The champs are back on top
A week after giving Green Bay the top spot in the Power Rankings, the Phoenix drop out following a surprise loss at home against eight seed Cleveland State. As a result, Wright State retains a spot it held from the time it overtook Milwaukee in the standings until last week. The Raiders made easy work of Northern Kentucky, a team that hasn’t defeated WSU since 1986. The other impact that CSU’s upset had was to allow it to jump the Panthers based on recent play.
Wright State remained in the rankings on the men’s side due to a potential NIT at-large berth. On the women’s side, IUPUI and potentially Milwaukee could remain in the rankings with a loss. The Jaguars are currently ranked number 51 in the NET rankings while Milwaukee is ranked 75.
|Wright State Raiders||1||2||+1|
|Cleveland State Vikings||3||5||+2|
Wright State returns to the top of the rankings with a slight lead over IUPUI. The Raiders cruised past a once-promising Northern Kentucky team 74-56 in last week’s quarterfinals. With a similar result as IUPUI against a competitor that had arguably looked stronger for much of the season, the Raiders aren’t going to be jumped by the Jaguars even if IUPUI was obviously underseeded. Later today the top seeded Raiders take on cinderella Cleveland State for a spot in Tuesday’s championship.
IUPUI was one of the four schools that would’ve been in a functional tie for first place if not for the formula that the Horizon League came up with to determine seeding this season. That formula knocked the Jaguars to a fifth seed that I don’t think anyone believes they deserved. IUPUI proved it was underseeded by going to 4-seed Oakland and obliterating the Golden Grizzlies on their own court to earn a spot in the semifinals. Now they’ll play Milwaukee in the semifinals at 2 PM.
Cleveland State took advantage of its opportunity against a strong opponent, and as a result jumps back above Milwaukee in this week’s rankings. The Vikings beat Green Bay 69-63 after leading by as many as 22 points. Despite an overall Horizon League record significantly worse than Milwaukee’s, the Vikings have been playing much better of late and the marquee win is enough to jump the Panthers.
Milwaukee beat Youngstown State 77-68 last week in a game the Panthers had relatively comfortably in hand for much of the fourth quarter. There’s an argument that this win should keep the Panthers above a Vikings team that just split with YSU to end the regular season, particularly when the win was by just three points. But the Panthers haven’t had a signature win since a double overtime win against IUPUI on January 23. The Panthers are tasked with completing a three-game season sweep of the Jaguars today at 2 PM Eastern.