Oakland and Green Bay go into this week with a share of the top notch in the standings. That said, it’s going to be a grueling trip for both, with teams gunning for them. And up and down the Horizon League, there will be critical match-ups that could be pivotal to tournament seeding as the season gets closer to the end. All times ET and on ESPN+.
Wednesday, February 7th
Cleveland State at Purdue Fort Wayne, 7pm: The first contest was a Viking win, coming from behind to beat the Mastodons, who were in the midst of a five-game slide. Cleveland State now heads to Fort Wayne, and the Vikings have been bad on the road against everyone not named Detroit Mercy, IUPUI or Bradley. With the Mastodons out for revenge, this could be a tough one for CSU to win.
Thursday, February 8th
Milwaukee at Youngstown State, 6:30pm: This contest will be quite the appetizer for the Penguins, who are coming off a loss to Purdue Fort Wayne. But it may be the Panthers feasting instead, as Faizon Fields has come into his own as a force in the frontcourt, complementing Langston Wilson perfectly. The guard play for both will be key, as always, with YSU using multiple weapons, while Milwaukee will rely on its anchors in the backcourt, BJ Freeman and Kentrell Pullian.
Detroit Mercy at Wright State, 7pm: It’s strange to think that this will be the first time the Titans and Raiders will play this season, but that’s how the conference schedule shook out. Wright State has been all gas and no brakes on offense, and there’s no doubt that the Raiders will look to run on Detroit Mercy, who have stayed in games throughout its winless campaign before ultimately running out of gas. The way Wright State pushes tempo on the offensive end, it will only be a matter of when the Titan tank hits E.
Oakland at Northern Kentucky, 7pm: The last contest saw the Golden Grizzlies pull out an overtime win at the O’rena. And while Truist Arena is always a tough place to play, the Norse, already feeling the effects of losing Sam Vinson, now have to contend with the departure of Cade Meyer, taking another player out of the rotation. NKU will now, on top of Marque Warrick taking the lead, have to rely a very young bench rotation featuring one redshirt freshman (Cesar Tchilombo) and a par of true freshmen (Jeremiah Israel and Randall Pettus).
Green Bay at Robert Morris, 7pm: The Colonials are in desperate need of a sustained string of wins. The problem is that they’re running into a Phoenix squad that has gotten strong and the season has progressed. Markeese Hastings and Stephaun Walker had great games in the paint against Detroit Mercy, but it will be a far different story with Green Bay, which hangs it hat on the strength of Elijah Jones, Rich Byrhe and Marcus Hall crashing the boards.
Saturday, February 10th
Purdue Fort Wayne at IUPUI, 1pm: One of the most head-scratching losses that the Mastodons suffered during their five-game slide was to the Jaguars, and it wasn’t even really that close a contest. Since then, IUPUI has become the league’s punching bag, losing by double digits to every foe except Wright State. Purdue Fort Wayne will be seeking revenge for the earlier defeat will use every weapon in its arsenal.
Green Bay at Youngstown State, 1:30pm: These are two more teams that, due to the luck of the draw in conference scheduling, have not faced each other yet. There’s no way, however, that anyone, including those who put together the schedule, could have anticipated that this would be one of the most compelling games of the season. The Phoenix and its continue resurgence will be in a serious battle with the Penguins, who will most certainly come prepared with a game plan and a sizable crowd in the Beeghly Center.
Milwaukee at Robert Morris, 2pm: As with the game on Thursday against Green Bay, the Colonials can ill-afford any slip-ups, especially considering where they are in the standings. The same goes for the Panthers, who certainly don’t want to come out of this road trip empty-handed. Whoever has the hot hand shooting in this contest will eventually win out, and between Robert Morris and Milwaukee, there are no shortage of candidates for that role.
Detroit Mercy at Northern Kentucky, 4pm: In the first contest, there was no way the Norse thought they would be in the fight of their lives at Calihan Hall against the lowly Titans. But a fight it was, and it wasn’t until the very end that Northern Kentucky would come out of top. Now, both teams are down players, but the Norse will still have the advantage. A scoring battle between Jayden Stone and Marques Warrick seems inevitable, with Warrick potentially come out of it not only with the win, but with Northern Kentucky’s all-time career scoring record, currently held by Drew McDonald.
Oakland at Wright State, 7pm: Anyone who’s looking to watch a track meet should buckle up and enjoy the ride here. The Raiders, who haven’t met a scoreboard with high numbers they didn’t like this season, will push the Grizz to keep up the pace. The thing is, though, is that Oakland has been known to drop big scores itself, and will look to neutralize the variety of scoring combinations that Wright State will throw out.