Here at Basketball Society, we love every level of basketball. One thing fans look forward to every year is the college basketball conference tournaments. One of the most exciting tournaments starting March 3 is the Horizon League Tournament. This proves to cast some exciting match ups over the next few days that we always expect throughout the month of March.
Check out our previous conference tournament previews:
Friday, March 3rd:
5:30pm 7 Detroit vs 10 UW-Milwaukee (ESPN3)
8:00pm 8 Cleveland State vs. 9 Youngstown State (ESPN3)
Saturday, March, 4:
5:30pm 1 Oakland vs. 8/9 Winner (ESPN3)
8:00pm 2 Valparaiso vs. 7/10 Winner (ESPN3)
Sunday, March 5:
5:30pm 3 Green Bay vs. No. 6 UIC (ESPN 3)
7:00pm 4 Northern Kentucky vs. 5 Wright State (ESPN3)
Monday, March 6:
7:00pm Game 3 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner (ESPNU)
9:30pm Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner (ESPNU)
Tuesday, March 7:
7:00pm Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner (ESPN)
So, let’s address the major question:
Who will win the Horizon League Championship?
A team coming in hot to the tournament are the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. They needed a Valparaiso loss and a win over Milwaukee in order to get a first place tie with the Crusaders. Oakland got just that and secured the No. 1 overall seed as they beat Valparaiso twice in the regular season. It will be an interesting tournament as the Crusaders will most likely be without their star player Alec Peters.
Peters suffered a stress fracture in his right leg and most likely be missing the whole conference tournament, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It will be tough for the Crusaders to make a run for the NCAA tournament without their star player, leaving opportunity for a team like Oakland. Oakland has won nine straight games heading into the tournament, and this is comes after they were struggling, losing four of their last five games in January.
A player to look out for the Golden Grizzlies is Martez Walker. Martez Walker, a junior from Detroit, leads the team in both minutes per game (33.2) and points per game (17.2). Two sharp shooter for the team are Sherron Dorsey-Walker and Jalen Hayes. Dorsey-Walker had himself an eighth three pointer showing in the final regular season game versus Milwaukee and Hayes averages 46% from three on the season.
With Peters out for Valparaiso, they are losing some of their best firepower. One player that will be looking to carry the load is Shane Hammink. Hammink averages 15.8 ppg on the year and can be somewhat of three point threat. It will be tough for the Crusaders to carry the load without Peters, but we have seen some funny things happen in this conference’s tournament.
Last year, there were upsets throughout the whole tournament that eventually lead the fourth seed, UW-Green Bay, to winning the whole tournament. Green Bay is a team to watch for as they have wins over both Oakland and Valparaiso, and the experience from last year could help carry them. Another team to watch out for is Northern Kentucky. They beat Valparaiso to end the season, and even though Valpo did not have Peters, Northern Kentucky shot 58% from the floor. Keep an eye out for them if they are able to stay hot.
Horizon League Tournament Prediction: Oakland Golden Grizzlies