#HLMBB Games Preview – February 15th – 21st

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Photo Courtesy of Northern Kentucky Athletics

The chase is nearing its close.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the top four teams are still within a game of each other and two, Oakland and Wright State, have some work to do to clinch a bye and homecourt. Since this is the Horizon League and has been the case the entire season, there are plenty of opportunities for any of the conference teams to play spoilers.

Wednesday, February 15th

IUPUI at Oakland, 7pm ET (ESPN+): It took a Jalen Moore three-pointer at the end of regulation for the Golden Grizzlies to wake up and finally beat the Jaguars in their last meeting in Indianapolis. This time around, the road has been terribly unkind to IUPUI the last two games, but Oakland has faced some struggles of its own. And given that Greg Kampe limited his rotation to six players in the last contest, endurance might come into play for the Grizz as well.

Thursday, February 16th

Milwaukee at Youngstown State, 7pm (ESPN+): If this game was on a Friday, it would easily be the one on ESPNU. In a season full of critical match-ups, this one will be the biggest of them all. A Panther win would put them in the driver’s seat, while a Penguin victory, given their remaining schedule, would all but assure them the top seed. While we recognize that there’s another game going on at this time, this is the contest that we encourage everyone to get on board with.

Green Bay at Robert Morris, 7pm (ESPN+): The Colonials and Phoenix, at this stage of the season, suffer from playing opposite what should be a huge match-up with their travel partners. For this contest, Robert Morris will be in the confines of the UPMC Center, riding high on a come-from-behind win over Oakland. Green Bay’s last game against the Colonials was a disaster and subsequently marked the end of the Will Ryan era. The Phoenix will need the type of shooting performance they put up against Milwaukee. Otherwise, Robert Morris will be eager to repeat the previous onslaught.

Friday, February 17th

Detroit Mercy at Oakland, 7pm ET (ESPN+): The first game saw the Golden Grizzlies ride the roller coaster of runs until the finally bested the Titans in the end, fueled by Moore’s 32 points and seven assists. Antoine Davis, who as of late has torn through the rest of the conference, failed to do so against Oakland in January, only scoring 14. With an outside shot at Pete Maravich’s all-time NCAA scoring record, you can expect for Davis to try to turn it around in the last edition of the Metro Series for the 2022-23 season.

Northern Kentucky at Purdue Fort Wayne, 7pm ET (ESPN+): The Mastodons were one of the few Horizon League teams that didn’t make the Norse work for a home win, with Northern Kentucky winning by 20 in the first tilt. Purdue Fort Wayne will need a little something extra, as the Mastodons are still smarting from a loss to Robert Morris in which they were well ahead for a good part of the game. The Norse, on the other hand, will have to prove their mettle on the road, since they are done at home for the rest of the regular season.

Wright State at Cleveland State, 9pm ET (ESPNU): If the Raiders want to stay in touch with the top four teams, this nationally-televised contest against Vikings is an absolute must-win. Cleveland State let its foot off the gas a little bit against Wright State at the Nutter Center yet still prevailed. As was the case on the road, the Vikings will need to keep the Raider big men, specifically Brandon Noel, off the boards. Cleveland State is also likely to put plenty of fresh bodies on Trey Calvin, who, in spite of scoring 24 last time, was hounded by a steady stream of Viking defenders.

Saturday, February 18th

Green Bay at Youngstown State, 2pm ET (ESPN+): The 86-70 win the Penguins had over the Phoenix can be best fall under category of games that weren’t as close as the final scored indicated. Green Bay’s streaky shooting could be their saving grace at the Beeghly Center, but Youngstown State will certainly have more than enough weapons to stave the Phoenix off.

Milwaukee at Robert Morris, 7pm ET (ESPN+): The Panthers couldn’t shake the Colonials until late into the game finally triumphing, 77-69. Playing in Moon Township definitely shows all the markings of a trap game for Milwaukee, so the Panthers will need to be on their toes throughout, especially if Markeith Browning remains out with an ankle injury. For the Colonials, they will need to rely on their stars, Kahliel Spear and Enoch Cheeks, more than ever.

Sunday, February 19th

IUPUI at Detroit Mercy, 1pm ET (ESPN+): If it hasn’t been clear in the last five years, the Titans need Antoine Davis. The especially needed him during their first contest with the Jaguars, because they would have lost in Indianapolis without his 42 points, although Damezi Anderson stepped up with 20 points of his own that day. Detroit Mercy, however, have been outstanding at home, and it’s going to be tough for IUPUI to get out of Calihan Hall with a win.

Wright State at Purdue Fort Wayne, 2pm ET (ESPN+): When the Mastodons beat the Raiders at the Nutter Center in January, it looked as if Purdue Fort Wayne finally had turned a cover and would look every much the champion preseason voters though they would be. Unfortunately for the ‘Dons, the opposite has been true, as inconsistency has been the bane of their existence. Wright State, though, has had its own share of erratic play, as evidenced by the early loss to Purdue Fort Wayne. The Raiders can ill-afford any missteps down the stretch, or they’ll be headed for a first-round contest in the Horizon League tournament.

Northern Kentucky at Cleveland State, 3pm ET (ESPN+): You can probably bet that the Vikings haven’t forgotten about The Birthday Shot, as in Marques Warrick’s 30-footer at the buzzer that gave the Norse the win and was all over national media. The homecourt will be on CSU’s side, though, and head coach Daniyal Robinson will make sure to make the necessary defensive adjustments to try and keep this latest contest from coming down to the wire again.

Tuesday, February 21st

Youngstown State at Robert Morris, 7pm ET (ESPN+): Technically, this kicks off the last week of the regular season, but since this falls under the scope of the full week, we’re going to preview this now. The Penguins thrashed the Colonials in the first meeting in January, holding Kahliel Spear to eight points while committing a mere five turnovers. Spear will be looking for a little payback, but if Youngstown State takes care of the ball as well as it did the last time, the Penguins will be in a very good spot.

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