Horizon League Basketball Tournament 2023: Betting odds, picks and predictions

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Youngstown State favored to win 2023 Horizon League Conference Tournament 

The Horizon League Conference Tournament is a weeklong affair, as first-round action begins on the campus of the higher seed on Feb. 28. The winners advance to go on the road for the Mar. 2 Quarterfinals at the higher-seeded campus. The semifinals are Mar. 6 and the championship game is Mar. 7 at a neutral site in Indianapolis.

 

All 11 teams qualify for the conference tournament, but the four top seeds are a good bit better than the rest of the league.

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How to Watch the Horizon League Conference Tournament

When: February 28, March 2, March 6-7

Where: Campus sites; semifinals/finals at Indiana Farmers Coliseum

Format: Top-five seeds get bye to Quarterfinals

Watch: ESPN+, ESPNU, ESPN2; Championship Game on ESPN/ESPN2 on Mar. 7 at 7 p.m. ET

Horizon League Conference Tournament Seeds, Teams and Odds

  1. Youngstown State (+180)
  2. Milwaukee (+1000)
  3. Cleveland State (+330)
  4. Northern Kentucky (+330)
  5. Oakland (+5000)
  6. Robert Morris (+2500)
  7. Wright State (+750)
  8. Detroit Mercy (+1800)
  9. Purdue Fort Wayne (+7500)
  10.  IUPUI (+50000)
  11. Green Bay (+50000)

Favorite To Win Horizon League Conference Tournament

Youngstown State has never punched a ticket to the Big Dance, but that could change this season. The Penguins are easily the highest-rated team in the conference per KenPom and Bart Torvik, as Jerrod Calhoun’s team boasts a top-50 adjusted offensive efficiency. Given the strength of schedule, that is thoroughly impressive, as this group ranks in the top 30 in 2P% and 3P%.

No. 4 seed Wright State won last year, as the top two seeds both went down in the semifinals, so we sometimes see chaos. The No. 1 seed has only won once since 2015 (Cleveland State, 2021), with the No. 2 seed winning three straight years from 2018-20.

Horizon League Conference Tournament Darkhorse

The gap between the tiers of teams in this conference is usually a lot to overcome. You have to go back to 2014 to find the first team outside the top four seeds to win (No. 5 Milwaukee). If you wanted to look for a value bet, Detroit Mercy is a top-10 offense by 3P% and they could get hot from deep and make a run. The disconnected schedule format could aid high seeds because they would only have to play consecutive days for the semis and finals.

They’re not a “darkhorse” as the No. 3 seed, but Northern Kentucky plays stout defense with one of the highest turnover rates in the nation and one of the slowest tempos. They could make games ugly enough to win and are the second-best team in the conference because of that defense.

Players to Watch in Horizon League Conference Tournament

Youngstown State boasts a balanced offensive attack with four players scoring at least 13 points per game, but Dwayne Cohill leads the way with 17.9 PPG and is also the captain of the ship with 4.9 assists per contest. He’s a 47.1% 3-point shooter, so he is the straw that stirs the drink for the Penguins.

Antoine Davis with Detroit is the coach’s son and the nation’s leading scorer with 27.9 PPG. Nobody else has even scored 24 PPG, so he has a wide lead over Penn’s Jordan Dingle and UAB’s Jordan “Jelly” Walker. Davis is shooting almost 42% from 3 and is also a 90.1% free throw shooter. Teammate Gerald Liddell is a double-double machine with 15 PPG and 9.7 rebounds per contest.

Wright State’s Trey Calvin, Oakland’s Jalen Moore and Northern Kentucky’s Marques Warrick are all north of 19 PPG.

Betting Pick to Win The Horizon League Conference Tournament

There are landmines for all four top seeds here. Youngstown State likely plays Detroit and then Northern Kentucky, who are two very different teams. The Penguins have a terrific offense, but a suspect defense and that scares me against Detroit. Cleveland State lost to Milwaukee twice, but Milwaukee is an overseeded No. 2 because of tiebreakers. The Panthers really aren’t that good, as the odds imply. 

All in all, I think Youngstown State does win it at +180, but the price isn’t great.

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