- The Horizon League Conference Tournament will run from Tuesday, March 1st, to Tuesday, March 8th
- Top seed Cleveland State is seeking to repeat, while Northern Kentucky is looking for its fourth conference title in the past six years
- See the Horizon League Tournament odds, seeds, bracket, and full tournament preview, below
The Horizon League Tournament is wide open this year. Top seed Cleveland State may be the favorite and defending champ, but there’s a strong argument that each of the top six seeds have a legitimate shot at being crowned champion.
The action gets underway Tuesday (March 1st) at campus sites across the conference, with the quarterfinals taking place two nights later. The semifinals tip-off next Monday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, with the final taking place there as well the following night (March 8th).
2022 Horizon League Tournament Odds
|Cleveland State Vikings (1)||+230|
|Wright State Raiders (4)||+390|
|Northern Kentucky Norse (3)||+400|
|Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (2)||+500|
|Oakland Golden Grizzlies (5)||+650|
|Detroit Mercy Titans (6)||+1200|
|Youngstown State Penguins (7)||+2300|
|Illinois Chicago Flames (8)||+3200|
|Robert Morris Colonials (10)||+18000|
|Green Bay Phoenix (11)||+22000|
|Milwaukee Panthers (9)||+31000|
|IUPUI Jaguars (12)||+50000|
Odds as of Feb. 28 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Vikings won a share of the regular season title with Purdue Fort Wayne, but earned the top seed based on a 2-1 record against the Mastodons this season.
A quick scroll through the NCAA Tournament odds and you’ll notice not a single Horizon League team listed. That’s because there will be no at-large bids from this conference, meaning the only way to get into March Madness is by winning the Horizon League Tournament.
The conference champ currently projects as a 16-seed in the projected NCAA Tournament bracket, so whoever takes home the trophy will likely be one-and-done, just like Cleveland State last year.
Fade Cleveland State
The Vikings limp into this week’s conference tournament fresh off back-to-back losses. They raced out to a 12-2 conference mark, but dropped four of their final seven outings to fall into a share of the regular season title.
— @CSU_Basketball (@csu_basketball) February 21, 2022
They’re loaded with experience as each of their top-six rotational players are seniors. Five of the six were members of last year’s squad that earned a March Madness appearance, and the team boasts statistically the best offense in the conference.
— @CSU_Basketball (@csu_basketball) February 27, 2022
Cleveland State led the Horizon League in points per game, field goal percentage and assists, but they’re not without warts. They shoot a low percentage from three (33.8%), commit too many turnovers (14 per game), and don’t make nearly enough free throws (67%).
Defensively, they rank seventh in the conference in scoring defense, and struggle to rebound in their own end. Their 70.6% defensive rebounding percentage is a bottom-55 in the entire country, while only 47 teams in the nation commit more fouls.
Given their recent form and shaky defense, it makes sense to target a program with more favorable odds.
Pass on Purdue Fort Wayne
The Mastodons are a great story. They won a share of the Horizon League regular season title in just their second season in the conference, going from an 8-win team to a 20-win program in just a year.
Big regular season. Big things ahead.
— Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons Basketball (@MastodonMBB) February 27, 2022
Like Cleveland State, they’re a strong offensive team with plenty of experience, but that’s where the similarities end. Purdue Fort Wayne is the Horizon League’s top shooting three-point program, and features an extremely well balanced attack. Six players average at least 8 points per game, and unlike the Vikings, they were dominant down the stretch.
Next on the checklist: A Horizon League Tournament title and the program's first NCAA Tournament bid. pic.twitter.com/JxhZUQIRI4
— Josh Ayen (@Josh_Ayen) February 27, 2022
The Mastodons won nine straight to close out the regular season, and boast the conference’s top defensive rating. Purdue Fort Wayne forces turnovers at an elite rate, ranking 36th in the nation in that category, and 27th in steals. They also make teams earn every basket, averaging under 11 opponent free throw attempts per contest.
They’re a stronger bet than Cleveland State, but I prefer to target a program with a bit more pedigree.
Back Northern Kentucky
The Norse have won three of the past five Horizon League Tournaments, and ended the season with 12 wins in their final 14 games.
— NKU Men's Basketball (@NKUNorseMBB) February 27, 2022
That stretch includes victories over not only the Vikings and Mastodons, but also Wright State and Oakland, the fourth and fifth seeds. In fact, the only team they’ve lost to since mid-January is Detroit Mercy (twice). As long as they can avoid the Titans they should be in excellent shape.
Northern Kentucky boasts the conference’s number one scoring defense, and led the Horizon League in steals. Offensively, they rank fourth in three-point efficiency, first in offensive rebounds, and feature three players who average at least 12 points per game.
🚨 Conference Tournament! 🚨
NKU clinched the No. 3 seed in the 2022 Keeps Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship and will host a quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Thursday.
— NKU Men's Basketball (@NKUNorseMBB) February 27, 2022
They won’t be confused with any program cracking the Final Four odds, but they’re an excellent bet to be dancing in March.
Pick: Northern Kentucky Norse (+400)
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