Favorite(s)-Vaplaraiso 24-7, 13-3, Detroit 20-11, 12-4
The Crusaders were embarrassed on their home floor in the Horizon League title game last year by Detroit. They are looking for revenge, and with a game lead over Detroit in the conference Valpo have won the regular season title and the right to host the conference tournament.
The Titans finished last year on a 10-1 run, including the 20-point drubbing of Valparaiso to earn an NCAA bid. The balanced Titans have a top 10 offense and four players averaging at least 12 points per contest. A sequel to last season’s ending may be in the offing for the Horizon League.
Contender(s)-Wright State 19-11, 12-6
Wright State, after winning just seven games in the Horizon last season the Raiders began the Horizon slate 5-1 before tailing off. With such a young squad, not a senior to be found, a third place finish and the weight of some heightened expectations will be a good test for these inexperienced Raiders.
Team Likely to pull an upset-Illinois-Chicago 16-14, 7-9
The Flames have swept Youngstown State and have wins over Wright State on the road and Green Bay. If there is a team in the Horizon that can upset a favorite it could be UIC led by four seniors (Gary Talton, Anthony Kelley, Josh Crittle, Daniel Barnes) and a junior (Hayden Humes) who suffered through a 22-loss season last year.
3 Key Players-Ryan Broekhoff-Valparaiso The 6-7 Australian, who leads the Crusaders in points (15.9), rebounds (7.5) and 3-point percentage (43.6) who along with 6-8 Kevin Van Wijk create matchup problems for power forwards in the Horizon.
Ray McCallum-Detroit- The junior guard who happens to be the son of the head coach leads the Titans in every major offensive category except for rebounds (he’s 2nd). The 6-3 point man has another thing going for him, the experience of what it takes to get to the NCAA Tournament and pretty much the same cast that helped Detroit get there last year.
Alec Brown-Green Bay-The 7-1 junior needs to be a force down low for the Phoenix to have any hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament. Green went 6-4 in their final Horizon games and it is no coincidence that Brown picked it up offensively averaging 19 points.
2013 HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
March 5-12 Campus Sites
#4 Green Bay vs. Milwaukee
#5 Illinois-Chicago vs. #8 Cleveland State
#6 Youngstown State vs. #7 Loyola-IL
#4/9 vs. #5/8
#3 Wright State vs. #6/7