With Butler leaving the league before the season, many people expected a back-and-forth battle between Valparaiso and Detroit throughout the season. And that's essentially what the Horizon boiled down. Valpo jumped out to an early lead, but Detroit won eight of its final nine league games to finish just one game back in the standings.
It will likely come down to those two in the conference tournament as well -- just like it did a year ago, when Detroit knocked off Valpo in the title game. Valparaiso is an efficient, offensive team with the ability to score consistently from the perimeter but also get buckets inside the arc. The Crusaders are led by forwards Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk, while guard Erik Buggs has emerged as standout defender and solid distributor.
On the other side, Detroit has plenty of talent on the offensive side, and the Titans are capable of exploding in a heartbeat. Ray McCallum was the league's Player of the Year, and forward Nick Minnerath is an all-league player who creates matchup problems with his inside-out ability. Doug Anderson might be the best dunker in the country.
Schedule: March 5, 8-9, 12 at campus sites
Title game: Tuesday, March 12 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
THREE BEST PLAYERS
Conference RPI: 12
KenPom.com rating: 13
Sagarin rating: 12
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