Green Bay Basketball: Horizon League Tourney Loss Puts NCAA Tournament Bid at Risk

By Demario Phipps-Smith
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes great isn’t great enough.

The Green Bay Phoenix (24-6) have had the type of season fans of the program will talk about for years. This year, the Phoenix have had a 12-game winning streak, almost defeated a ranked opponent at home and lost just two games in conference play.

There is a possibility, however, that the Green Bay fanbase will have to talk about how this great team failed to make the NCAA tournament.

Saturday, the No. 1 seeded Phoenix squared off against the Milwaukee Panthers (20-13, 7-9) in the Horizon League semifinals. Although the Panthers were considered an underdog, the team defeated Green Bay in February (73-63) and also took the Phoenix into overtime in a thrilling loss (93-86).

The third time these teams met was reminiscent of the first two contests as it was competitive and nail biting. It also went into overtime, but this time Jordan Aaron and the Panthers were not to be defeated. Aaron (28 points) outscored Horizon League’s high-scorer Keifer Sykes (15) of Green Bay by 13 points in the 73-66 upset.

One game does not a season break, but this game can be the blame if the Phoenix don’t make the NCAA Tournament. While the team boasts an impressive record, Green Bay also has some ugly losses. The worst are on the road to Eastern Michigan in December and two losses to Milwaukee. The team lacks any signature wins to account for losing a weak conference tournament.

Fans have shown much support for Green Bay and its hopes for an NCAA berth, but it is unlikely that the Horizon League will have two representatives. Green Bay has had a terrific season thus far, but it appears about to come to an end.

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