Horizon League: Cleveland State is still #1; Everyone else: Really??

Cleveland State's native Clevelanders have all given unique contributions to the program this season.

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 recenly 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 State17-4 (15-3)56
Cleveland State15-6 (15-3)152
Detroit9-9 (8-6)160
Northern Kentucky12-9 (10-6)204
Oakland9-16 (9-9)220
Youngstown State13-10 (8-10)237
Milwaukee7-10 (6-9)230
Green Bay7-15 (7-11)252
IUPUI7-8 (6-8)259
UIC8-11 (5-9)264
Purdue Fort Wayne6-13 (5-13)293
Robert Morris4-12 (3-10)287

The Cream Always Rises to the Top

This was one of the first weeks that it seemed like teams played into what the analytics have been saying all along. Cleveland State finally slipped up and opened the door for a tie in first place with Wright State (the statistically superior team). Detroit continued winning and is pushing for a #3 seed in the Horizon League Tournament. You will notice that our Power Rankings are beginning to converge with the Kenpom rankings because of this.

Biggest Riser: Youngstown State

It should come as no surprise that this teams recent turnaround has coincided with the return of Darius Quisenberry. Horizon League fans should be well aware of what Quisenberry is capable of and will likely give their first-round opponent in the Horizon League tournament some serious heartburn. That being said, they have done their recent damage against the bottom feeders in the Horizon League. Even if they pick off two wins against IUPUI this week, we really will not have a true indication of their strength until we get to the tournament.

Biggest Faller: UIC

The Flames are in steep decline as they have now dropped seven straight games. While the first few games of this losing streak could be brushed off as tough games (Wright State, NKU), this week they got swept by IUPUI. It won’t get any easier to end the season as their final series is against a respectable Green Bay team. It is not unrealistic to think that the Flames might end with a 5-11 conference record. This is turning out to be a rather disappointing end to a promising season.

HL POY Rankings

1. Loudon LoveSeniorWright State
2. Marcus BurkSeniorIUPUI
3. Trevon FaulknerJuniorNKU
4. Tanner HoldenSophomoreWright State
5. Antoine DavisJuniorDetroit

Honorable Mention

  • Jalen Moore-Junior-Oakland
  • Naz Bohannon-Senior-Youngstown State
  • Jared Godfrey-Junior-Purdue Fort Wayne
  • Adrian Nelson-Junior-Northern Kentucky
  • Grant Basile-Freshman-Wright State

Thoughts on rankings

While the number one spot remains unchanged, we have seen some dramatic shake ups in the rest of the race. Marcus Burk rocketed up into the Top 5 with a fantastic performance over the weekend. After dropping over 30 points in consecutive games he pushed himself to a close second in scoring in the conference behind fellow top 5 player Antoine Davis. Norse fans will notice that Adrian Nelson has shown up in the Honorable Mention section for the first time. As I have mentioned before, our metric really values efficiency and Nelson is one of the 50 most efficient scorers in the country. That combined with his prolific rebounding has pushed him into the very edge of our top 10.

Final Thoughts

We have finally reached the last week of the regular season. I have to say I am impressed that with everything that 2020 and 2021 has brought us that they were able to get a season of college basketball in at all. That it seems like we will have an NCAA Tournament is also very impressive. This has been a unique season for the Horizon League but one that brings me hope for the future. There are some very promising teams in this league that the outlook for the 21-22 season is very bright. In terms of this last week of the season there are some very fascinating games to watch. The question is how will it impact the seeding for the tournament? Based on the wacky formula the league is using, it is nearly impossible to predict.

Upcoming Schedule

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

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