Play in the Horizon League tournament begins on Tuesday night with four games hosted by the higher-seeded team, including 5-seed Butler hosting 8-seed Wright State. While there are many who believe that the Bulldogs could once again make a run as they did last season, it's important to point out that last year's NCAA finalists found a way to earn a bye to the semifinals in the conference tournament. No such luck this time around as the Bulldogs host the Raiders, a team they swept during the regular season.
Friday's schedule may be light but there's some good action to take in as direction of the Ivy and Metro Atlantic races will be determined. Iona (19-5, 11-2) and Loyola (MD) (18-5, 11-2) are tied for first place with two games separating them from the pack (Manhattan and Fairfield leading that group), and the winner would take a big step towards grabbing the regular season crown. What should viewers look forward to?
In their first-ever game as a ranked team, the Harvard Crimson drew the task of playing the Connecticut Huskies at Gampel Pavilion, a building in which the Huskies have been near unbeatable for non-conference opponents. UConn had won 36 straight non-conference games at Gampel, and under Jim Calhoun the Huskies were 115-4 against New England non-conference opponents. Feel free to add another win to those marks, as the Huskies proved to be too much for Harvard in their 67-53 win.
Suspense was expected in the matchup between Georgetown and #12 Alabama, and that's exactly what the two teams provided as the Hoyas beat the Crimson Tide 57-55 on a Hollis Thompson three-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining. Instead of simply giving Jason Clark (22 points) the ball and telling him to shoot, Georgetown used the senior guard to run a dribble hand-off with Thompson on the right wing and the junior rose up and knocked down the shot. Levi Randolph's shot from half court missed just left of the rim at the buzzer, ending the Tide's 24-game home win streak.
ESPN's 24-hour college hoops tipoff marathon will get off to a good start at midnight as rivals Washington State and Gonzaga meet at The Kennel in Spokane. The Cougars have embarked on life without Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, and while that means they've got a lot of scoring to account for Ken Bone's got some established returnees back to lead a solid recruiting class. As for Gonzaga, the best news for them may be the health of junior foward Elias Harris.
With the college basketball season finally on the horizon, the game that's been overlooked by many in conference realignment will once again have the center stage. Perennial contenders will once again make a run at a national title while some new faces will pop up as well. The first four-part preview will focus on the conferences, and more specifically who will win each of the 32 leagues.
Overall Rank: #93
Wright St 69 - Detroit 50
Detroit Frustrates Green Bay
Butler, with legitimate Elite Eight aspirations, should be the dominant force in the Horizon. An infusion of Juco talent and returning injured players should help the quality of play throughout the league.
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