Let the games begin.
The first round of the Horizon League tournament features at least two games in which the lower seed could prevail, if the higher seed isn’t careful and ready for the battle. The third? Given the chaotic nature of the conference this season, anything is possible.
No. 11 IUPUI at No. 6 Robert Morris, 7pm ET (ESPN+): At 10-10, this is the best conference showing that Colonials have had since arriving in the Horizon League, and their reward is a home game in the first round. The bad news, though, it’s against a Jaguars team that beat them in their last game of the regular season. IUPUI, for all its missteps, have clearly made progress under second-year head coach Matt Crenshaw, paced by a number of freshmen, including Vincent Brady II, DJ Jackson, and the Jarrard twins, as well as All-Horizon League third-teamer Jlynn Counter. Robert Morris, however, will rely on a part of All-Horizon League players of its own, Enoch Cheeks and Kahliel Spear, each of which are capable of making this a win for the Colonials.
No. 10 Green Bay at No. 7 Wright State, 7pm ET (ESPN+): The Raiders absolutely trounced the Phoenix in both meetings this season, so all signs point to Wright State putting up a similar effort this time around. Brandon Noel had a field day in the first contest, and Trey Calvin did the same in the second. Except that both of them to produce similar results and send Green Bay home, where the next step will be to find a permanent replacement for Will Ryan.
No. 9 Purdue Fort Wayne at No. 8. Detroit Mercy, 7pm ET (ESPN+): This certainly was not the outcome either team had anticipated going into the season, with the Mastodons, picked to win the title, relying on its corps of seniors while the Titans expecting to have a more complete supporting staff around Horizon League Player of the Year Antoine Davis. Detroit Mercy swept the season series, with the second win being an 85-52 drubbing. With Davis close to Pete Maravich’s all-time NCAA scoring title, he will probably get the green light to shoot at every opportunity. Then again, the same will be true for Purdue Fort Wayne’s sharpshooters as well.