Busting Brackets

Horizon League Basketball: 2024 conference tournament preview and predictions

Nov 10, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0)
Nov 10, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Horizon League Tournament gets underway on Tuesday from campus sites, but who will cut down the nets next week in Indianapolis?

In recent years there has been plenty of excitement in the Horizon League even if the glory days of this league are in the past. Back before Butler and others left the league, the Horizon was winning Tournament games and making waves at the national level. Not a single team from this league has won a game in the NCAA Tournament (in the Round of 64) since 2011, with seven different programs winning the conference tournament during that time.

As per usual, this will be a one-bid league and the Horizon League is hoping to avert that recent trend by sending the best possible team to the Big Dance. Valparaiso, who left the conference in 2017, and Cleveland State (doing so in 2021) are the only 1-seeds to win the Horizon League Tournament during this 12-year run of postseason mediocrity. Is the league putting their best teams into the Big Dance?

This is the sixth season where the first round and quarterfinals will be at campus sites. The semifinals and finals take place in Indianapolis, with just four of the eleven fanbases needing to travel to that neutral-site. The idea is getting the best teams to Indianapolis, but this is certainly a year where it’s not just four teams that look like potential champions.

The top eight finishers in the conference standings were all within four games of each other and all finished above .500. Many of them beat up on lowly Detroit and IUPUI, while Oakland claimed just their second regular season title since joining the conference. Upstart Youngstown State is sitting pretty in the 2-seed while recent conference champions like Wright State and Northern Kentucky can’t be counted out.

Like many of the mid-major tournaments, this isn’t about improving resume or showing that you belong in the Tournament field. One of these teams is going to be in March Madness while the other ten watch from home. With more than half the league showing at times that they deserve that honor, who do we think will stand out and shine in the Horizon League Tournament?