Short--Cleveland State Hoops
Cleveland State men will open HL basketball tournament vs. Green Bay--Cleveland State Hoops
CSU's Late Rally Falls Just Short in 55-51 Setback to Wright
Edwards Named Horizon League Freshman of the
Vikings Open Little Caesars Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship on Saturday vs. Green
Edwards Named To Horizon Leaugue All-Freshman

Mitchell Leads Vikings To Victory Over UIC On Senior
Abshaw Picks Up Freshman Of The Week
Balanced Attack Leads Vikings To 72-65 Victory Over

UDM's Ray McCallum: Kay Felder too tough for us to handle--The Detroit Free Press
Horizon, B1G women tourneys: When UDM, OU, U-M, MSU play--The Detroit Free Press
Former Titan Nick Minnerath Featured In SB
Bracket Set for Little Caesars Horizon League Men’s Basketball
Bass Tabbed First Team All-HL, McFolley Garners Freshman

Titans Battle Past #MetroSeries Rival Oakland in
Reynolds Named Horizon League Player of the

Max Hooper shares special senior night moment with cancer-stricken dad--The Dagger
Five storylines to watch in week one of conference tournament play--The Dagger
1. Will Kay Felder get his chance to shine on a national stage?

The most exciting player you may not have watched this season is an explosive 5-foot-9 point guard so good his coach went to unprecedented lengths to land him a few years ago. Even though Oakland coach Greg Kampe did not have a point guard on his roster, he refused to pursue one in the class before Felder's because he wanted to drive home the message to his prized recruit that the job was his right away.

The unorthodox recruiting strategy has proven worthwhile because Felder has evolved into perhaps the nation's premier mid-major player. Felder has made believers out of all the skeptics who once thought he was too small by scorching opposing defenses for 24.4 points and a national best 9.4 assists per game this season.

Fueled by the creativity of Felder and contributions from four other double-digit scorers, Oakland won 21 games and earned the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Tournament. Defending champion Valparaiso is a deserving favorite after winning the league by three games, but this is a league in which the favorite often experiences heartbreak and this season the Golden Grizzlies could be the ones to deliver it.
Oakland gets needed rest before Horizon semis at the Joe--The Detroit Free Press
Oakland's Hooper gets ultimate Senior Night gift -- his dad--The Detroit Free Press
Hard work leads Oakland's Kay Felder to Horizon League Player of Year--The Detroit Free Press
OU’s Kay Felder named Horizon player of week 7th time--The Detroit Free Press
Felder leads Oakland past rival Detroit--The Oakland Press
Oakland’s Felder named Horizon League Player of the Year--The Oakland Press
Felder nears triple-double as Oakland defeats Detroit, locks up Horizon League’s No. 2 seed--Press Row Sports
Motor City Madness: Bracket set for Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship--Press Row Sports
Horizon League Men’s Basketball Awards: Oakland’s Kay Felder named Player of the Year--Press Row Sports
Oakland drops UDM in nationally-televised offensive spectacular, clinches No.2 in league tournament--Oakland Post
In case you missed it: Hooper gets big surprise on senior night--Oakland Post
Felder and AD: When in league tourney, one game at a time--Oakland Post

Women's basketball falls to UDM in Metro Series overtime loss--Oakland Post

Rapid Reaction: Milwaukee 98, UIC 85--The Catch and Shoot
Gabe Snider’s reemergence gives UIC new dimension--The Catch and Shoot
Chicago Weekly Awards, Feb. 29--The Catch and Shoot
Player of the Week
Honorable mentions: Dikembe Dixson, UIC; Alex Olah, Northwestern; Tre Demps, Northwestern; Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern

Freshman of the Week
Honorable mentions: Dikembe Dixson, UIC; Aaron Falzon, Northwestern
Illinois Rankings for the Week of Feb. 29--The Catch and Shoot
12. UIC (5-24, 3-15 Horizon). Last week: 12

