Welcome ladies, gentlemen and fellow NCAA men's college basketball degenerates, to my weekly Horizon League review and recap! I take a lot of pride in both breaking down and handicapping these CBB plays, simply because you can find some real edges in the market (along with other small conferences), and that's why you hear me constantly covering them in the podcast and on Twitter as well. This will be the intro in every article, and I will be recapping/reviewing the Summit League as well. Both of these conferences play on back-to-back nights vs. the same opponent to cut down on travel for COVID purposes.
Don’t be confused about the schedule when you go to bet these games, as each of these conferences mainly play Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday. Both articles will be out by Wednesday night (Thursday at the latest) every week through March Madness. Personally, I handicap every conference game and keep a lot of my work private. I do this because it forces me to look at every conference game and it helps me find real holes, since we are somewhat limited on our weekly choices. If you have any questions, thoughts or insights for now and/or going forward, feel free to contact me on Twitter any time @DanRivera228.
RECAP - Youngstown State (YSU) @ Wright State (WRST)
- Game 1: YSU 74-72 (YSU +11.5, push)
- Game 2: WRST 93-55 (WRST -11, 145)
- Last year: WRST 1-1 ATS, 2-0 O/U
This is one of those games where you can make fun of me for not pulling the trigger on. I kept looking at that Wright State line of -11.5 and kept thinking that it smelled fishy. I didn’t think Youngstown State would outright win this one. YSU shot 35.7% from three and 48.4% from the field. These were both well above their averages of 29.6% from three and 42.9% overall. The most surprising thing from this game was Wright State from three, they were 47.8% (11-23) from downtown and 45.3% from the field, yet still lost!
Game two was a much more different result between these two Horizon League squads. YSU went ice cold shooting, going 30.5% from the field and 22.2% from deep. WRST shot 51.5% from the field and 37% from three, and it out-rebounded YSU 51-29. This game was never close, and the scoreboard shows it.
RECAP - University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) @ Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
- Game 1: IPFW 96-89 OT (IPFW +2.5, over 145.5)
- Game 2: IPFW 88-55 (IPFW -1, under 148.5)
- Last year: didn’t play
IPFW, home of "The Fightin’ Dan Rivera's," has been a surprise to me this year. Last year, this team was largely defense and its offense was very below average. This year, the offense is good and the defense is below average. IPFW has put up 80+ points five times this year and now offers a fantastic opportunity for overs. In this game IPFW shot 53.3% from three (unreal) and 53.6% from the field overall. UIC shot 42.9% from the field and 32.4% from three-point land. Somehow this game went into OT, despite very similar stats except for free throws. I will keep hammering this, simply because I hate backing bad FT teams. UIC went to the line 21 times compared to IPFW's 19. UIC hit 12 while IPFW hit 14. That was the game.
Game two, somehow IPFW outdid themselves from three-point range from the first game. IPFW shot 61.1% from 3 (beyond unreal). This game was seemingly over at tip off, as UIC shot a putrid 25% from three, 39.3% from the field, committed 21 turnovers, and was out-rebounded 38-25 by the Fightin' Dan Rivera's.
RECAP - Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) @ Wisconsin Milwaukee (MILW)
- Game 1: MILW 94-70 (MILW -5.5, over 142.5)
- Game 2: MILW 71-63 (MILW -7, under 147)
- Last year: MILW 1-1 SU, MILW 0-2 ATS, 2-0 O/U
IUPUI, home of the "Fightin’ Graduate Dan Rivera’s," - not to be confused with IPFW, of course - is another Indiana school that I attended. IUPUI is just as atrocious, and on Ken Pom this team has a lot of red, which isn't good. Last year, IUPUI was just as awful in going 7-25 (3-15 in conference) with two of its wins vs. some D3/NAIA Indiana schools and another two wins vs. Oakland, who is almost as bad as them. MILW is currently 2nd overall in Horizon league, but it went 12-19 overall last year (7-11 in conference) while losing its final six games. This team simply isn’t good and just hasn't played many games yet this year.
In game one, this was a 50/50 type of game with about 14 minutes left in the second half, and then MILW pulled away. MILW shot 56.5% from three vs. IUPUI’s 29.6% overall from the field. MILW shot 79.2% from the FT line and IUPUI shot 63.2% from the FT line. MILW also out-assisted them 19-10, out-rebounded them 39-33 and was up 26 at one point. IUPUI isn’t a team you want to back, especially on the road.
In game two, this one was within two points with 3:26 left in the second half. IUPUI shot 40% from three and 40.7% from the field. MILW shot 28.6% from beyond the arc, but was a more-than-solid 55.8% shooting overall from the field. IUPUI also had a better FT% (69.2%) compared to MILW's 64.3%. This game came down to MILW hitting its shots toward the end, while IUPUI simply missed. MILW might have covered, but IUPUI played well in this game, and I don't believe you will hear me say that often this year.
RECAP: Oakland (OAK) @ Wisconsin Green Bay (GB)
- Game 1: GB 84-81 OT (GB +1.5, over 149.5)
- Game 2: GB 87-78 (GB +1, over 145.5)
- Last year: GB 1-1 SU/ATS, 1-1 O/U
Game one here came down to three-point shooting, as GB shot 43.5% from three vs. OAK's 33.3%. GB also shot 50.8% from the field, as well as out-assisting, out-stealing, and out-blocking OAK. GB also had less turnovers. This game went into OT seemingly because OAK shot 86.4% on free throws vs GB's 66.7%. Have you guys noticed that these conferences I write about, that a lot of these teams are shooting a ton of threes? I'm going to be a broken record for these Horizon League/Summit League write ups and podcasts.
Game two was a much more of an even shooting night. OAK shot 46.7% from the field and 36.8% from three. GB shot 47.8% from the field and 35% from three. Both teams' FT% was similar as well. OAK had a poor second half overall, being outscored 49-33, despite being up 45-38 after the first half. Overall, these two teams aren’t very good and I will be fading them a lot, especially at home, in Horizon League play.
RECAP: Northern Kentucky University (NKU) @ Cleveland State (CLEV)
- Game 1: CLEV 58-44 (CLEV -2.5, under 138.5)
- Game 2: CLEV 74-71 (CLE -2.5, over 132)
- Last year: NKU 2-0 SU/ATS, 1-1 O/U
This Cleveland State team is underrated to me. CLEVE is a quiet 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in conference this year. This isn't remotely a "sexy" team, but this team cashes tickets nonetheless. CLEV doesn’t play fast at all, ranking #287 on KenPom for adjusted tempo. CLEV actually does play real defense in this conference, but it hasn't played against the best competition. In game one, NKU was not ready for this defense. CLEV ranks top three in most conference defensive metrics, and it showed here in this matchup, as NKU also had a bad shooting night in going 14.3% from three-point range and a lowly 27.9% overall from the field.
Game two we had a nice sweat for anyone who tailed with me on twitter. CLEV had a bad night shooting from three, going 26.1% from deep and overall was worse from the field than NKU. CLEV shot 37.9% from the field compared to 41.2% for NKU. NKU went 21-23 from the line vs. CLEV's 24-30 from the line. The difference in this game, however, was the turnovers. NKU turns the ball over a lot, and I don’t like backing teams like that. NKU was also out-rebounded 38-31. Even the halves were near identical statistically in this matchup, and this was a coin toss game that came out well for us who backed CLEV for the cover.