The standings love Cleveland State, but does the math?

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Don’t consider it contradictory, think of it as a second opinion. Here are Norse Report’s Power Rankings.

Our formula for HLPOY has been tweaked this week to account for an anomaly in how it was scoring certain bench players, who are unlikely to win the award based on their lack of playing time. We’ve reformulated our metric to account for this and have a new top 5 list.

Written by Chris Hart; Edited by Kyle Craven

Norse Report’s Power Rankings

TeamRecord (Conference)Kenpom Rank
Wright State15-4 (13-3)53
Cleveland State14-5 (14-2)156
Northern Kentucky11-8 (9-5)208
Detroit 8-8 (7-5)166
Oakland8-15 (8-8)214
Milwaukee7-8 (6-7)249
UIC8-9 (5-7)243
Youngstown State10-10 (6-10)239
Green Bay6-14 (6-10)252
IUPUI5-8 (4-8)289
Purdue Fort Wayne6-11 (5-11)290
Robert Morris3-11 (2-9)286
Wright State might still be second in the standings, and clearly they are beatable, but it’s impossible to ignore the sheer dominance they’ve displayed in their wins.

Consistency in the middle? (FINALLY)

While the top of the league continues to be a two-horse race, the middle of the league finally began to separate into distinct groups. A trio of teams have emerged as a clear second tier in NKU, Detroit and Oakland. While each team has their flaws, they all seem poised to finish with a winning conference record and could be dangerous in the conference tournament. The rest of the league is sort of a hodgepodge of mediocrity with the exception of Robert Morris who is likely to finish in last place. It will be very interesting to watch the final two weeks of the season play out, especially since there are 5 teams still mathematically in the running for a top 4 seed. (Remember the top 4 seeds get an automatic 1st round bye and host the winners of the 5-12 games).

Biggest Riser: Detroit

The Titans continue their ascent in the standings and have now won 5 straight games. Antoine Davis continues to shoot it very well from beyond the arc as he shot an impressive 12 for 19 over the weekend. He has continued to get steady support from the rest of the team as well. Bul Kuol, Matt Johnson and Marquel Fraser have all been key contributors this season. As I said last week, this is the deepest team that Antoine Davis has had so far in his career. It would not be a surprise to see them make a serious run in the league tournament this year.

Biggest Faller:  Oakland

They had a shot to make a statement against Cleveland State this weekend and they failed. While both games were close (8- and 2-point losses respectively), they were unable to seal the deal. This is a team that is led by an incredible point guard in Jalen Moore, but the other pieces are not quite there to be a consistently successful team. While they dropped from 3rd to 5th in our rankings, they are a good enough team for that to be their floor. I really do not foresee them moving out of the #5 spot for the rest of the year in our rankings. 

HL POY Rankings

PlayerClassTeam
1. Loudon LoveSeniorWright State
2. Jalen MooreJuniorOakland
3. Trevon FaulknerJuniorNorthern Kentucky
4. Tanner Holden SophomoreWright State
5. AJ BramahSeniorRobert Morris

Honorable Mention

  • Naz Bohannon-Senior-Youngstown State
  • Antoine Davis-Junior-Detroit
  • Amari Davis-Junior-Green Bay
  • Grant Basile-Sophomore-Wright State
  • Marcus Burk-Senior-IUPUI

Thoughts on rankings

Over the past few weeks we started to notice a flaw in our POY metric. While it was clearly identifying the best players, it was overlooking the fact that bench players are unlikely to win the POY award. Since the entire point of this metric was not to identify the best players but to predict who would win the POY award I decided to go in and adjust for that. In doing so it changed our Top 5 list a bit. As you can see Grant Basile dropped from the Top 5 into the Honorable Mention. While he is putting up tremendous numbers, he has not been a consistent starter and with Loudon Love on the same team he is unlikely to win the award. Loudon Love remains the favorite for the award, but Jalen Moore and Trevon Faulkner have emerged as the leading alternatives for the moment. Antoine Davis also continues to creep up in the rankings but is held back by his early season struggles. This is a pretty tight race that is going to go down to the wire.  

Final Thoughts

Cleveland State continues to win close games and maintain a one game lead in the standings. This weekend will present a tough test for them as they take on a hot shooting Detroit team that features one of the best players in the league. The implications of the series between those two teams could be pivotal in the final regular season standings. It is crazy to think that we are entering the final stretch of the season and that each of these games have major implications for seeding in the league tournament. Buckle up because there is bound to be some craziness ahead!

Upcoming Schedule

  • NKU @ Green Bay
  • UIC @ IUPUI
  • Purdue Fort Wayne @ Youngstown State
  • Milwaukee @ Wright State
  • Oakland @ Robert Morris
  • Detroit @ Cleveland State

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