March Madness is here! As some of the power 5 conference teams finish up their regular season, postseason play begins for some of the mid-majors. Today, a few of our writers will be giving their thoughts on the Horizon League Conference Tournament.
Who will win the Horizon League Conference Tournament?
Aram: #1 Wright State (25-6, 15-3 in the Horizon League)
Top seeded Wright State has been battle tested and have come out with a 15-3 record in the conference. They have won 6 of their last 7 games and while the Conference Tournament is at a neutral site in Indianapolis, that is less than a 2 hour drive for Wright State basketball fans. Expect to see a good Raiders presence.
Pat: #2 Northern Kentucky (21-9, 13-5 in the Horizon League)
The Norse are a really good team who took care of business against just about everyone in the Horizon except for Wright State, who they lost to twice in the regular season. However, it’s always tough to beat a team three times and if they meet again in the finals, I think the third time is the charm for Northern Kentucky.
Which team is a Dark Horse Candidate to take home the title?
Aram: #3 Green Bay (16-15, 11-7 in the Horizon League)
JayQuan McCloud, who Pat will talk about later, is one of the most underrated players in the country. He is the senior leader for this Green Bay team that has won 6 of their last 8 games. Wright State is a very, very good team, but Green Bay did take them down in early February, so there’s a chance that they can do it again at a neutral site.
Pat: #4 Illinois-Chicago (15-16, 10-8 in the Horizon League)
The Horizon has one of the stranger brackets with the top 2 seeds getting byes to the semis and re-seeding after each round, making it hard for lower seeds to win. But one dark horse I have my eye on is the Flames, who have already knocked Wright State and could do it again if they get hot.
Who is one player that NBA teams should keep an eye on?
Aram: Tanner Holden, Freshman G – Wright State
He is the 3rd leading scorer for Wright State, but Tanner Holden may have the most potential on this squad. He is leading the Horizon League in FG% at 62.1% which is especially impressive for a guard. He doesn’t take too many shots per game (he hovers around 7.5 per game), but is just a great finisher at the rim and doesn’t force the issue. Scouts will love to get a good look at him in this tournament to see if the 43.3 3PT% (on low volume) is something that is somewhat sustainable in the future. He won’t declare or test the waters I assume, but there is a chance he can make the league if he continues to develop his game down the line.
Pat: JayQuan McCloud, Senior G – Green Bay
The senior point guard has been awesome all year for Green Bay and is a big reason for the Phoenix finishing third in the league. He has solid size for a point guard, and leads the team in both scoring and assists. McCloud will turn some heads if he can get the Phoenix to the big dance.