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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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Bracketology

As previously mentioned, the Horizon League will only get one ticket to the dance this season. There’s no bubble drama here in this league and there hasn’t been for nearly a decade. The conference ranks 20th out of 32 in the NET rankings, while the league as a whole has just two Quad 1 wins and just two Quad 2 victories.

The last two champions of the Horizon League Tournament were the 4-seeds and unsurprisingly both earned 16-seeds into the Big Dance. Both Wright State in 2022 and Northern Kentucky last season played better than expected but fell to top-seeds in the Tournament, though the Raiders picked up a win in the First Four over Bryant.

This year shouldn’t be much different in the conference unfortunately, with even top-seed Oakland looking like a potential 16-seed. Oakland does have a nice road win over Xavier which remains at Quad 1, but their entire body of work doesn’t compare well with other potential conference champions. If there are several upsets in other mid-major leagues, then perhaps a 15-seed could happen for Oakland or potentially for Youngstown State.

Outside of the top two seeds winning in Indianapolis, nobody else will get better than a 16-seed from this league. At that point, you almost wonder if it would be better for the league champion to end up in the First Four like Wright State two seasons ago. Victory in Dayton would be money for the Horizon League and their members after all.