One of the first tickets to the NCAA basketball championship tournament will get punched for the Horizon League winner, crowned on March 8. Early Horizon League tournament odds dropped on Sunday courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Let’s take a look at how the markets view the Horizon League conference tournament, which begins on Tuesday.
Horizon League Tournament Odds
Purdue Fort Wayne
The Horizon League tournament showcases a well-balanced group of teams. That befits a league that has had seven different champions in the past 10 seasons and ended 2022 with four teams within a half game of the regular season title.
Regular season champs Cleveland State top the odds board, but their odds translate to a 30% (not vig-adjusted) chance of conquering the 12-team field. The next tier includes four other teams between +390 and +650 at opening odds, so this looks like anyone’s ticket to the dance.
The best of the bunch, even ahead of Cleveland State according to KenPom’s numbers, is actually fifth-seeded Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies played a tough non-conference schedule that included Toledo, Alabama and Michigan State. They have a tougher route than the other top teams due to playing a second-round road game against one of those teams.
Youngstown State leads the down-ballot squads in adjusted efficiency, if not the odds market.
The good news for the lower-seeded teams is they don’t have to play on the road, should they make a semifinals run. The final two rounds take place in Indianapolis, home of IUPUI, which seems incredibly unlikely to enjoy a home court advantage after a 3-25 season. The bad news for those teams is the Horizon League tournament does reseed, so they’ll have to keep facing the highest-seeded opponent every subsequent round they advance. Unless, of course, they get some lower-seeded company in the later rounds.
Horizon League Tournament Schedule
- First round: Tuesday, March 1
- Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 3
- Semifinals: Monday, March 7
- Horizon League Championship: Tuesday, March 8
HERSH ON HOOPS: WHERE’S THE VALUE?
(Written by Eli Hershkovich)
Although a 3-6 record in February has forced Oakland to play without a bye in the tournament, it’s still a valuable option in the field (+500 at BetRivers Sportsbook).
Thanks to the three days off after the quarterfinals — if the Grizzlies advance — their shortened-rotation won’t be forced to play in a compressed stretch like other conference tournaments. Assuming 6-foot-6 forward Trey Townsend isn’t limited by a recent ankle injury, I’m still high on Oakland’s offense despite its late-season struggles.
Moreover, Greg Kampe’s zone produces the 65th-highest turnover rate, sparking Oakland’s transition attack for Jamal Cain — one of the premier mid-major scorers in the nation (20.1 ppg). That department is a major concern for No. 1 seed Cleveland State, tallying the Horizon League’s highest turnover percentage.
Detroit Mercy (+1400) is also worth a look, led by high-level scorer Antoine Davis, which I may explore more in my upcoming conference tournament futures piece.
How To Watch
Viewers can stream the first two rounds of games via ESPN+. After that, the main channels of the network will take over. ESPNU and ESPN2 will split the semifinals, with ESPN2 taking the late window at 9:30 p.m. ET. The teams making the finals get a treat: a prime time ESPN showcase on Tuesday night.