1st place in the Horizon League is on the line when Youngstown State hosts Green Bay this weekend. Who has the edge in this battle?
Schedule: Saturday, February 10th, 1:30 pm ET, ESPN+
Arena: Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio
Thursday night was a hectic day in the Horizon League, with three of the four games going to overtime. Two of the winners are the teams being discussed here, as Youngstown State (18-7, 10-4) and Green Bay (16-9, 11-3) have a chance to be in first place in the league standings, depending on who wins.
The Penguins are one of the best scoring teams in the country, averaging over 82 ppg. They're a fairly balanced team, with seven players averaging at least 7.4 ppg. Guard/forward Ziggy Reid leads the team with 14.7 ppg, coming off a season-high 28 points in a home overtime win over Milwaukee, coming back from an early deficit. Forward DJ Burns averages a double-double on the season, while Brandon Rush and Brett Thompson are double-digit scoring guards.
Their opponents aren't as deep as Youngstown State but Green Bay has arguably the best player in the Horizon League in Noah Reynolds, who is averaging 19.8 ppg and 4.4 apg. He's had six games of at least 30 points on the season, including a 32-point effort on the road this weekend to beat Robert Morris in overtime.
The Phoenix doesn't have another double-digit scorer on the roster, though Elijah Jones has been a key frontcourt contributor. One strength of this team is their ability to shoot the three-ball, with guards David Douglas Jr. and Foster Wonders both over 40% from deep on the season. Green Bay plays at a slower pace than the Penguins but they're highly efficient and has a guy in Reynolds that can go off at any time.
This is the matchup between a team's depth versus an individual star player. The key is the game being in Youngstown, which usually favors the "role" players. If Youngstown State gets enough from them, they should be able to get a win in this key matchup, with another coming in just a couple of weeks.
Prediction: Youngstown State 74, Green Bay 67