Horizon League announces Preseason Poll, All-League teams

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As with the HoriZone Roundtable poll, Wright State and Antoine Davis get top honors

The Horizon League released its Preseason Poll and All-League teams on Tuesday. As was the case last week when the HoriZone Roundtable released our Preseason Poll and All-League teams, Wright State was the overwhelming favorite to win the league and Antoine Davis was picked as the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year.

Horizon League Preseason Poll

Place School (First Place Votes)
1 Wright State (28)
2 Northern Kentucky (5)
3 UIC (1)
4 Oakland (1)
5 Green Bay
6 Youngstown State
7 Milwaukee
8 Detroit Mercy
9 IUPUI
10 Cleveland State (1)

The Raiders got 28 of the 36 first place votes and 350 of a possible 360 points overall, confirming that they’re viewed as the strong early favorite to win the league. Last year’s co-League Champion and NCAA Tournament participant Northern Kentucky came in second place in the poll despite the departure of 2019 Horizon League Player of the Year Drew McDonald. UIC is set to return most of its top talent from last year and was tabbed for third place in the official poll.

Oakland’s strong front court presents a huge problem for most of the Horizon League and likely contributed to the team’s fourth place slotting. League voters trust that Linc Darner will be able to figure out how to replace Sandy Cohen III, as the Phoenix round out the top half of the league. UIC returns virtually everyone from last year’s sixth place finisher, but league voters apparently don’t trust that it’ll result in a higher finish this season and selected the Penguins sixth again. Milwaukee’s additions of Illinois transfer Te’Jon Lucas and USC transfer Harrison Henderson appear to have given voters enough confidence to place last year’s last place team in seventh to start the year.

Despite having the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year, the uncertainty about Detroit Mercy’s postseason eligibility due to a low Academic Progress Rate seems to have voters questioning if they will come to play this year and the Titans are pegged for an eight place finish. And rounding out the poll are the two teams that suffered massive overhaul and coaching changes this offseason, Byron Rimm’s IUPUI Jaguars and Dennis Gates’ Cleveland State Vikings.

Preseason All-League Teams

First Team Second Team
* Antoine Davis, G, Detroit Mercy (Soph.) Darius Quisenberry, G, Youngstown State (Soph.)
Loudon Love, C, Wright State (Junior) Tyler Sharpe, G, Northern Kentucky (Senior)
Xavier Hill-Mais, F, Oakland (Senior) Bill Wampler, F, Wright State (Senior)
Tarkus Ferguson, G, UIC (Senior Marcus Ottey, G, UIC (Senior)
Jalen Tate, G/F, Northern Kentucky (Junior) JayQuan McCloud, G, Green Bay (Senior)
* Preseason Player of the Year

Antoine Davis was picked as the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year after finishing third in the nation with 26.1 points per game as a freshman. The 6-foot-1 guard broke Steph Curry’s freshman record for three-pointers made and figures to once again find himself among the nation’s best scorers.

Davis is joined on the First Team by Wright State center Loudon Love, Oakland forward Xavier Hill-Mais, UIC guard Tarkus Ferguson and Northern Kentucky wing Jalen Tate. Davis, Love, Hill-Mais, and Ferguson were also members of the HoriZone Roundtable Preseason First Team. Tate was the highest vote-getter on the HoriZone Roundtable Second Team, and took Darius Quisenberry’s first team slot in the official poll.

Quisenberry, whose stellar freshman year at Youngstown State was overshadowed by Davis, is a Second Team Preseason All-League pick. League voters don’t appear to have the same concerns about creating a viable lineup as HoriZone Roundtable staff did. Quisenberry is joined by Green Bay guard JayQuan McCloud, Northern Kentucky guard Tyler Sharpe, UIC guard Marcus Ottey and Wright State wing Bill Wampler. HoriZone Roundtable voters opted to go with Oakland center Brad Brechting over Ottey. Quisenberry, McCloud and Wampler were returning All-League picks from 2019.

Picking Davis as player of the year while Wright State is the overwhelming favorite with a clearcut best player and Detroit Mercy was picked for an eight place finish in the league seems to highlight the different philosophies in league voting. Davis is a stellar player who can take over a game on any night, but if the Titans do wind up in eighth place it would seem that all his efforts failed to help the team actually win.

Eighth-place finishers frequently have five or six wins in league play, meaning that even if Davis wills Detroit Mercy to every one of those wins, he likely wouldn’t have contributed as much to actual winning basketball as a player like Loudon Love just because Love would have more than twice as many chances to be the reason Wright State won a Horizon League game. The pick would make more sense if the Horizon League’s poll had the Titans seventh like the HoriZone Roundtable poll. While it’s just one slot different, the seventh place finisher seems more likely to be a team on the low end of mediocrity in league play rather than a team that can only be described as bad.

Did you miss our Preview Week? Check it all out below:

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