UIC lost to Green Bay and Milwaukee last week during a final road trip in Wisconsin. The Flames will face Wright State in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament.
Dixson receives unanimous Horizon League Freshman of the Year selection--The Catch and Shoot
Dixson earns All-Horizon League Second Team honors--The Catch and Shoot
Odiase selected to Horizon League All-Defensive Team--The Catch and Shoot
Men’s basketball preps for league championship--UIC News
Hard road continues--Whoosh!Net
Late barrage seals deal--Whoosh!Net
Flames burn brightly--Whoosh!Net
Flames Undone in Second Half at
UIC Opens #MotorCityMadness Saturday vs. Wright
Dixson Unanimously Named Horizon League Freshman of the
Odiase Earns Spot on Horizon League All-Defensive

UIC Lose Road Finale at Youngstown

UW-Green Bay cranking up pressure on both ends under new coach--Hoopville
UWGB men fall to Valparaiso in final seconds--Green Bay Press Gazette
UWGB's Love, Fouse earn Horizon League honors--Green Bay Press Gazette
Late Three-Pointer Gives Valpo Win Over Green Bay on Senior
Love and Fouse Collect All-League, All-Defensive Team

Lukan shines in UWGB’s 52-40 win--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay Defense Stifles NKU to Win on Senior

Seniors help UWM end regular season on strong note--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sports Briefs Tuesday--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Men’s Basketball Douses Flames in Regular Season Finale--UWM Post
Big Second Half Sends Panthers To Senior Day
Bracket Set for Little Caesars Horizon League Men’s Basketball
Former Panther Jordan Aaron Signs Professional
Tiby And Johnson Earn Horizon League Postseason

Panthers women take another step forward--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Women’s Basketball Weekend Round-up: Weekend Sweep Propels Panthers into Second-Place--UWM Post
One Down...Two To Go--Panther Blog Zone
Outstanding Season Continues With Big Win For
Ford-Washington Gets High Praise After Big

CBT BRACKETOLOGY: Spartans pushing for a No. 1 seed--CollegeBasketballTalk
Denver                  Oklahoma City
5) INDIANA              5) Purdue
12) VALPARAISO          12) TEMPLE
4) KENTUCKY             4) Iowa State
13) AKRON               13) STONY BROOK
Which mid-majors could crash the NCAA tournament with at-large bids?--Sports Illustrated
Valparaiso (26–5, 16–2 Horizon League)

The Crusaders are currently No. 44 in RPI and No. 33 on, but likely need to win the Horizon League tournament to go dancing. The only team in the conference that has managed to beat Valparaiso and its defense, which ranks No. 4 in the country in defensive efficiency, has been Wright State, and the Raiders swept the regular-season series. Valpo finished the regular season 26–5 with three RPI top-100 wins: at Oregon State, vs. IPFW and vs. Belmont, and also played Oregon very tough in a six-point loss in Eugene in November. But the pair of losses to Wright State could cost the Crusaders dearly if they don’t win the Horizon League tournament. The conference has not received an at-large bid since 2009, when 26–5 Butler was upset by Cleveland State in the championship and both went to the Big Dance.
W-2 BP68--Basketball Predictions
12. Tulsa
12. South Carolina
Six bold projections for college basketball's March Madness--USA Today
These under-the-radar stars will shine

► Alec Peters, Valparaiso: Junior big man averages 17.5 points and 8.3 rebounds a game on a veteran-laden team that should win the Horizon League. He had 18 points in a near-upset of Maryland last year.
Men's college basketball preview: Valparaiso at Green Bay--The Post-Tribune
Shane Hammink, Valparaiso end regular season with big win at Green Bay--The Post-Tribune
Alec Peters, Vashil Fernandez, Bryce Drew honored by Horizon League--The Post-Tribune
Crusaders hope to build momentum into postseason--The NWI Times
AL HAMNIK: Rocket launchers welcome in today's hoops--The NWI Times
Valparaiso University coach Bryce Drew, whose range was 24 feet as a player when he felt "fresh and ready to go," led the Crusaders to four Mid-Continent Conference regular season championships, four tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

The hometown product didn't do it shooting layups.

"Steph is such an unique player. I think he's great for the game," Drew said. "He's not a physically-dominating person. He's just ultra-, ultra-skilled and makes things look easy out there.

"He gets his shot off when he wants, he's creative, he doesn't need much room and what amazes me still is he has such a high IQ and tremendous basketball skills."

Drew says some of it is God-given, the rest of it hard work, repetition and incredible muscle memory.

