If the first weekend of college basketball is any indication of what is to come, then the Horizon League should again be one of the strongest mid-major conferences in the nation. H-League teams finished with 9-3 over these first three days. Four of the wins were against non-Division 1 opponents, so all of those were expected. The best (and perhaps most surprising) win came in Youngstown as the Penguins came from behind to defeat an Akron Zips team that won 26 games last season and the Mid-American Conference regular season title. As expected, Cameron Morse could not be contained on the offensive end, as he had a game-high 27 points. Wright State also had a big win as they went on the road and defeated Southern Illinois, who is a solid Missouri Valley Conference team. Steven Davis and Mark Alstork combined for 56 points and 20-32 shooting from the field. The Raiders will need that duo to continue to be very productive, if they want to be one of the better teams in the H-League. Northern Kentucky was the only team to take on a Power Conference opponent. Despite losing 79-64 at Illinois, Norse fans should feel encouraged that their team held a two-point halftime lead. It also looks like true freshman Carson Williams will have a big impact for the Norse, as he is averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds through two games.
A big game to look forward to this week is when Valpo travels back to Oregon to take on the #5 ranked Ducks on Thursday night. This is a rematch from last year’s game in which Oregon outlasted the Crusaders by just six points. Assuming everything else stayed the same, a Valpo win in that game last year would have likely put them over the hump for an NCAA Tournament berth. Unfortunately, most will not be able to see this game, which will be a great barometer for Valpo, as it is on the Pac-12 Network.