#HLMBB Power Rankings — Week 9


Sorry about last week, the Twitter Spaces custom rules from that Chicago State-IUPUI Tip(sy)-off did a number on me. But we’re back just in time!

Despite the week off, there hasn’t been a ton of movement in the rankings. Maybe after 2+ years of power rankings, the chaos is just starting to make sense? Whatever the reason, there seem to be clear dividing lines forming at the top and bottom of the Horizon League, so all of this week’s movement takes place in the middle.

Check out the rankings:

Cleveland State22
Wright State33
Detroit Mercy45+1
Purdue Fort Wayne58+3
Youngstown State64-2
Northern Kentucky99
Green Bay1010
Robert Morris1111

Since our last Power Rankings, Oakland is 3-0 against Division I opponents. The Golden Grizzlies easily cruised past Robert Morris, Youngstown State, and Milwaukee while adding a blowout win over non-Division I opponent Ohio Christian in a game that replaced Detroit Mercy on the schedule. It’s starting to sound repetitive, but Oakland has built up enough goodwill that someone near the top (maybe Cleveland State tonight?) will need to take down the Golden Grizzlies before they move from the top spot. Jalen Moore’s shot didn’t fall at the rate he probably would’ve liked, but his 15 points and 14 assists helped carry OU to the win over Milwaukee.

Cleveland State became the Horizon League’s representative in Joe Lunardi’s bracket projection by going undefeated since our last update and not having any games cancelled, resulting in a 6-0 Horizon League record that’s technically half a game ahead of 5-0 Oakland. As has been the case frequently over the last two years, Cleveland State relied on different players to be the go-to-guy on different nights, but D’Moi Hodge’s 31-point outing on 11-for-18 shooting in Sunday’s 86-80 overtime win against Youngstown State was the obvious standout.

Since our last update Wright State completely validated me picking them third in the previous Power Rankings with a win over North Carolina State, then rattled off three Horizon League wins. The Raiders are currently 5-1 in league play heading into tonight’s game against Robert Morris. Tanner Holden led the way for WSU this week with 23 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in wins over UIC and IUPUI.

Detroit Mercy has played just one game since our last rankings, but it went a long way to justify moving the Titans up. The Titans remain undefeated in league play, but at just 3-0 following multiple cancellations it’s hard to put them higher than this. UDM secured a nationally televised blowout win over Milwaukee on Friday, where the 85-60 final score didn’t do nearly enough to show how lopsided the game was. In the process, Antoine Davis scored 39 points to become the school’s all-time scoring leader.

Purdue Fort Wayne makes a big jump in this week’s rankings after a 2-0 week highlighted by a 71-61 road win over Youngstown State. The Mastodons are now 3-3 in league play with one loss to Wright State and two to Cleveland State. Jarred Godfrey nearly matched his season averages with 17 points and 5 rebounds per game for PFW since our last update.

Youngstown State was one of the two schools that fell in this week’s rankings after a 1-2 week where the lone win was a 64-60 victory over last place Robert Morris. Not long after the Penguins boasted a solid 8-4 record against admittedly questionable opposition, the team sits just slightly over .500. On a good note for YSU, six games into league play the team has already gotten games against Oakland and Cleveland State out of the way. Michael Akuchie continued to lead the way for the Penguins, averaging 14.7 points and 9 rebounds per game in the three contests.

Milwaukee was on the receiving end of a pair of blowout losses to Oakland and Detroit Mercy, but keeps its spot in the rankings thanks to a pair of road wins over Northern Kentucky and Green Bay since the last Power Rankings. The Panthers have been largely without highly-touted recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr during this stretch. Josh Thomas stepped up to carry the load in Baldwin’s absence, averaging 16.3 points per game in the new year.

With a pair of games cancelled, UIC has gone just 1-1 since our last update with a 90-72 loss to Wright State and a nail-biter 67-65 win over struggling IUPUI. While UIC is dropping in the rankings, it should be pointed out that the team was without star Damaria Franklin in the close call against the Jaguars. Kevin Johnson averaged 18 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Flames in the team’s two games of 2022.

Northern Kentucky had all three of its contests in the last week cancelled or postponed, so it’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Norse in action. When NKU did last play, the team split a series against Milwaukee and Green Bay. For Northern Kentucky, Marques Warrick continues to be the story. When he put up a solid 20-point performance, the team took down the Phoenix 79-74. When he shot 4-for-15, the offense stalled in the second half of a 61-55 loss to the Panthers.

Green Bay showed promise last week, losing road games to Northern Kentucky and Wright State by a combined 8 points. But this week’s 63-49 loss to Milwaukee keeps the Phoenix from making any movement in the Power Rankings. Kamari McGee scored 22 points in the loss on his way to Horizon League Freshman of the Week.

While Robert Morris is technically in last place in the league at 0-6, the team’s Division I win and a trio of close calls in the last week keep the Colonials out of last in the rankings. Leading scorer Rasheem Dunn left the team before Wednesday’s game against Cleveland State, but RMU posted an encouraging result when it turned around and took CSU to the final buzzer in a 78-77 loss. As he did when A.J. Bramah left the team last year, Kahliel Spear stepped up in RMU’s leading scorer’s absence. He averaged 18.5 points and 5 rebounds per game for the Colonials.

IUPUI nearly pulled off its first Horizon League win of the season on Monday, but eventually fell to UIC. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the team’s entire body of work made that more of a negative for UIC than it was a positive for IUPUI. Much like with Oakland at the top of the rankings, there’s a significant enough gap between IUPUI and the field that IUPUI is going to need to beat someone to get out of last place. Bakari LaStrap averaged 13.5 points and 4 assists on the week, with a career-high

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