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Monday, November 02, 2009

Horizon League Preview


This was Butler's league all season last year, as the Bulldogs were atop the Horizon from start to finish. However, they did not run away with the title, as four other teams finished at least 11-7 in conference play, including three teams with at least 20 wins overall. Butler was upset in the conference tournament, allowing Cleveland State to snatch the automatic bid and giving the Horizon two bids to the Big Dance. Once there, Butler was knocked out by LSU in the first round, while Cleveland State pulled off one of the biggest surprises in the first-round, defeating Wake Forest before falling to Arizona. This is the Bulldogs' league to lose again, but there are several teams nipping at their heels.

1. Butler: The Bulldogs have the two best players in the league in Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard, and they have a chance to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
2. Wright State: With the return of a healthy Vaughn Duggins to go with all-conference guard Todd Brown, the Raiders could threaten Butler.
3. Wisconsin-Milwaukee: The Panthers return four starters, including guard Tone Boyle and forward James Eayrs, and will be a contender.
4. Wisconsin-Green Bay: Behind one of the league's best backcourts in Troy Cotton and Rahmon Fletcher, the Pheonix have a chance to compete.
5. Cleveland State: The Vikings will take a step back this season with the loss of three starters, but guard Norris Cole will lead the way.
6. Detroit: Don't overlook the Titans, as they might have the best frontcourt in the league with forwards Xavier Keeling and Thomas Kennedy, and Indiana transfer Eli Holman.
7. Youngstown State: The Penguins could be a sleeper this season, with the return of four starters, including guards DeAndre Mays and Kelvin Bright.
8. Illinois-Chicago: The losses of Josh Mayo and Scott VanderMeer will hurt, but guard Robo Kreps is primed for a breakout season.
9. Valparaiso: The return of three starters and the arrival of a very impressive recruiting class will help, but the Crusaders will still struggle.
10. Loyola (Ill.): The Ramblers lose three starters, including J.R. Blount, and will have to fight to avoid the Horizon basement this season.

Player of the Year:
 Gordon Hayward, G/F, Butler

All-Conference Team:
G- Tone Boyle, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
G- Vaughn Duggins, Wright State
G- Norris Cole, Cleveland State
G/F- Gordon Hayward, Butler
F- Matt Howard, Butler

Second Team:
G- Shelvin Mack, Butler
G- Troy Cotton, Wisconsin-Green Bay
G- Todd Brown, Wright State
G- Rahmon Fletcher, Wisconsin-Green Bay
F- Xavier Keeling, Detroit


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wright State is the Raiders, not the Vikings, dude.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

You're right, I was thinking about Cleveland State's nickname at the time.

4:22 PM  

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