Horizon League Tournament Preview
I must first say that I am 100% IN on the renaming of the Horizon League tournament to Motor City Madness. Absolutely incredible branding from the league. Gives the tournament a bigger feel, like Arch Madness in the Missouri Valley. That said, we’ve got a really interesting tournament this season, Wright State and Northern Kentucky are clearly the class of the league but anyone in the Top 5 has a legitimate chance to win it all. UIC and Green Bay can beat and lose to anyone.
2018 Champion: Wright State
1-seed Wright State Raiders 19-12 (13-5)
The defending champs are back in the top spot following the regular season. The Raiders boast a top 125 spot in KenPom and are one of the more balanced teams in terms of efficiency in the league. Loudon Love is the man for this team, he has great size and can score well on the interior, he needs to have a big tournament.
2-seed Northern Kentucky Norse 23-8 (13-5)
The top KenPom team in the Horizon is the Norse, they have a top-70 offense lead by one of the league’s best players Drew McDonald. McDonal is averaging just under 20 points per game and shoots it 49.6% from the field and 42.3% from 3. Stop him and you’ve only got three more guys to worry about who all average double figures. A cold shooting game is what will stop this team. 3
3-seed Oakland Golden Grizzlies 15-16 (11-7)
Oakland really found their footing in conference play winning 73% of their games in the league. The offense is solid but the defense is near the bottom of the country. Hill-Mais and Cumberland are their two best players, but bench production will be key.
4-seed Green Bay Phoenix 16-15 (10-8)
Like their nickname this team saw their season rise from the ashes in conference play. This team relies heavily on two transfers, Sandy Cohen (Marquette, and best name in College Hoops) and JayQuan McCloud (Milwaukee). The duo do it all for this team and will need to be big to win the league.
5-seed UIC Flames 16-15 (10-8)
UIC plays some of the league’s best defense and has three guys (all juniors) they rely on HEAVILY (36.4, 32, and 34.3 minutes a night) to win them games. If the trio is up to the test, they will be a tough out, however, if they continue to struggle with turnovers, it will be a quick exit from Motor City Madness.
6-seed Youngstown State Penguins 12-19 (8-10)
The Penguins do not play strong defense but they are alright on the offensive end of the floor. The freshman Darius Quisenberry is the guy on this team and needs to play like that and some to help this team advance. The defense is the issue, lock in and they can surprise some teams.
7-seed Detroit Mercy Titans 11-10 (8-10)
Mike Davis made the leap from Texas Southern last year, a place where he had astonishing success and takes over a program that is in a bit of trouble. He did well to make the conference tournament but they have a tough draw round one. The good news is freshman Antoine Davis is one of the league’s best players scoring 26 points a night. Davis needs to score his average or more in each game to give the Titans a shot at winning this. He is at his best when he is getting to the free throw line.
8-seed IUPUI Jaguars 16-15 (8-10)
The final team in the field of Motor City Madness, the Jaguars are lead by Camron Justice who averages 18.9 per game. This team actually looks pretty good in terms of KenPom, ranking 3rd highest in the league. They will need to utilize their tempo to win games.
Wright State over IUPUI
UIC over Green Bay
Oakland over Youngstown State
Northern Kentucky over Detroit Mercy
Wright State over UIC
Northern Kentucky over Oakland
Northern Kentucky over Wright State