Wednesday, March 12

Horizon League championship observations

Thought of a few things while watching the Cleveland State Vikings battle the Butler Bulldogs in the Horizon League Championship game. Part of the intrigue of this game for me is how some will view the teams' approaches to the game. People will say that CSU has "nothing to lose" since they're the loose, upstart underdog in the game. But in reality, it is Butler who has very little to lose - they're ranked #10 in the nation and are going to the NCAA's no matter what happens in this contest. For CSU, however, this game is quite simply the difference between an NCAA berth and an NIT appearance (which would still be commendable).

First Half, 4:00 remaining
I'm watching Cleveland State try to claim the Horizon League title tonight in rival Butler's gym, and 16 minutes in, this is a strange sort of game. Butler stormed to a huge early lead and CSU has been slowly closing the gap, to the point where it's 30-29 Butler with four minutes left in the first half. Couple of weird numbers though:

CSU has taken 30 shots; Butler has put up just 15.
Butler, however, has take 15 FT's to just 4 for C-State.

Butler has passed to the tune of 8 assists. CSU, somehow, has 0.
I don't know the exact numbers for turnovers, but they're roughly the opposite of the assist numbers.

Interesting stuff, making for a good game thus far. Go Vikes!

Start of the 2nd half
CSU has somehow managed to come out of the opening half down only four. Among others, ESPN's color guy points out that "Francis has really made a big contribution" to CSU's club. Well, that's what Francises do.

Early in the half, CSU floor general Cedric Jackson goes down hurt. That's a real key guy to lose - only CSU big man (and All-Name All-Star) J'Nathan Bullock might be a more important member of the club.

Five minutes left
This is the second time I've written this. Thanks, Blogger!

Well, you sort of knew maybe that was going to happen. CSU was eventually outmanned and outgunned by Butler, especially once Jackson went down. Final score: 70-55.

Still, for a club picked at the start of the season to finish 9th in the league, a second-place finish in both the regular season standings and the conference tournament is quite a remarkable season. Looking forward to next year.


Anonymous said...

I would have really liked to see Cleveland St in the tourney, but I was torn while watching this game, as a CSU win would have eliminated a bubble team, possibly Ohio St. But when it came down to it I had to root for Butler, anything to help the Buckeyes. Good luck to the Vikings in the NIT.

Andy said...

I thought of that as well during the game but decided I wanted to have my cake and eat it too; I wanted CSU to make it and for the Bucks to earn their way in with some victories in the Big 10 tourney (which they still may need).