- The Departure of Butler: It’s pretty crazy to think that the Horizon League has produced two of the last three runners-up in the NCAA Tournament, but Butler did indeed reach the final game of the season in both 2010 and 2011. The Bulldogs have been the reason why the conference receives the national attention that it does, but they are now members of the A-10. What does this mean for the conference? Wright State head coach Billy Donlon and Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters don’t seem to think much of the departure, as the former noted that Butler finished fifth in the conference a season ago, and the latter speculated that the Bulldogs would not have been the favorites this season. Despite this, Butler’s departure has been covered extensively by the national media, and we will be able to see its effects in the seasons to come.
- Will Valparaiso Dominate Conference Play? Results from the Media Day polls would seem to indicate that Valparaiso will indeed dominate the Horizon League, as the Crusaders received 40 of the possible 44 first-place votes this preseason. Valpo went 14-4 in conference last year, and returns reigning Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff and first team all-Horizon League forward Kevin Van Wijk. Reaching the NCAA Tournament will be the goal for the Crusaders, as this was a feat they were unable to accomplish one season ago.
- Year Three of the McCallum Experiment: Two elite recruits, ranked #17 and #33 in the 2010 ESPN 100, both decided to play for their fathers at mid-major schools in Michigan. Things haven’t turned out so well for the player ranked #33 in his class, as Trey Zeigler transferred from Central Michigan to Pittsburgh after his dad’s firing. For Ray McCallum, Jr., the seventeenth-best recruit of his class, things have worked out just fine. Detroit reached the NCAA Tournament last season after winning the Horizon League Tournament largely due to the contributions of the younger McCallum on the court and of his father, Ray McCallum, Sr., on the sidelines. The junior point guard has high expectations this season, as he was named the conference’s preseason Player of the Year.
Predicted Order of Finish