It wasn’t supposed to end that way. A season that started with a shocking 71-58 road win at #7 Vanderbilt, rode a 12-2 start to a 20-4 Horizon League lead, crashed and burned on a Valparaiso Saturday night.
In the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament, the second-seeded Cleveland State Vikings faced the Detroit Titans, who finished tied for third in the league and earned the third seed thanks to a sweep of Butler. UDM came into Saturday’s tilt needing two victories just to get the opportunity to face the Vikings, the recipient of a double-bye. The draw look auspicious for CSU, considering that nemesis Butler and top seeded Valparaiso were on the other half of the draw. The Vikings had already beaten Detroit both times they played in the regular season, including a 77-64 win just a week ago. Gary Waters’s club was also welcoming back Senior leader SF D’Aundray Brown, their second leading scorer and best defensive player.
It all looked so good on paper. The Vikings had floundered down the stretch, but seemed to gotten their acts together with back to back home wins to close out the regular season. With Brown back and four seniors ready to take their last shot at the NCAA Tournament, the Vikings looked like they were ready to roll. [Read more...]