If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve checked out this week’s podcast episode. Or else I’m really confused. The title of this week’s episode says it all: recent results have done an excellent job of making the Power Rankings a mess.
The top three are barely separated by anything, and I still had far less trouble sorting them out than figuring out what to do with that cluster at 6-7-8. Sandwiching those three schools are a Northern Kentucky team on a losing streak that better not get any longer or I won’t know what to do with them and a Purdue Fort Wayne team that has won two of its last three and just knocked off the team that would’ve held the top spot. Despite the overall lack of movement this week, it feels like we’re going to be on the brink of chaos through the end of the season.
Thank goodness for Detroit Mercy and IUPUI.
|Purdue Fort Wayne
Green Bay takes the top spot in this week’s rankings despite its only game being a 79-56 blowout of IUPUI that didn’t move the needle at all. The Phoenix take claim of first thanks to the YSU team that previously held it faltering on Sunday. Because of that YSU loss, Green Bay is tied with just Oakland at the top of the league standings. David Douglas secured his third 20-plus point performance in his last four games for Green Bay, shooting 6-for-11 and finishing with an even 20 against IUPUI.
Oakland takes advantage of the tight grouping at the top of the rankings and Youngstown State’s loss, moving to second place. This week, Oakland took control early against Robert Morris en route to an 87-72 win on Thursday before beating Cleveland State 83-71. Blake Lampman scored 26 points in both games this week, leading the way for the Golden Grizzlies.
Youngstown State‘s jump to first in the Power Rankings was short-lived, with Sunday’s 82-78 loss to Purdue Fort Wayne causing the Penguins to fall to the bottom of the upper echelon for this week. The loss came three days after YSU picked up a big 88-77 road win against Wright State. D.J. Burns continued an impressive streak of double-doubles, averaging 16.0 points and 14.5 rebounds per game.
Wright State split this week’s games and secured fourth place in this week’s Power Rankings. WSU has won four of its last five games, with the YSU loss being the only blemish. The Raiders turned around and won at Northern Kentucky 85-78 on Sunday to solidify the top four spot. Trey Calvin’s 21.5 points per game led the way for WSU.
Northern Kentucky gets slotted fifth despite being in the midst of a three-game skid. Three is going to be a key word in my defense of this move. The three teams that follow NKU in the rankings have one combined win over a team that isn’t in the bottom three of this week’s rankings in the last three weeks. That lone win was Cleveland State beating RMU at home by two points. While the current NKU slide isn’t ideal for a power ranking, none of the other contenders for this spot have done anything to show they’d fare any better recently. NKU’s dominant wins over Green Bay and Milwaukee aren’t so far in the rearview yet, so they get the spot.
Milwaukee picked up a 2-0 week with a 68-65 road win against Purdue Fort Wayne and a dominating 87-67 home win against IUPUI. The pair of wins over teams that are near the bottom of the rankings don’t do much more than prevent a drop, though that PFW win could turn into a very nice one again. I spent entirely too much time comparing the next three schools before deciding to leave everything as-is. B.J. Freeman was an outstanding all-around performer this week and should be a top contender for Horizon League Player of the Week. Freeman averaged 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game for the Panthers.
Cleveland State went to Michigan and came away with an unsurprising split, beating Detroit Mercy 77-65 before the loss to Oakland. CSU has one advantage over Milwaukee in that it has defeated an RMU team that isn’t in the bottom of the rankings in the last three weeks, but I’ve consistently not given too much credit for a two-point home win against a team performing similarly and I’m going to do the same here. Tristan Enaruna averaged 25.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game to lead the way for CSU.
Robert Morris bounced back from the Oakland loss with a 75-67 win at Detroit Mercy on Sunday. RMU is 5-3 in its last eight games, but every single one of those victories came against a team that hasn’t been listed yet. As a result, it’s difficult for me to justify giving the team a boost over the two teams ahead of them right now. Stephaun Walker had his best week of the season, averaging 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Colonials.
Purdue Fort Wayne climbed out of tenth with Sunday’s win over Youngstown, but it’s a little too early to move the Mastodons much higher than this for now as they’ve lost six out of their last eight. Jalen Jackson led the team in scoring in both of this week’s matchups, averaging 20.0 points per game.
IUPUI is back down in familiar territory after PFW secured a second big win in recent weeks. The Jlynn Counter-less Jaguars were no match for the Wisconsin trip, losing both games by 20+ points. Bryce Monroe averaged 15.0 points per game in the two contests, but struggled from the field on Sunday and there weren’t enough Jaguars contributing in either game to allow the team to compete.
Detroit Mercy fell to 0-24 this week and is starting to close in on a historic feat that nobody wants with all of these losses. Next week’s games against IUPUI and Purdue Fort Wayne might be the Titans’ last hope at avoiding a winless season. Jayden Stone was once again reliably productive for the Titans, averaging 26.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two contests.