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NCAA Basketball March Madness

The Horizon Conference Tournament Is One To Watch

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This week we begin with conference tournament action and one of the first takes place in the Horizon League.  Tuesday night the first round will take place at the site of the lower seed.  The quarterfinals and semis will take place at Valparaiso with the championship game at the highest remaining seed’s gym.

The conference one seed is a familiar squad in the Crusaders who went 13-3 in conference and have a victory over Murray State on the road as well.  They are a veteran bunch with six seniors including leading scorer Ryan Broekhoff.  They have size and shooters which makes them deadly in this setting.  Their conference losses came to Youngstown State, Detroit and Loyola-Chicago.

The two seed is those Titans of Detroit.  This is arguably the most dangerous team in the conference bringing a 20-11 record overall and a win over Akron.  They feature four fantastic scorers led by Ray McCallum who is putting up almost 20 points per game to go with five rebounds and four assists.  Nick Minnerath, Jason Calliste and Doug Anderson also score over 10 points per game.  Their losses have come against Cleveland State, Valpo, Green Bay and Wright State.

The Raiders are the three seed and their chances hinge on leading scorer Cole Darling who has been out with a foot injury.  They are literally limping into the tourney having lost three of their last five games.  Darling is the team’s only double digit scorer although six players score at least six points per game.

The final true threat is the four seed Green Bay.  They lost to Valpo to close out the regular season, but Keifer Sykes and Alec Brown are solid scorers and are capable of carrying this team on a run.  The five other teams in the conference all sport losing records against the rest of the Horizon.

So who is the pick? I’m going with Detroit.  This is the most exciting team in the conference and they’ve already beaten the Crusaders in their gym so they won’t be intimidated should it happen again.