College Basketball: Chance for Valpo, Spellman to Nova

Horizon Notes
…With two road games left (at Cleveland State and at Detroit), Valpo can seal up their third outright regular season conference championship in the last four years tonight (against the Vikings). The Crusaders (25-4, 12-2) have had a winning season in the league in each of the last six years and have accumulated at least 10 wins against Horizon competition in five of those years…Cleveland State is currently in second place and need to win tonight (over Valpo) and will need help from Detroit this weekend in their attempt to take a share of the league title for the first time since 2011. The Vikings have been a consistent winner, posting 10-or-more victories in league play in seven of the last eight years…Oakland has proven to be a nice addition in Loyola’s absence. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, the Golden Grizzlies have accumulated a 17-13 record. It took the Ramblers the previous four campaigns to accumulate that win total…Wright State saw a dramatic drop off in the level of success that Raider fans have become accustomed to seeing. This year, the Raiders are 3-11 in the conference. In seven of their previous eight seasons, Wright State has accomplished a double-digit win total in league play…Below is the winning percentage of the Horizon schools since Butler left for the Atlantic-10 (and then the Big East) prior to the 2012-13 season:

(regular season winning percentage in the conference)
1. Valparaiso, 73.9% (34-12)
1. Green Bay, 73.9% (34-12)
3. Cleveland State, 59.6% (28-19)
4. Oakland, 56.7% (17-13)*
5. Detroit, 51.1% (24-23)
6. Wright State, 50.0% (23-23)
7. Milwaukee, 37.0% (17-29)
8. Youngstown State, 32.6% (15-31)
9. Loyola (IL), 31.3% (5-11)^
9. Illinois-Chicago, 23.9% (11-35)
*-Since 2013-14 season
^-Only the 2012-13 season

Mid-American Notes
…Central Michigan sits atop the MAC West Division with an 11-4 mark. Over the previous three seasons, the Chippewas have been able to compile just a 12-38 mark (24.0%)…In the East Division, Kent and Bowling Green are tied for first place with a 10-5 record respectively. Last year, both teams finished in the basement of the division in 5th (Kent State, 7-11) and 6th (Bowling Green, 6-12) place…Here’s a nugget of information, six of the last nine seasons have seen a player from an Ohio school garner the Player of the Year award in the Mid-American Conference…When Akron lost to Western Michigan last year in the Conference Tournament’s semifinal (64-60 in overtime), that snapped a seven-year streak of playing in the league title tilt. The Zips had won three of those contests (2013, 2011, 2009)…Since Marshall left the MAC following the 2004-05 season, below are the wins in the league over the past ten years:

(regular season wins)
1. Akron, 115
2. Kent State, 112
3. Western Michigan, 95
4. Ohio, 91
5. Miami (OH), 86
6. Buffalo, 84
7. Toledo, 79
8. Bowling Green, 72
9. Eastern Michigan, 68
10. Central Michigan, 62
11. Ball State, 59
12. Northern Illinois, 53

Big East Notes
…Just yesterday, Villanova clinched at least a share of the Big East regular season title by defeating Providence 89-61. The Wildcats became the first team since Georgetown in 2006-07 and 2007-08 to win the championship in back-to-back seasons…With much talk surrounding a pair of Providence standouts – Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton – as front runners for the Big East’s Player of the Year. One has to think back to the last time that a Friar was named the Conference’s Top Player. Any guesses? Try never. Since the inception of the Big East in 1979-80, there has never been a Providence College Friar to capture the award. This year, that could change…With all of the success that the Big East has enjoyed this season, most bracketologists view the conference as a six-bid league (Villanova, Butler, Providence, Georgetown, Xavier, St. John’s). Just last year, the Big East garnered 4 bids (Villanova, Creighton, Providence, Xavier) to the NCAA Tournament. The last time the Big East had 10 teams was in 1994-95 and that year the league earned 4 bids also (Connecticut, Georgetown, Syracuse, Villanova). You had to look at the previous season (1993-94) to find the last time that the Big East earned 6 bids (Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Providence) while it was a 10-team league…Did anyone notice the news from this past week that former Youngstown State standout Willie Spellman’s son, Omari, has committed to play hoops at Villanova in 2016…Since the Big East’s reconfiguration prior to the 2013-14 season, below is a list of the league records among the ten schools:

(regular season records)
1. Villanova, 29-5
2. Providence, 19-14
3. Creighton, 18-15
3. Georgetown, 18-15
3. St. John’s, 18-15
6. Xavier, 18-16
7. Butler, 13-19
8. Marquette, 12-20
9. Seton Hall, 11-22
10. DePaul, 9-25

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