Horizon League: The man on the bench changes, but Valparaiso is still a contender and right now looks like the team to beat. Wright State, Green Bay and Oakland have done well against good schedules, while Northern Kentucky has a nice record against a weak schedule.The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 29, 2016--Hoopville
Today’s Menu:Horizon League Power Rankings: Who is on top as conference play begins?--Mid-Major Madness
Big South, Horizon, Northeast, Southland and Summit all get heavy into league play, with perhaps the best game featuring surprising Wright State at Oakland.
Thursday TV Schedule: Basketball all day, from the NEC to the WCC--Mid-Major Madness
Horizon LeagueCleveland State Men’s Hoops Hosts Green Bay In Horizon League Opener Thursday--NEO Sports Insiders
Green Bay at Cleveland State, 7 p.m., ESPN College Sports Extra
Wright State at Oakland, 7 p.m., ESPN College Sports Extra
Milwaukee at Youngstown State, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Northern Kentucky at Detroit, 7:30 p.m., ESPN College Sports Extra
Vikings Host Green Bay on Thursday to Open League Play--csuvikings.com
Vikings Begin Horizon League Play By Hosting Youngstown State Saturday Afternoon--csuvikings.com
@DetroitMBB Opens HL Play With NKU On Thursday--detroittitans.com
Titans Welcome Crusaders, Flames to Open Horizon League Play--detroittitans.com
GAME 14: GOLDEN GRIZZLIES BEGIN HORIZON LEAGUE PLAY HOSTING WRIGHT STATE--goldengrizzlies.com
GAMES 12 & 13 - OAKLAND WELCOMES UIC AND VALPARAISO TO OPEN HORIZON LEAGUE PLAY--goldengrizzlies.com
17 reasons to be excited for Chicago hoops in 2017--The Catch and Shoot
5. There will be tons of great individual matchups this winterUIC Gets Visit from Valpo to Open Horizon League Play--uicflames.com
UIC: Tai Odiase has a challenger for his Horizon League blocks title, and his name is Isaiah Brock. The Oakland freshman is averaging 2.0 blocks per game in only 19.5 minutes, while Odiase is averaging 2.5 rejections in nearly 28 minutes. They’ll face each other on Jan. 8 and Feb. 19.
Another good one for the Flames is a battle between the conference’s two prominent freshman point guards: UIC’s Godwin Boahen (9.2 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Cleveland State’s Kasheem Thomas (7.1 ppg, 3.9 apg). With Horizon League Freshman of the Year potentially on the line, they’ll go head to head on Jan. 12 and Feb. 11.
12. Tai Odiase will continue his run toward shot blocking history
Photo: UIC Athletics
It’s becoming less and less likely, but Odiase still has a chance to become the first player to ever lead the nation in blocks in three separate seasons. The 6’9″ junior led Division I last year, but so far this year he is only tied for 27th with 2.5 per game.
The blocking title is not out of reach, but Odiase will need a monstrous Horizon League season to get there — we’re probably talking at least 4 blocks per game. Odiase averaged 3.8 blocks in conference play last year, so it’s not unreasonable.
Even if Odiase does not make a comeback in the national race, he’s leading Oakland’s Isaiah Brock in the conference race. Other players have led the Horizon League in blocks three times, but no one has ever been in the conference’s top two for all four years.
Barring a big drop-off over the rest of this season and next, Odiase should complete that feat.
Also, with 177 blocks entering conference play, Odiase will easily move into the top five all time in the Horizon League before the season’s end. Former Butler center Rolf van Rijn is 5th with 203 rejections.
Even if Odiase averages just 2.5 blocks for the rest of his career and UIC does not win a Horizon League Tournament game or make a postseason, Odiase would finish third all-time in the conference with 304 career blocks, only five shy of the record held by Alec Brown and Damian Eargle.
Flames Open Horizon League Play at Oakland--uicflames.com
Is Trevor Anderson the front-runner for Freshman of the Year?--Phear The Phoenix
Men's Basketball Game Preview: at Cleveland State--greenbayphoenix.com
Top 10 non-prep, non-Packers stories of 2016--Green Bay Press Gazette
2. UWGB men make NCAA tournament for first time in 20 yearsDeveloping Panthers enter new Horizon--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Phoenix made Linc Darner’s first season as coach a success, advancing to the Big Dance in March for the first time since 1996. It did so by winning four games in four days at the Horizon League tournament at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, including a 78-69 victory over Wright State in the title game. It came one game after an upset over No. 1 seed Valparaiso.
UWGB lost to Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAAs and finished 23-13.
4. UWGB women earn trip to NCAA tournament
The Phoenix enjoyed another big season, advancing to the NCAA tournament in March after surviving a double-overtime game against Northern Kentucky in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament and beating in-state rival UW-Milwaukee in the title game.
UWGB was beaten 59-53 by Tennessee in the first round of the NCAAs. It finished the season 28-5.
Panthers begin Horizon League play tonight--UWM Post
Valparaiso closes non-league play winning 7 of last 9--CBS Sports
Chicago State suffers lopsided defeat at Valparaiso--The Catch and Shoot
Alec Peters surpasses 2,000 career points in win over Chicago State--The Catch and Shoot
Walk-on John Kiser takes turn in spotlight as Valparaiso cruises--Post-Tribune
Freshmen shine on historic night at the ARC--NWI Times
Peters Reaches 2,000 Career Points in Crusaders’ Win Over Chicago State--valpoathletics.com
Horizon League action kicks off for @NKUNorseMBB at Detroit Mercy--nkunorse.com
@NKUNorseWBB opens up Horizon League play at Green Bay--nkunorse.com
Defense on the upswing as Wright State opens Horizon League play--Dayton Daily News
College Basketball Preview: Wright State at Oakland--Dayton Daily News
Familiar foe awaits Wright State’s Nagy in Horizon League opener--Dayton Daily News
Raider Men Open League Play--wsuraiders.com
Raider Women to Open League Play--wsuraiders.com
YSU men’s team ready for Horizon games--Youngstown Vindicator
YSU men begin HL play tonight--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
Men's Basketball Hosts Milwaukee in Horizon League Opener Thursday--ysusports.com
Women's Basketball Begins Horizon League Slate Saturday at Cleveland State--ysusports.com
Horizon League Basketball Championships Tickets Now On Sale--The Horizon League
#HLMBB Update Dec. 28; Conference Play Tips Off Thursday--The Horizon League