And that sick range? Curry often hits a half dozen half-court shots, effortlessly, while "warming up" in pregame.

"That's not normal at all," Drew chuckled.

When kids at the VU camps try catapulting shots from beyond and are physically unable, Drew has them focus on high-percentage attempts.

Recruiting is a different story.

"I think you have to have at least a couple guys on the floor that can make 3s at a good rate," Drew said. "If not, defenses, especially at the college level, are too good and you'll have a harder time scoring."

VU has two good ones in Alec Peters and Keith Carter.

"It's really opened things up for other guys," Drew said.

The career leader in points (2,142), 3-point field goals (364) and assists (626) at Valpo, Drew had a brief NBA career with Houston, the Bulls and Charlotte.

He set a then-Hornets record with nine consecutive 3s over a two-game stretch in 2001-02, shooting 42.5 percent for that season and agrees the trey is here to stay.

"Definitely. The players are so good and the game is moving so fast," Drew said. "If you dribble and try to shoot a pull-up, it's either going to be contested or be blocked.

"If you look at the mid-range guys, it's Kobe posting up, it's LeBron posting, it's Dirk Nowitzki posting and shooting over the top of guys at 17 feet.

"You have to be big and long to be able to do that stuff."
Crusaders get second straight late victory in Wisconsin--The NWI Times
Scouting the Horizon League men's basketball tournament--The NWI Times
Valparaiso and the rest of the Horizon League will invade Detroit--The NWI Times
Drew, Fernandez repeat as Horizon League award winners--The NWI Times
Valpo escapes Milwaukee win overtime win--The Torch
Hammink’s Heroics Send Crusaders Home
More Honors Roll In For Valpo’s Alec
Fernandez, Peters, Drew Earn Horizon League Postseason
Run at the Top: The Crusaders' Success Under Bryce Drew--Valparaiso University

Comeback Attempt Thwarted at Cleveland
Hot-shooting Penguins overwhelm NKU--The Northerner
@NKUNorseMBB succumbs to YSU, earns eight-seed in
No. 8 @NKUNorseMBB to face No. 5 Milwaukee in

Green Bay defense stifles Norse--The Northerner
Free throw shooting puts Norse among nation’s best--The Northerner
McDonald nets #HLMBB All-Freshman Team

Men Defeat Cleveland State in Regular-Season
Raiders Open Tournament vs
Thomasson Honored by Horizon

Women Drop 68-57 Decision at

Penguins cruise in home finale vs. NKU--Youngstown Vindicator
Cameron Morse’s troubled hometown of Flint, Michigan is on his mind--Youngstown Vindicator
Penguins put it together on Hain’s night--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Slocum emotional about Hain’s season--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
We Got to Get One for Bob on His Night”--The Jambar
YSU Hopes to Make a Postseason Run--The Jambar
Penguins Garner 7th Seed in Little Caesars Horizon League Men’s Basketball
Morse Earns Second-Team Honors, Andrews Named to All-Freshman

Jackson’s actions highlight Senior Night for YSU--Youngstown Vindicator
YSU’s Benjamin matches career-best in victory--Youngstown Vindicator
No. 2 seed possible for YSU women--Youngstown Vindicator
Finishing strong--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
The Penguins’ Defense Stands Tall Against UIC--The Jambar
Remembering the Run--The Jambar
YSU’s Fighting for a Double-Bye--The Jambar
Benjamin, Defense Lead Penguins to 62-41 Win Over
Penguins Begin Final Road Trip at NKU on

YSU Clinches Seven Seed For Motor City Madness--Horizon League Network
Bracket Set for Little Caesars Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship--Horizon League Network
Crusaders Late Three Sinks Green Bay; UWM Runs Past UIC--Horizon League Network
Oakland's Felder, Valpo's Peters and CSU's Edwards Collect Men's Basketball Honors--Horizon League Network
Horizon League Announces 2016 Men's Basketball Awards--Horizon League Network

Milwaukee Takes Over No. 2 Seed Saturday--Horizon League Network
YSU Defeats UIC, 62-41--Horizon League Network
Detroit's Reynolds, Milwaukee's Ford-Washington and Cleveland State's Abshaw Collect Weekly Honors--Horizon League Network
CSU Tabs Third Straight League Win--Horizon League Network

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