Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
5 Detroit Mercy def. 12 Robert Morris
11 UIC def. 6 Youngstown State
10 IPFW def. 7 Green Bay
8 Milwaukee def.9 IUPUI
1 Cleveland State def. UIC
2 Wright State def. IPFW
3 Oakland def. Milwaukee
5 Detroit Mercy def. Northern Kentucky
1 Cleveland State def. 5 Detroit Mercy
2 Wright State def. Oakland
2 Wright State def. Cleveland State
For the fourth straight season, the second-seeded team will win the Horizon League. If not for strange seeding criteria, the Raiders would surely be the top seed. They have conference-high 18-5 record and a tied-for-best 16-4 conference record. They lead the Horizon League many major stat categories including points per game, points per game allowed, rebounding margin, and offensive efficiency. On top of that, the Raiders may have the best player in the league on their roster. Center Loudon Love is averaging a double-double while making 56% of his shots. Drawing IPFW could be a challenge since the Mastodons are the only conference foe that Wright State didn’t face. Watch this Raiders team closely as they could be a popular upset pick in March Madness.
Speaking of funky seeding, Detroit got the short end of the stick having to play an opening round game while having a better conference record than Oakland and Northern Kentucky. The Titans haven’t won against any good teams but there are some key stats indicate potential. They are 10-2 in 2021 and lead the Horizon League in both 3-point shooting percentage and free throw shooting percentage. Detroit is also home to another potential Horizon League player of the year in Antonio Davis. Averaging over 38 minutes per game, it’s no surprise that Davis is the leading scorer in the conference. He does also average almost five assists per game. Give Detroit an easy first-round win and then some uphill climbing to make it far.
Matchup to Watch
Detroit vs Northern Kentucky
If the bracket plays out like is listed above, then the game to monitor is Detroit against Northern Kentucky. The Norse aren’t an imposing team but they find a way to win games. Northern Kentucky’s games have been decided by nine or fewer points in their last four games and in 11 of their last 13. The winner of this potential matchups has a great shot to upset top-seeded Cleveland State and make the conference finals. With the reseeding after the opening round, if Detroits win their first game, then this matchup will be queued in for round two.
Featured Image courtesy of wsuraiders.com
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