While COVID-19 protocols and cancellations are likely going to be a story on a weekly basis, they feel particularly impactful on the Horizon League this week. With several teams that have shown some of the brightest flashes this season out of action, the gap between the league’s already overwhelming favorite and the rest of the ranked teams was even larger than it might normally be.
UIC, Northern Kentucky, Milwaukee and IUPUI were out of action this week as a result of COVID-19 related cancellations; so they’ll be left off of the rankings this week.
- Wright State Raiders (6-1, 4-0 in Horizon League play)
With three teams that have a combined 5-1 record in Horizon League play out of this week’s rankings, Wright State’s grip on first place is even stronger than it normally would be. The Raiders cruised to another pair of Horizon League wins this weekend, beating Green Bay 67=53 on Saturday and 90-77 on Sunday. Interestingly, WSU continued its trend of letting an opponent hang around before obliterating them late in the game. It’ll be interesting to see if a team that only used two bench players all weekend can keep seemingly wearing opponents down.
Tanner Holden won Horizon League Player of the Week after he averaged 19.5 points and 9 rebounds per game while knocking down two thirds of his shots over the weekend. Oddly, this is the first time a Wright State player won an outright Player of the Week award.
- Cleveland State Vikings (4-3, 4-0 in Horizon League play)
Cleveland State moved to 4-0 in Horizon League play with a pair of wins over shorthanded Youngstown State. The Vikings never trailed on Saturday, winning 87-69. On Sunday, the team had to overcome a double-digit second half lead. Even better news for the Vikings is that Al Eichelberger played briefly this weekend, meaning he could make a full return soon. If CSU can quickly get the Preseason All-League pick worked into the lineup, the team might be able to establish itself as a mainstay near the top of the rankings.
Torrey Patton starred for the Vikings this week, averaging 18 points and six rebounds per game against Youngstown State. In Eichelberger’s absence, the Vikings have made use of an abundance of depth. Patton is CSU’s fifth different scoring leader of the season.
- Oakland Golden Grizzlies (2-9, 2-2 in Horizon League play)
With UIC, Northern Kentucky and arguably even Milwaukee out of this week’s rankings, we very quickly wind up in a very different place than we might otherwise be. The Golden Grizzlies get the benefit of the doubt after going 2-0 for the weekend against an arch-rival, but winning by a pair of baskets against one of the league’s two 0-4 teams is…not great. But if not Oakland, who?
Highly touted Western Illinois transfer Zion Young finally had a breakthrough game for the Golden Grizzlies, scoring 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Not only was it a season high for Young, but the first time he’s eclipsed 50 percent shooting on the season.
- Robert Morris Colonials (2-3, 1-1 in Horizon League play)
Robert Morris came out strong against Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday to secure its first Horizon League win with a 102-88 victory. After a convincing win, the script was flipped in surprising fashion on Sunday, where the Mastodons led 68-44 before a late comeback fell short with an 87-82 loss.
One of the players who likely made the choice for Horizon League Player of the Week a difficult one was RMU’s AJ Bramah. Bramah averaged 25.5 points. and 8 rebounds per game against Purdue Fort Wayne. The 2020 All-NEC performer is averaging 21.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on the year.
- Youngstown State Penguins (4-3, 1-3 in Horizon League play)
Youngstown State is in a tough spot to figure out in the Power Rankings. Last week’s win at Northern Kentucky was a better one than anybody in contention for third place has so far, but Darius Quisenberry was on the court for it. Without him the Penguins found themselves vulnerable to Cleveland State’s pressure defense, being overwhelmed on Saturday and letting an early hot start slip away on Sunday.
Shemar Rathan-Mayes stepped in for Quisenberry and did a solid job despite lackluster shooting. Unfortunately for the Penguins, Rathan-Mayes fouled out on Sunday as the game hung in the balance and Cleveland State was able to pull away for a comfortable win.
- Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (2-3, 1-3 in Horizon League play)
Like Robert Morris, Purdue Fort Wayne got its first Horizon League over the weekend. As a team that has plenty of experience playing pressure defense, the Mastodons absolutely could’ve come away with at least one win over the Colonials this weekend, but that’s more of a matchup issue than a statement on the overall quality of each team.
Also like Robert Morris, Purdue Fort Wayne had a strong candidate for Player of the Week that likely suffered from the split series. Jarred Godfrey averaged 24.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the series. His 27 points on 9-for-11 shooting played a large part in the Mastodons holding off RMU on Sunday.
- Detroit Mercy Titans (1-7, 0-4 in Horizon League play)
Despite the 0-4 Horizon League record the gap between Detroit Mercy and Oakland clearly isn’t very significant, with two last-second game winners separating the teams over the weekend.
Newcomer Noah Waterman got his Detroit Mercy career off to a good start, with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting on Sunday. If Waterman can continue to provide anything close to the 13.5 points per game he scored over the weekend, he could play a much bigger role than expected and there’s plenty of reason for optimism going forward.
- Green Bay Phoenix (0-8, 0-4 in Horizon League play)
Green Bay’s trip to Dayton was actually a pretty encouraging one for a team that has obvious size issues even within a league lacking in size. Facing off against one of the few Horizon League schools that actually has some size, the Phoenix didn’t get completely overwhelmed.
With shooter Josh Jefferson out of commission this weekend, Amari Davis needed to play an even bigger role than normal. While it didn’t result in a win, he absolutely delivered on Sunday. Davis scored a career high 35 points on 14-for-24 shooting from the field.