#HLWBB Power Rankings —Tournament Quarterfinals


Green Bay finally tops the rankings

While a week off didn’t result in many changes in the Men’s Power Rankings, there was a good deal of change on the women’s side thanks to a number of split series in the last weekend of the regular season. The most notable change is that Green Bay jumped to first thanks to a weekend sweep of previously top ranked Wright State.

Predictably, the middle of the league easily handled the bottom and the first round of the Horizon League Tournament was incredibly chalky.

Green Bay Phoenix12+1
Wright State Raiders21-1
IUPUI Jaguars33
Milwaukee Panthers46+2
Cleveland State Vikings54-1
Northern Kentucky Norse65-1
Oakland Golden Grizzlies77
Youngstown State Penguins88
*Two weeks ago

Green Bay gets the top spot in the rankings for the first time all season after a weekend sweep of first place Wright State left the Phoenix one game behind the Raiders and Milwaukee in both the win and loss columns. While the Phoenix are the only team in the top four with a loss to an opponent .500 or worse in Horizon League play, that January defeat at the hands of Cleveland State is now a distant memory. Since then, the team is 7-1 with sweeps of Wright State and NKU plus a split with IUPUI. Green Bay had last week off, but takes on Cleveland State tomorrow at 8 PM Eastern.

Before being swept by Green Bay, Wright State delivered sweeps of its own to NKU and Milwaukee. As a result, the Raiders two losses aren’t going to cause too much of a drop in this week’s rankings. Since the last rankings, WSU won a share of the Horizon League Regular Season Title and the top seed in the league tournament. The Raiders start Horizon League Tournament play tomorrow at 2 PM Eastern.

Unlike the rest of this list, IUPUI hasn’t played since our last Power Rankings. The Jaguars were scheduled to play Detroit Mercy in the last week of the regular season prior to the Titans cancelling the rest of the season in mid-January. That cancellation also resulted in the fifth seed Jaguars getting a bye last week. IUPUI returns to action against fourth seed Oakland tomorrow at 1 PM Eastern.

Milwaukee earned a share of the Horizon League Regular Season Title with a sweep of UIC in the last weekend of the regular season, earning the 2-seed in the league tournament and a bye last week. As has been the case for weeks, the win over UIC alone isn’t enough to jump a team over others who didn’t lose. Fortunately for Milwaukee, several schools who were ahead of them in the last Power Rankings took losses that warranted a drop. The Panthers take on Youngstown State tomorrow at 6 PM Eastern.

Cleveland State split its final series of the regular season against Youngstown State, with both teams winning a game by just three points. Last week, the Vikings obliterated 11-seed UIC. CSU keeps its seemingly high ranking thanks to a 7-1 record in its last eight league games. Because the league’s seeding still doesn’t match these rankings at all, the Vikings are tasked with taking down Green Bay tomorrow.

Since the last Power Rankings, Northern Kentucky split with Oakland to end the regular season and beat Robert Morris in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament. Those results were enough for the team to keep its spot from the previous Power Rankings. Next for NKU is a third game in three weeks against Wright State. The Norse haven’t defeated WSU since 1987.

Oakland is on the other end of the regular season-ending NKU series split. The Golden Grizzlies went 12-8 in league play and the formula that the league used to determine seeding rewarded them with a 4-seed and a first round bye in the league tournament. OU’s seeding is one area where I think you can argue that the league’s formula is a little broken. The Golden Grizzlies have one more win than 5-seed IUPUI and five more losses. Fortunately, the teams will be able to settle it on the court tomorrow.

The final team in this week’s rankings, Youngstown State snuck past a Purdue Fort Wayne team that won just one of its 20 Horizon League games 62-59 last week. That combined with a 1-3 record in the two weeks heading into the Horizon League Tournament land a very talented YSU team in eighth in this week’s rankings. The Penguins are the 7-seed in the league tournament and will meet Milwaukee in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

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