The 2021 Horizon League Conference Tournament bracket.
- The Horizon League Tournament begins play on Thursday, February 25th, at campus sites, with the semifinals and championship game taking place March 8th and 9th in Indianapolis, Indiana
- Wright State won a share of its third straight regular-season title, but Detroit Mercy offers intriguing value as a longshot
- See the seeds, bracket, and full tournament preview, below
Editor’s note: no online sportsbooks released pre-tournament odds for the Horizon League Conference Tournament. See SDB’s college basketball odds page for individual game odds.
The Horizon League will be the first conference tournament in college basketball to tip off this year. Opening-round action gets underway on Thursday (Feb. 25th) at campus sites, with the semifinals and championship game taking place at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 8th and 9th.
No Horizon League program will make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large, so winning the conference tourney is their only shot to advance to March Madness.
Wright State and Cleveland State earned a share of the regular season title with identical 16-4 conference records, and while the Vikings are the top seed, it’s the Raiders should be considered the favorite.
2021 Horizon Tournament Odds
|Wright State Raiders (2)||TBD|
|Cleveland State Vikings (1)||TBD|
|Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3)||TBD|
|Northern Kentucky Norse (4)||TBD|
|Detroit Mercy Titans (5)||TBD|
|Youngstown State Penguins (6)||TBD|
|Green Bay Phoenix (7)||TBD|
|Milwaukee Panthers (8)||TBD|
|IUPUI Jaguars (9)||TBD|
|Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (10)||TBD|
|UIC Flames (11)||TBD|
|Robert Morris Colonias (12)||TBD|
Odds taken Feb. 23rd.
The top-four teams all receive a bye directly into the quarterfinal, which, like the opening round games, will take place on campus sites.
March Madness Final Four Odds Tracker
Fade Cleveland State
Despite winning 16 games in the conference for the first time in program history, there are plenty of red flags surrounding the Vikings. They stumbled down the stretch, losing two of their final four outings, and scored more than 80 points just once in 2021.
Hey, @CLE_State – we’re coming home 2020-21 #HLMBB regular season CHAMPIONS 🏆
The journey continues…#GoVikes pic.twitter.com/BnmX75b1MP
— CSU Basketball (@CSU_MBasketball) February 21, 2021
They boast one of the weakest offenses in the Horizon League, ranking 10th in points per game, three-point efficiency, and free-throw percentage, and seventh in total rebounding.
Leading scorer Torrey Patton is one of the most reliable players in the conference, averaging 14 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a night, but he’s just one of two Vikings averaging in double figures.
The @HorizonLeague announced its postseason awards today. Cleveland State was well represented.
Dennis Gates (Coach of the Year)
Torrey Patton (first team)
Tre Gomillion (Defensive Player of the Year; all-defensive)
Deante “Spider” Johnson (all-defensive)
— Tom Mieskoski (@CSUVikingsHoops) February 23, 2021
Cleveland State relies heavily on its defense, which can be a risky proposition in a tournament full of single elimination games. They rank second in points allowed and enemy field goal percentage, and are tops when it comes to steals and defending the 3-point line.
A semifinal showdown with Detroit Mercy is likely, and that’s a program the Vikings don’t want to face. The Titans beat Cleveland State by six on the road two weeks ago, and blew a 14-point lead in their only other meeting.
Should the Vikings escape Detroit Mercy, they’ll likely have to face a Wright State program that beat them by 39 earlier this season.
The Raiders Are Red-Hot
Speaking of Wright State, a share of the regular-season title with Cleveland State was their third straight and now they’re looking for their first conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018.
The Raiders won 11 of their final 12 games down the stretch, and just one of their four conference losses was by more than six points.
𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝑺𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒐𝒏 🐺
Congrats to our big man Loudon Love, named #HLMBB 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫 for the second consecutive season.
Loudon is just the 3rd player in HL history with multiple Player of the Year & Newcomer of the Year awards!!#RaiderUP | #GetRowdy pic.twitter.com/t0ajWVNpWd
— Wright State Men’s Basketball (@WSU_MBB) February 23, 2021
They’re led by reigning two-time conference player of the year Loudon Love, who, after a slow start to the season, dominated down the stretch. The Senior center averaged 22.7 points and 10.7 rebounds over his final seven games, recording a double-double in six of those outings. He finished with 12 double-doubles in 23 games, the fourth-most in the nation, but he’s not the only offensive threat on this roster.
𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝑺𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒐𝒏 🐺
Congrats to Loudon Love & Tanner Holden, named to the #HLMBB 𝐀𝐥𝐥-𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐠𝐮𝐞 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐓𝐞𝐚𝐦!#RaiderUP | #GetRowdy pic.twitter.com/58qjbQaAOC
— Wright State Men’s Basketball (@WSU_MBB) February 23, 2021
Sophomore guard Tanner Holden, who along with Love was a first team all-conference star, averaged 15.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The offensive weaponry doesn’t stop there, as Grant Basile was named to the all-conference second team, after posting 14.2 points and 6.7 boards per night.
The #HLMBB All-League Second Team:
Amari Davis, @gbphoenixmbb
Marcus Burk, @IUPUIMensBball
Trevon Faulkner, @NKUNorseMBB
Grant Basile, @WSU_MBB
Naz Bohannon, @YSUMensHoops pic.twitter.com/WkhiviYEQH
— Horizon League (@HorizonLeague) February 23, 2021
With that many scoring threats, its little wonder that Wright State led the Horizon League in points per game, while ranking second in field goal percentage and assists.
Not to be outdone is their defense, which just happens to be the best in the conference. The Raiders lead the Horizon league in opponent points per game and enemy shooting percentage, while ranking second in blocks.
They’re playing as well as anyone in the conference at the moment, and are certainly a deserving favorite, but there’s one other program that needs consideration.
Mercy Mercy Mercy
Detroit Mercy was lights out down the stretch, and own at least one win over four of the top-seven seeds. They won 10 of their final 12 games and, although they won’t receive a first-round bye, they’ve beaten their opening-round opponent Robert Morris by double-digits twice already this season.
Davis tallies a game-high 29 points with 8 assists. Waterman finishes with a career-best 22 points and Kuol posted 16 points in this win. The Titans have now won 10 of 12 and have also won double-digit conferences for the first time since 2012-13 #DetroitsCollegeTeam #HLMBB pic.twitter.com/YVneiTPuzY
— Detroit Mercy MBB (@DetroitMBB) February 20, 2021
The Titans are led by Antoine Davis, who averaged a conference best 23.3 points per game in 2020-21. The junior guard was even better down the stretch, averaging 27.5 points over the team’s final 12 outings, eclipsing the 30-point barrier four separate times.
Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis is the Lou Henson award National Player of the Week. The 6-foot-1 junior helped the Titans to a pair of wins last week. He averaged 27.5 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds in the two victories. pic.twitter.com/hoziCbjafF
— College Insider Inc. (@collegeinsider) February 22, 2021
Detroit Mercy ranks behind only Wright State in points per game, and is the conference’s best three-point and free-throw shooting team. They put up at least 80 points in five of their final six games and are loaded with eight upperclassmen in their nine-man rotation.
Defensively, they’re hit-and-miss most nights, but in a single-elimination game, they’re arguably the last team in the conference you’d want to face, just ask Cleveland State.
Look for Davis to cap off his incredible season by leading the Titans to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.
While you can’t bet them outright to win the title on the eve of the tournament, consider betting their moneyline after the first round.