Horizon League halfway done. Where are we?

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With this weekend's games the Horizon League has unofficially reached its midway point. Every team has played nine games except for Milwaukee, which has played 10, and UIC, which has played eight. The conference standings are incredibly jumbled with six of the ten teams having a record above .500 and the conference efficiency margins are similar. Six teams have an efficiency margin greater than zero.

Cleveland State is the front-runner, but I have hope that a few teams, including Loyola are going to be able to rebound during the second half of conference play. With the victory over UIC on Saturday the Ramblers moved to 3-6 in conference play and still have a game against Youngstown State on Thursday to keep things going. If Loyola wins that, then the Ramblers will have set up the possibility of making it back into the conference race.
The fact is it's looking more and more like there is no great team in the Horizon League this season. Butler has a number of flaws, Cleveland State has found some odd losses - including Sunday's loss to Green Bay - and nobody believes in Valparaiso yet. Halfway through the season we still don't know what is really going to happen. (This week's numbers are after the jump.)

Here are the efficiency margins at the halfway point:

  1. Cleveland State - +0.14
  2. Valparaiso - +0.10
  3. Butler - +0.07
  4. Wright State - +0.04
  5. Detroit - +0.04
  6. Green Bay - +0.01
  7. Loyola - (-0.03)
  8. Milwaukee - (-0.03)
  9. Youngstown State - (-0.16)
  10. UIC - (-0.16)
Yup, those are the margins right now. It must be frustrating for Howard Moore to see his team at the bottom of the efficiency margins and at the bottom of the league standings. After victories over Rhode Island and Illinois things seemed to be on the upswing during non-conference play. Unfortunately the defense has disappeared during conference play.
Superlatives in conference:
  • Best Offense: Butler
  • Best Defense: Valparaiso
  • Worst Offense: Youngstown State
  • Worst Defense: UIC
  • Luckiest: Milwaukee - 0.86 wins ahead of schedule
  • Unluckiest: UIC - 1.1 wins behind schedule

Comments

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  • Last time I looked Wright State was 20th in the nation in scoring defense!! In the HL, Butler was a close 2nd to WSU!!

  • In reply to roadtrip:

    These rankings aren't based on Scoring Defense. Mostly because I believe scoring defense is pretty worthless in general. They're done by points per possession for offense and points allowed per possession on defense and they only include Horizon League games.

    Wright State plays significantly slower than every team in the Horizon League (63.3 possessions per game). Loyola is the only other one under 66 possessions, and that skews their numbers and makes their defense look better and their offense look worse.

    These numbers take that pace into account. When you do you see how strong Valparaiso's defense is.

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