HLMBB Power Rankings — Week 2


With a week full of buy games and some MTEs in the books, there were some serious changes to last week’s Horizon League Power Rankings. Some teams we didn’t expect much from before the year have earned both big and small jumps in the rankings, and some of the teams we expected to contend haven’t really had the chance to show what they can do. Forget that none of our preseason polls looked like this week’s rankings, last week’s rankings are already barely recognizable anymore. Props to Oakland for managing not to move in this ultra-reactionary time of the year for the Power Rankings.

Purdue Fort Wayne13+2
Cleveland State31-2
Robert Morris46+2
Wright State59+4
Northern Kentucky75-2
Youngstown State87-1
Detroit Mercy911+2
Green Bay1110-1

Purdue Fort Wayne executed well late in both of this Week 2’s games and came away with two more wins and a 5-0 record. The Mastodons won by double digits in both games at the Arizona Tipoff this week, with a 77-67 win over Northern Arizona and a 93-81 win over South Dakota. Quinton Morton-Robertson averaged 22 points per game in the two contests while hitting over half his shots both from the field and from beyond the 3-point arc.

Oakland picked up its first win of the season, but it was Sunday’s third competitive loss against a more talented team that keeps the Golden Grizzlies near the top of the rankings. The Golden Grizzlies got into the win column with a comfortable 81-62 victory over Bowling Green before heading to the Cayman Classic and falling 85-77 to Drake. Rocket Watts showed flashes of the player Oakland faithful have hoped for, scoring 23 against Drake and averaging 16.5 points per game for the week.

Robert Morris played one game this week, and in the process put forth a second strong performance against a Power Conference foe in a 78-68 loss at Wisconsin. RMU now has three outings that exceed preseason expectations and one — in which they played without leading scorer Justice Williams — didn’t deliver. The Colonials traded baskets with the Badgers for over 30 minutes before the lead stretched to multiple possessions and RMU was unable to catch back up. Jackson Last matched his career-high 16 points scored against Milwaukee last February.

Cleveland State earned its top spot in the rankings last week by exorcising its demons and finally beating projected MAC contender Ohio to add to a solid early set of results. CSU lost it this week despite a 71-61 win over Canisius by losing 69-62 to an Eastern Michigan team that’s projected for 11th place in the 12-team MAC. Tristan Enaruna continues to be the consistent standout for CSU, averaging 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this week.

Wright State is still searching for its first win, but put up a pair of encouraging performances this week against better competition than most of the league’s wins have come against. First, the Raiders fell to projected MAC contender Toledo 78-77 in a game that has to feel like it got away after that 1-point deficit lasted for nearly the entire final minute and a half of play. Then with Trey Calvin sidelined, WSU put a scare into Indiana before falling 89-80. While it could be argued that swapping out Calvin could’ve been the difference in the game, Andrew Welage did lead the Raiders with 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting in the game.

Milwaukee had exactly the type of week that makes these rankings so difficult early on. The Panthers were clearly overmatched against nationally ranked Colorado, losing 106-79 in a game that proved to be all but over less than 4 minutes in. Milwaukee then turned around, seemingly played with its food for a bit, and came away with a comfortable 85-56 win over Division III Luther College. BJ Freeman once again led the way for the Panthers, averaging 16 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Northern Kentucky is in a similar situation to Milwaukee, with high preseason expectations but no victories against Division I opponents. Both schools have a competitive loss against a Power Conference team and a blowout loss to one, but for the time being it appears that Milwaukee’s were both against better teams. Add in NKU’s 17-point opening night loss to Middle Tennessee, and the Norse are in sixth for the time being. Marques Warrick put up a pair of solid performances, averaging 20.0 points per game for the week.

Youngstown State is in a similar situation to the two teams above it, with high preseason expectations and not a lot to show for it just yet. YSU did manage to pick up three wins, with a 75-68 win over Utah Tech sandwiched between a 99-71 win over NAIA school Ohio Christian and a 79-57 win over Division II Lake Erie. The trouble for YSU is that the most impressive win on the schedule is that victory Utah Tech, and the Penguins don’t have the competitive games against Power Conference foes to make a stronger case right now. While DJ Burns wasn’t the most prolific player for Youngstown State this week, his 16 points and 9 rebounds both led the way in their lone Division I contest.

Detroit Mercy makes a jump in this weeks Power Rankings after a 70-69 loss to SEC foe Ole Miss on Tuesday. Eight players saw the court for the shorthanded Titans, with one of them playing a total of three minutes. Despite the Rebels’ early struggles, Detroit Mercy pulling off the upset would’ve likely wound up as one of the most shocking results of the season by the time non-conference play ended. The Titans couldn’t keep the momentum going, getting crushed 71-52 by the Ohio team that Cleveland State beat last week. Marcus Tankersley was one of the bright spots for UDM this week after averaging 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

IUPUI drops to a range that’s been more familiar for the team in recent years following an 0-4 week, and an 0-3 weekend at the Winthrop Invitational. First, Indiana State ran the Jaguars out of the gym 96-57. Then came three losses in three days: an 86-72 loss to Elon on Friday, a 74-61 loss to Winthrop on Saturday, and a 74-61 loss to Holy Cross on Sunday. JLynn Counter once again led the way for the Jaguars, averaging 15.0 points and 6.0 assists per game for the week.

Green Bay falls to last in this weeks rankings thanks to the help of a mutual opponent. Even with IUPUI’s rough week, it would be difficult for the Phoenix to jump them after Tuesday’s 64-59 loss to a Valparaiso team that IUPUI beat by 10 just four days earlier. Elijah Jones was Green Bay’s second leading scorer and secured an impressive double-double with 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds.

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