Wright State at Cleveland State (Horizon League)H. J. Goodman Arena - Cleveland, OH7:30 PM EST
There are quite a few intriguing games out there in Hoops Nation on this Thursday. Western Kentucky takes a trip to North Texas' Super Pit
to try and knock off the defensing Sun Belt champs -- something East co-leader South Alabama couldn't do last week. Cal State Northridge (15-5, 7-1) tries to hold onto its tenuous position atop the Big West at Pacific
. And Oral Roberts will defend its perfect 10-0 Badlands Conference record
against one of the only teams in the league capable of beating the G'Eagles, that being Oakland.
But, as we are wont to do occasionally, we're pulling rank and beaming the G!O!T!N! spotlight on the game we're going to. We've earned that right, and it took years! This is, in basic terms, a battle for second place in the Horizon League between two 7-4 teams that have both beaten Butler (and could do it again in March to force a two-bid situation). Those Bulldogs may be streaking with four straight wins, but Wright's on a six-game run marked by the same slow, sloggy play we can to know and love last year. The Raiders will grind the tempo down to a near-halt, pick the perfect 3, and hit it. They're making 40 percent of their bombs, 11th best in the country. Their two leading scorers, Vaughn Duggins
and Todd Brown
, have combined to hit 83 of them. And they're sophomores, so it's very likely that they'll inherit the "best backcourt in the Horizon" tag when Graves and Green are done with it.
Cleveland State... what can we say? The states of Wisconsin and Illinois have conspired to stop its season-opening 7-0 run, as a trip to Green Bay and Milwaukee started it, followed by two drops against UIC and Loyola. It's a simple prognosis, really: they've stopped scoring points and are giving up a lot more. During the seven-game streak, more points than possessions and less given up per opponent drive, and in the past four games it's pretty much been the opposite. But they can still seal the perimeter like nobody's business -- a HL-leading 27.5 percent 3-point tries allowed -- and that'll come in handy tonight against the Wright sharpshooters as they try to replicate the positive 65-63 result
from Jan. 12.Basketball State Preview/Box