With the Horizon League tournament kicking off tomorrow, the Cleveland State Vikings will have a home game against Detroit as both teams set their sites on the automatic bid that goes to the winner of the whole shebang.
While the Vikings were not fortunate enough to lock up a one of the top two seeds – that gives said seed two byes and an automatic birth in the semi-finals – they will be going to battle with two players that have a little more hardware.
Cleveland State senior men’s basketball forward J’Nathan Bullock was named to the All-Horizon League first team today, the league announced. Also, CSU senior guard Cedric Jackson earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and made second team.
Butler, the team that typically represents the Horizon League during all things NCAA, has a few award winners of their own. The Vikings were extremely close to upsetting the Bulldogs this weekend, but fell just a bit short with a final score of 58-56. Plagued by some foul trouble and turnovers caused by the Bulldogs’ extremely solid defense, a front-of-the-rim missed three by Norris Cole was about all she wrote.
Given all of this, CSU actually came out with a much-needed break with Youngstown State falling to Valparaiso; resulting in the Vikings getting the third seed in the tournament. Thus, they will not have to play Butler again until the finals – assuming they make it. If the Vikings manage to win the entire tournament, all heck could break lose with the selection committee as Butler would almost undoubtedly get one of the at-large bids, forcing a bubble team (Ohio State, Virginia Tech, etc) to be on the outside looking in. Given the brash of injuries that the team endured this season, the result is not all that far-fetched.