The Horizon League tournament begins tonight and I don’t think there’s a better way to start the festivities than with some fun predictions. After all, the year started with Oakland coach Greg Kampe asking me to pull his hair, so why wouldn’t we have a little fun as the season comes to a close?
You should know that I’m not very good at this prediction business. I thought Cleveland State was going to beat Green Bay in the title game last year and both of them were eliminated in the semifinals. wholesale nfl jerseys from china I didn’t even have eventual league champion Milwaukee winning in the first round.
As for my 2014 15 preseason predictions, I didn’t get one team right in terms of where they would finish. I had Green Bay winning the league and they finished second. I had league champion Valparaiso finishing fourth. I had upstart Oakland finishing seventh. At least I got Youngstown State’s seed right.
I got 60 percent of the All League team correct and I got 70 percent of the overall players correct. I didn’t have Anton Grady on either team and I had Kahlil Felder on the Second Team. I voted for Jordan Fouse, Bobby Hain and Charlie Lee instead of Grady, Steve McWhorter and Greg Mays.
Now that it’s been determined I don’t have the first damn clue of what I’m talking about, here is exactly how I see the 2015 Horizon League tournament playing out.
No. 5 Detroit 78, No. 8 Youngstown State 69
Fueled by what some perceive as an All League snub, Juwan Howard Jr. takes out all of his aggression on the poor Penguins. The assault begins in the pregame warmups when Howard Jr. sees the two Penguin mascots standing under the basket and he gets teammate Patrick Ackerman to throw him an alley oop as Howard Jr. dunks over Pete the Penguin and his beautiful bride. It’s Ackerman’s second assist of the year. Howard Jr. finishes with 35 points and the Titans cruise to the quarterfinals.
No. 7 Wright State 66, No. 6 UIC 65
Such a strange turn of events in Chicago. Yoho and Stephen Davis are back. As happy as this makes Donlon, he’s even more thrilled when he finds out the UIC media room is serving Giordano’s Pizza midway through the first half. Knowing that media room food goes quick at the UIC Pavilion, Donlon gets himself rung up with two quick technical fouls when he tries to insert seventh year senior Vaughn Duggins into the lineup. Donlon, who was given technicals in the last two regular season games, storms off the court and grabs a slice. The game is a hard fought contest and it comes down to the final possession where Jay Harris is fouled shooting a 3 pointer with the score 66 63 in favor of Wright State. Harris hits his first two free throws before taking off his jersey and revealing a new Valparaiso tattoo on his chest. Harris drops the ball on the court and walks off as WWE broadcaster Jim Ross, filling in for Dave Juday, tries to make sense of the carnage. Donlon smiles as he grabs a slice for the road.
No. 4 Cleveland State 77, No. 5 Detroit 71
Trey Lewis and Juwan Howard Jr. trade baskets back and forth for much of the night, each scoring more than 25 points in a battle between two of the best scorers in the league. Howard Jr. makes all sorts of different faces after each 3 pointer while Lewis yells “I’m All League Juwan” after each shot. Howard Jr. gets into foul trouble down the stretch and Charlie Lee ices the victory from the charity stripe in the process.
No. 3 Oakland 73, No. 7 Wright State 58
In one of the more interesting contrasting styles of the tournament, Oakland’s high powered offense goes against Wright State’s gritty defense. It looks like the Raiders are going to win the battle in the first half as they take a 29 22 lead into the locker room. Oakland coach Greg Kampe instructs Felder to drive the lane on every possession in the second half and the sophomore point guard ends up getting to the free throw line 29 times in the second half. Felder finishes with 43 points and the Grizz punch their ticket to the semifinals.
No. 3 Oakland 88, No. 2 Green Bay 83
Things just never go well in Green Bay for Brian Wardle. First it was Ryan Broekhoff’s buzzer beater in the 2013 tournament. Then it was slipping on ice and spraining his ankle in the 2014 regular season. http://www.cheapnfljerseysonlineg.top Now it’s drawing the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League tournament, a sure kiss of death. The No. 2 seed has lost in the semifinals the last three years and four of the last six. Felder is a star for the Grizzlies and Keifer Sykes does everything he can, but Dante Williams spends much of the game bottling up the Horizon League Player of the Year. Greg Mays gets into early foul trouble and Corey Petros finishes with a double double. You know, the details really aren’t important. The No. 2 seed never wins in the Horizon League and it’s not about to change this year.
No. 1 Valparaiso 38, No. 4 Cleveland State 29
In one of the most boring games ever played on this green earth, the Crusaders play superb defense yet again on the Vikings and do just enough offensively to pull out the victory. Alec Peters leads the Crusaders with 11 points and critics around the league blast him for not putting up big enough numbers although he needed just four shots to get to 11 points. The two star guards in the last game took 26 and 23 shots respectively.
No. 1 Valparaiso 79, No. 3 Oakland 77
It’s a championship game for the ages. Valparaiso jumps out to a 13 2 lead in the early stages and the crowd is going crazy. The Grizzlies come roaring back and take a 74 67 lead with 52 seconds left in the game. Darien Walker responds by knocking down four 3 pointers in the final minute of play, including a game winner with 1.6 seconds left to go to send the Crusaders back to the NCAA tournament. Bryce Drew dives on the floor and Greg Kampe can be heard “not again, not again” as he exits the court.