There was a lot to learn from the first weekend of H-League play. Let’s analyze a few thoughts:
Deeper: This word describes that the league is even deeper than originally thought. With Wright State and Youngstown State stealing wins on the road, it shows that almost any team can beat even the upper-tier teams on any given night. Despite losing both games, Cleveland State looked better than expected with a young and talented nucleus. Expect Northern Kentucky to get over the hump soon and win its first Horizon League game, as they have a good mix of perimeter and inside scoring threats.
Scoring: In the not too distant past, the Horizon League had more of a reputation of a defensive-minded conference with lower scoring and more physical, deliberate play. That is no longer the case as five teams are averaging over 76 points per game (three of them well into the 80s). Perhaps Oakland brought their high-tempo play from the Summit League, as I remember games in that league being very high scoring with tons of three point shots. The sheer amount of shots that some teams are getting off seems beyond comprehension, as some teams are easily attempting over 70 field goals in a game. What ever happened to patiently setting up the offense in the half-court?
Defense wins championships?: Well, we know that this statement can be true in sports. But the question mark was included to wonder if it will hold true this year in the H-League. Valparaiso leads the league in scoring defense by only giving up about 58 points per game, nearly 10 points less than the second place team. The Crusaders are also holding opponents to a bleak 37.1 field goal percentage, and have a +5.8 rebounding margin, both of which lead the league. But will their stout and pressure-packed defense outweigh the great offenses of some of the other teams in the league? This question will be analyzed throughout the season. But it will not truly be answered until after the conference tourney.