Weekend sweeps don’t bring stability
One of the really nice things about the Horizon League Women’s Power Rankings is that frequent sweeps resulted in very clearly drawn lines through most of the league. Apparently the occasional weekend full of sweeps isn’t having the same impact on the men’s side. Despite five out of six matchups this weekend ending with one team winning both games, there was significant change from last week’s Power Rankings.
At least the top two teams in the league are doing their part to make things easy on me?
We’re not the only ones noticing the volatility in the middle of the league this year. Our friends at Norse Report put out their power rankings on Monday and they look drastically different from ours.
Once again, every team in the league was able to take the court, and as a result everyone appears in this week’s rankings.
|1||1||Wright State||Despite failing to catch Cleveland State in the league standings, Wright State arguably widened its lead on Cleveland State in the Power Rankings with a pair of comfortable wins over Robert Morris. |
Friday’s 9-point win was the closest victory in Horizon League play for the Raiders, but the other game of the weekend was a dominant 86-56 beatdown where only one RMU players scored double-figures
|2||2||Cleveland State||While things weren’t quite so neat for the Cleveland State, the Vikings did manage to hold onto a one-game lead in the Horizon League standings with two wins over Green Bay. |
CSU apparently likes to terrify its fans, once again giving up a sizable lead in the second half, but 12-2 in league play is 12-2 in league play.
|3||4||Oakland||OU is 5-1 in its last six games, with its only loss coming to a Detroit Mercy team that’s also been hot of late, and that the Golden Grizzlies have beaten three times this season. |
While a series against league-leading Cleveland State looms large the Golden Grizzlies are on a great run and are one of just three teams with a winning league record outside of the two heavy favorites.
|4||6||Detroit Mercy||Like Oakland, Detroit Mercy is 5-1 in its last six. Unlike Oakland, the Titans did it coming out of a COVID-19 related stoppage. |
I can’t rank the Titans above the Golden Grizzlies because of the 3-1 head-to-head advantage for OU that is also the reason Greg Kampe’s team is the one with a winning league record, but as the scores in those games indicate the gap isn’t large.
|5||8||Northern Kentucky||NKU bounced back nicely from being swept by IUPUI with a second straight 2-0 weekend. In a normal year, the Norse would be effectively tied with Oakland for third in the league at 7-5 to OU’s 8-6. |
I might still be too low on Northern Kentucky, but that IUPUI series is a tough one to comprehend.
|6||3||Milwaukee||One game after becoming the first team with no shot at a Horizon League Title to beat Cleveland State, the Panthers turned around and lost to IUPUI. |
By earning a weekend split, the team kept its league record above .500 and kept itself in the top half of the Power Rankings.
|7||5||UIC||With early-season star RayQuawndis Mitchell still working his way back up to his normal workload, UIC has hit a rough patch in league play. |
An easy schedule was mostly able to mask that for the last couple weeks, but the Flames finally played a team strong enough to deal them two losses.
|8||7||Green Bay||It’s difficult to knock the Phoenix too bad for a pair of competitive losses to the team at the top of the Horizon League standings. |
With the last five options combining for one victory, Green Bay gets the edge here. Heading into this week, the team was 5-2 in its previous seven games after a slow start.
|9||9||Purdue Fort Wayne||With Jarred Godfrey in a slump, Purdue Fort Wayne has struggled recently. The Mastodons have lost four straight after being .500 at the midway point of the Horizon League season. |
If Godfrey can get back to efficiently dropping 20 points per game, the inconsistency of most of the teams above PFW could allow a big jump. For now, the once promising season seems likely to wind up with the Mastodons about where they were projected in the preseason.
|10||10||Youngstown State||After two more close losses, Youngstown State is 1-7 in its last eight games. There’s an argument to be made that YSU could be even lower in these rankings, but for now they’ll stay tenth. |
With Darius Quisenberry out for most of the season and seemingly hobbled when he was available, the Penguins have fallen well short of preseason expectations.
|11||12||IUPUI||IUPUI matched its 2020 Horizon League win total with a third victory over a team currently ranked in the top half of the Power Rankings. |
The Jaguars are still heavily dependent on ridiculous performances out of star guards Marcus Burk and Jaylen Minnett, but it’s clear the team is more competitive than it was a year ago.
|12||11||Robert Morris||This weekend added insult to injury for the Colonials. Not only did RMU’s record fall to the worst in the league after the sweep against Wright State, but A.J. Bramah didn’t even travel with the team after “going into a pause.” |
That seems to indicate Bramah won’t be available next weekend either. Considering this weekend marked the first time anybody but Bramah led the team in scoring or rebounding against a Division I opponent, that doesn’t bode well for RMU.