Post Feast Week is always a good time to evaluate where a team or league might be at. Roughly a month has gone by, and most teams have played some quality competition from buy games or an MTE.
Here are some early, league-wide notes from the first few weeks of Horizon League play:
- Overall, the league is just over .500 with a 33-32 record. That’s 19th out of the 32 conferences. Northern Kentucky has six of those 33.
- Per KenPom, the league is No. 20 overall in conference rating at -5.04. It finished No. 24 last year at -5.62, so there’s been a slight improvement early on.
- Horizon League teams have picked up just two top 100 KenPom wins: Wright State over Toledo and IUPUI over Boston College.
- The first edition of the NCAA’s new NET metric was released Monday. Here’s how the Horizon League stacked up:
Brace yourselves, #HLMBB fans. The first NCAA NET ratings are out.— HoriZone Roundtable (@HoriZoneRT) November 26, 2018
126. Wright State
128. Northern Kentucky
131. Detroit Mercy
163. Green Bay
281. Cleveland State
282. Youngstown State
Here are a few more team specific items of note.
Antoine Davis is getting BUCKETS
One of the biggest revelations in all of college basketball thus far has been the scoring prowess of Detroit’s star freshman Antoine Davis. He’s pouring in 30 points per game and he’s a big reason that Detroit and first year head coach Mike Davis are off to a 3-3 start. Davis (the son) is shooting an absurd 52 percent from three point range, and already has four 30-point outings to his name, including a 42-point binge against Loyola Maryland. Many expected Detroit to finish in the league’s basement. If early signs are any indicator of things to come, Antoine Davis will prevent that from happening.
IUPUI is off to a solid start
In its sophomore season as a member of the Horizon League, IUPUI is off to its best start under Jason Gardner. The Jags currently sit at 4-2, which included the aforementioned road against Boston College. Newcomers were expected to play a pivotal role in the success of the Jaguars, and that’s been the case early on. Vanderbilt transfer Camron Justice leads the Jags in scoring at just under 19 points per game and Grant Weatherford leads the team in assists and steals. The Jags have been significantly better on the defensive end as well by not allowing their opponents to score over 1.00 points per possession in any of their four wins thus far. A pair of really good opportunities for home wins await this week with matchups against Bradley and Ball State.
Oakland guard Brailen Neely leaves the program
It was announced on Monday that Oakland point guard Brailen Neely would not be returning to the program, citing a knee injury as the reason for departure. Greg Kampe said the following in a statement on Monday:
“Brailen came to me last Tuesday and told me that his knee was hurting and would like some time off. Today he decided that he would not return. We wish him the best in whatever he decides to do.”
It’s a weird situation, and there may be more to the store than has been made public. Nonetheless, the Grizz will turn to Braden Norris to man the point guard duties.
Greg Kampe, pink hair haver
Greg Kampe is cooler than your coach.
Shaping up nice. Be at the O’rena at 2:30 for the game to see the finished product pic.twitter.com/x10RvXCu30— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) November 23, 2018
Drew McDonald is still getting better
I tabbed McDonald as my preseason Player of the Year in my Horizon League preview, and he’s lived up to that billing so far. He’s averaging career highs in points per game (19.7), rebounds per game (9.9), blocks per game (1.0), field goal percentage (54.8 percent) and three-point shooting (41.9 percent). Oh, and his team is a league best 6-1, albeit against a softer schedule.
Other nationally relevant statistics
Here’s a roundup of where some Horizon League players fall on various national statistic leaderboards:
- Field Goals: Xavier Hill-Mais - 72 (1st), Antoine Davis - 63 (2nd)
- 3-point Field Goals: Antoine Davis - 39 (1st)
- Defensive Rebounds: Drew McDonald - 57 (5th)
- Points: Xavier Hill-Mais - 189 (2nd), Antoine Davis - 180 (3rd)
- Points Per Game: Antoine Davis - 30.0 (2nd)