The Horizon League Tournament is underway, as the seventh seeded Detroit Titans are taking on the tenth seeded Milwaukee Panthers, while the eight seeded Cleveland St. Vikings are set to battle the ninth seeded Youngstown St. Penguins. The winner of these games await the top two seeded teams.
The Horizon League is comprised of ten teams, all which qualify for the conference tournament. Obviously, the bottom four teams play each other, while the other six are on a bye. The Oakland Grizzles are the top dog this year, edging out the Valparaiso Crusaders despite having the same conference record. Which is due to the fact that the Grizzlies swept them in conference play.
The schedule are as follows:
Friday, March 3 (First Round), WatchESPN
No. 7 Detroit vs. No. 10 Milwaukee, 5:30 p.m. ET
No. 8 Cleveland State vs. No. 9 Youngstown State, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 4 (Quarterfinals), WatchESPN
Quarterfinal 1: No. 1 Oakland vs. 8/9 winner, 5:30 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2: No. 2 Valparaiso vs. 7/10 winner, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 (Quarterfinals), WatchESPN
Quarterfinal 3: No. 3 Green Bay vs. No. 6 Illinois-Chicago, 5 p.m.
Quarterfinal 4: No. 4 Northern Kentucky vs. No. 5 Wright State, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 6 (Semifinals), ESPNU
Quarterfinal 1 winner vs. Quarterfinal 4 winner, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2 winner vs. Quarterfinal 3 winner, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 (Championship)
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m., ESPN
Prediction: I’ve got the Oakland Grizzles taking it this year. They’ve had a successful season, going 24-7, as well as 14-4 in conference play. I will be honest though, originally I was going to side with the Valparaiso Crusaders, but there star player Alec Peters was ruled out for the season. That’s a huge blow and I’m honestly not sure how they are going to rally around a guy that touches the ball on probably almost every play.
The Grizzlies have a few marquee wins, which at home they defeated the Georgia Bulldogs and Valparaiso Crusaders. And on the road, they also defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders. Other than that, their non-conference schedule wasn’t the greatest. I understand too, as they lost superstar Kay Felder to graduation, so playing the top dogs isn’t ideal.
According to Ken Pomeroy, the Grizzlies are the 108th ranked team. They have the 188th ranked offense and the 58th ranked defense. Which is crazy considering last year they had one of the best offenses in the nation, but also one of the worst defenses.
The Horizon League Tournament games are taking place in Detroit, in which the hometown Titans are pretty dreadful this year. Anyways, with Alec Peters out for the season, the Crusaders are in my opinion, one less team that can win this. Which is good news for the Grizzlies, who are riding into the tournament hot, winning 9 games in a row. That’s good enough for me to side with them!