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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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Predictions

First Round

#6 Milwaukee vs. #11 Detroit (March 5, 8:00pm)

Detroit’s only win of the entire season came nearly three weeks ago against IUPUI. The Panthers have struggled defensively this season but have won five of their last six and swept the Titans earlier in the year. Barring some sort of bizarre happening, you can expect Milwaukee to advance here at home.

Milwaukee wins

#7 Cleveland State vs. #10 IUPUI (March 5, 8:00pm)

Cleveland State hasn’t been the most consistent team this season, and a few tough losses in February cost them a shot at a higher seed. They’ll look to take that out on a IUPUI squad that they swept in the regular season, including a 9-point win at home just a few days ago. The Jaguars haven’t won since January 17th and might not have enough to win this time in Cleveland either.

Cleveland State wins

#8 Purdue Fort Wayne vs. #9 Robert Morris (March 5, 8:00pm)

These Mastodons got the season off to a hot start, beginning at 13-2 while winning their first four league games. After a cold spurt in January, they’ve gotten back on track in recent weeks, including beating Robert Morris by 18 points on Saturday. The Colonials are losers of six straight and will likely see their season end on Tuesday.

Purdue Fort Wayne wins

Quarterfinals

#1 Oakland vs. #8 Purdue Fort Wayne (March 7, 8:00pm)

Back at the beginning of December, Oakland was shocked at home in a 21-point loss to Purdue Fort Wayne, less than a week after their win at Xavier. The Golden Grizzlies have had a few dud performances this season and aren’t exactly riding high, but they’ll remember that game and seek revenge, even if the Mastodons have been playing better in recent weeks.

Oakland wins

#2 Youngstown State vs. #7 Cleveland State (March 7, 8:00pm)

These northeast Ohio rivals do battle for a third time, with the home team winning each of the first two matchups. Youngstown State has been playing inspired basketball down the stretch, with recent wins at the Wisconsin schools, but the Vikings have experience. Enuruma and company can get this job done, but we’re siding with the Penguins at home.

Youngstown State wins

#3 Green Bay vs. #6 Milwaukee (March 7, 8:00pm)

Another rivalry battle in the quarterfinals, these two schools from Wisconsin split their matchups this year, but it was the Panthers winning by 21 points just three days ago in Milwaukee. The Phoenix have faltered down the stretch, losing four of five and we’re feeling the upset here based on recent events.

Milwaukee wins

#4 Wright State vs. #5 Northern Kentucky (March 7, 8:00pm)

A quarterfinals filled with rivalries includes these two recent juggernauts, as they’ll meet in Dayton for the second time in less than a week. The Raiders actually swept the season series from the Norse and look like the better team right now. Never underestimate the talent and experience at Northern Kentucky, though we foresee them losing another close battle to the Raiders.

Wright State wins