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 also be recapping/reviewing the Horizon 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.
Author's Note: I went 4-3 on Friday and 6-0 on Saturday overall in terms of both my personal and public plays. The Horizon League Conference in particular had two very distinct days over the weekend. Friday games weren’t very surprising to me in terms of the final scores, but Saturday was a big surprise. I am very happy that I stayed away from this conference on Saturday, because I would have had a lot of losers.
RECAP: Wright State Raiders (11-4, 9-3) @ IUPUI Jaguars (3-6, 2-6)
- Game 1: Wright State 95-65 (Wright State -14.5, over 146)
- Game 2: Wright State 100-72 (Wright State -15.5, over 149.5)
- Last year: Wright State 2-0 SU/ATS, 1-1 O/U
Let’s start with the quickest recap of the Horizon League Conference weekend. IUPUI stinks. There's no hiding it. Wright State is one of the best Horizon League teams, on the other hand, and they took care of business in both games. I didn’t bet either of these games, simply because I was super hesitant of the big spreads. Two of three wins for IUPUI have come against Northern Kentucky, but they are a down team this year and haven't looked like a top Horizon League team like they have in year's past. Wright State showed up and dominated a bad team in both of these matchups, winning by an average of 29 points per game.
RECAP: IPFW Mastodons (6-7, 5-7) @ Green Bay Phoenix (4-11, 4-7)
- Game 1: Green Bay 77-59 (GB -1.5, under 150.5)
- Game 2: Green Bay 87-72 (GB -2, over 149)
- Last year: didn’t play
This is another quick recap here, and this is also one of the misses on Friday that I had in betting IPFW. IPFW came into this game as the #1 three point % team in the nation according to KenPom. Just last weekend, IPFW went to Milwaukee and showed they can still hit a large % of threes, and that's why I backed them in game one here. But the Mastodons couldn’t hit anything in game 1 or 2 from three-point range. They shot 22.2% from three in game 1 and 29.4% from three in game 2. This is well below their season average of 41.3%. IPFW simply couldn’t hit their threes, while Green Bay on the other hand hit 42%+ from three in both games. IPFW didn’t have a chance at winning with such bad shooting nights.
RECAP: Detroit Mercy Titans (4-8, 3-5) @ Oakland Golden Grizzlies
- Game 1: Oakland 86-81 (Oakland -1.5m over 152)
- Game 2: Detroit 82-72 (Detroit -1.5, over 150.5)
- Last year: Oakland 2-0 SU/ATS, 0-1-1 O/U
This was actually the 3rd and the 4th meetings of the season for these 2 teams. Oakland has dominated this series, and if you go back to the 2013-14 season, Oakland is now 15-2 SU overall (14-1 prior to these two games) and winners of 9 straight (10 straight after game 1 of this recent weekend series). In game 1, Oakland was up 48-23 after the first half. In the second half they almost blew it, giving up 58 points while only scoring 38. Oakland was up 82-81 with just 18 seconds left and hit a couple of late free throws to seal the deal. Game 2 was very competitive, as Oakland was down only by three points at the half. In terms of the overall box score, I don’t take anything much away from either of these two games here.
RECAP: Northern Kentucky Norse (7-8, 5-5) @ Robert Morris Colonials (3-7, 2-5)
- Game 1: NKU 81-76 (NKU +1.5, over 135.5)
- Game 2: NKU 79-74 OT (NKU +1.5, over 135.5)
- Last year: didn’t play
Robert Morris is new to the Horizon League Conference year. The Colonials are fresh out of the Northeast Conference, where they went 20-14 (13-5) last year. They haven’t been impressive this year, however, with just one win coming against a non-Division I opponent. Another win of theirs came off a very hot shooting night vs. IPFW in which they put up 100, and another one was a three-point win over Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, for Northern Kentucky, it has been an up and down season. The Norse lost to IUPUI twice, lost to Youngstown State, and don’t have a quality conference win yet. To me, they seem like a middling type of conference team right now. In game 1, Northern Kentucky shot 58.2% from the field and 39.1% from three. This was a close game throughout until the last 6 minutes, when Northern Kentucky was able to pull away.
In game 2, I was very shocked Northern Kentucky won outright again. Both of these teams were almost dead equal from the field, but it was Northern Kentucky which shot 30% from three while Robert Morris shot 47.1% from three. The box score was also nearly identical in all other stats except FT%, although both teams hit the same number of FTs. I would have lost a lot of money if you told me both teams would have nearly identical stats but one team had a superior 3-point shooting night. Game 2 came down to luck, and Northern Kentucky just happened to luck out here and complete the weekend sweep of Robert Morris.
RECAP: UIC Flame (8-5, 5-3) @ Youngstown State Penguins (8-8, 4-8)
- Game 1: UIC 67-66 (UIC +1.5, under 142.5)
- Game 2: Youngstown State 85-77 (Young St -1, over 141)
- Last year: UIC 2-1 SU/ATS, 1-2 O/U
Game 1 had a fantastic ending, as UIC won on a last-second layup. In that game, Youngstown State shot 21.4% from three while UIC themselves shot 34.5% from beyond the arc. Youngstown State still almost won despite the poor three-point shooting night. UIC only got to the line six times in this game, while Youngstown State went to the line 19 times. The under also hit by a pretty clear margin of nine points.
Game 2 is another game that I would have lost a lot of money on if you had told me only about these teams' shooting performances. UIC shot 53.7% from the field and 42.3% from three. Youngstown State, on the other hand, shot 46.2% from the field and 33.3% from three, yet Young St. still won this game by eight points. It came down to turnovers and fouls here. Youngstown State had eight turnovers, compared to UIC’s 19. Young St. also went to the line 25 times compared to UIC's 10s. You can’t turn the ball over that much - in addition to having your opponent go the line that much - and still expect to win games outright.
RECAP: Milwaukee Panthers (6-5, 5-4) @ Cleveland State Vikings (10-5, 10-2)
- Game 1: Cleveland State 64-53 (Cleveland State -3.5, under 135)
- Game 2: Milwaukee 81-80 (Milwaukee +3.5, over 131.5)
- Last year: Cleveland State 2-0 SU/ATS, 1-1 O/U
In game 1, nothing stood out to me outside of Milwaukee's very poor shooting night. This was one of my bets that I gave out on the Betting Predators CBB Free Play podcast, and it cashed quite easily. Cleveland State was the better team overall, particularly on defense, and the stats showed that in the frontend of this Horizon League Conference weekend matchup, with the Vikings earning a 64-53 victory at home.
Game 2 was the biggest surprise to me of the weekend. With just two minutes left in the game, Cleveland State was up 66-53 and well on their way to the easy win again. At this point in the game, ESPN gave Cleveland State a 99.7% chance to win outright. But Milwaukee scored 13 points in two minutes to send it into OT and eventually secure the win. If you had a Cleveland State ticket for this game, then I send my condolences to you. Milwaukee shot only 28% from three compared Cleveland State’s 42.1% and somehow Milwaukee still was able to pull out a miracle, in the extra period nonetheless. I was stunned to see the final score of this game after getting an update on my phone with about three minutes left to play.