#HLMBB Power Rankings — Week 6


A light schedule didn’t move the needle for me

No, YOU’RE mailing it in before the holidays!

Just kidding! While it might not be the most popular opinion, I genuinely believe that this week’s results supported last week’s decisions. The results most likely to shake things up either fell short of another school’s result against a common opponent (hello, Cleveland State!) or were followed up by a frustrating result that made it more likely that things could move in the wrong direction (hello, UIC!)

I could just link to last week’s rankings, but instead I’ll try to make arguments about why the power rankings look like this based on new results:

Cleveland State22
Wright State33
Youngstown State47
Detroit Mercy54
Purdue Fort Wayne85
Northern Kentucky99
Green Bay1010
Robert Morris1111

Oakland had the week off and there’s still no reason to knock them from the top spot.

Cleveland State nearly made a case to dramatically close the gap between Oakland and the field when it took on Oklahoma State on Monday, but the Vikings couldn’t finish what the Golden Grizzlies could and fell to the Cowboys in overtime 98-93. Still, the strong performance in a loss bolstered their standing instead of hurting it. D’Moi Hodge went off for 31 points with an effective field goal percentage of 59.1 in a performance I believe should earn him Horizon League Player of the Week.

Alright, I know this one is controversial but I’m keeping Wright State where they were in the rankings despite a 1-1 week where the team lost 66-48 to Akron and struggled before eventually putting away Tennessee Tech 72-63. Just like last week, they’ll keep this spot because of a lack of confidence that anyone below them would fare better. The Zips rank higher than the Cleveland State team that just rolled WSU in both the NET Rankings and on KenPom, so a loss isn’t shocking in the slightest. And for as much as the Raiders struggled to finish off Tennessee Tech, the score wasn’t within a single possession for more than six minutes to end the second half. Tanner Holden averaged 17 points and 5 rebounds to lead the way for the Raiders.

Youngstown State‘s only game of the week was against Division III Westminster (PA). For the purposes of these rankings, that’s effectively a bye. I’m keeping the Penguins below Wright State for now because the team’s schedule has been brutally weak. The only teams YSU has defeated that haven’t lost multiple games to a historically weak Horizon League are a St. Thomas team in its first year transitioning up from non-scholarship Division III, Milwaukee, and Green Bay. Considering where the Phoenix and Panthers are in these power rankings, that’s not great. I have no reason to assume a team that couldn’t be SIU-Edwardsville would be racking up a bunch of Top-200 wins. Luke Chicone was one of two Horizon League freshmen to score double figures in a game this week, with 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting in the 83-54 win.

Detroit Mercy retains its spot by dealing Central Michigan its third loss to a Horizon League school in three games. The Titans took the lead over the visiting Chippewas with just under six minutes to play in the first half and never looked back, winning 89-75. Madut Akec continued his impressive season for Detroit Mercy with 25 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 7-for-12 from the field.

UIC started its week with a solid argument to move up, with a 72-66 loss to DePaul. Sadly, the league is still in such rough shape near the end of non-league play that “quality losses” are a quality argument for a Top 3 spot. And it might’ve happened if the Flames hadn’t turned around and nearly given away the game in a 61-60 win over KenPom number 322 Northern Illinois. Damaria Franklin once again starred for the Flames, averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds for the week.

In Milwaukee‘s lone game of the week, the Panthers were run off the court at Panther Arena by Rhode Island. As has been the case for much of this list, it’s hard to hit Milwaukee too hard for an 82-58 loss to a team that’s in the Top 100 on both KenPom and in the NET Rankings. That’s especially true once you hit the bottom half of the Horizon League in a year that might go down as its worst non-league performance of all-time. DeAndre Gholston had 16 points and 7 rebounds for the Panthers in the loss.

Purdue Fort Wayne had the week off and didn’t move in the rankings this week.

Northern Kentucky‘s brutal season continued with an 81-68 overtime loss to Eastern Kentucky. Yes, you read that right: the Norse lost a 5 minute overtime session by 13 points. With a win, NKU could’ve had some kind of argument to shake up the Power Rankings after Milwaukee lost to Eastern Kentucky at home earlier this year. Hubertas Pivorius might’ve locked up Horizon League Freshman of the Week by being the lone freshman to score double figures against a Division I opponent this week. He tallied 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting with three 3-pointers.

Green Bay had the week off and nobody around them did anything that warranted moving the Phoenix.

Robert Morris became the third Horizon League team to play Bowling Green this week, and in the process became the third Horizon League team to lose to Bowling Green. Unlike some of the other teams that have played three Horizon League opponents, Bowling Green’s results match the power rankings. The Falcons squeaked past Oakland 73-72, soundly beat Milwaukee 82-68, and absolutely destroyed Robert Morris 100-74. In his third game back from an injury, Michael Green had a strong performance off the bench. He had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 steals on the night. He added some solid efficiency, shooting 6-for-10 and tallying an effective field goal percentage of 65.0.

IUPUI lost to Chicago State. For most of the game it wasn’t very close. They’re last place and the gap is large. B.J. Maxwell had 20 points, but only one other Jaguar hit double figures. If things don’t improve, this is probably the worst Horizon League team ever.

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