Despite a five-game losing streak, Cleveland State still has a chance to move into second place in the Horizon standings and, more importantly, nab a first-round Bye in the conference tournament which begins on Tuesday.
The Vikings have lost five in a row since moving their record to 20-4. Even so, they could set things right by winning their last two, including Thursday’s game against Detroit.
Detroit has an identical 10-6 conference record and an inverted streak: The Titans have won five in a row. So they, too, are within striking distance of a first-round Bye.
The Titans are led by Ray McCallum’s 15.2 points per game, but they are no one-man show. McCallum has shot just 5 of 17 in the last two games and tallied just 15 points total, but Detroit won both anyway, moving its winning streak to five.
In three of their five straight losses, the Vikings failed to crack 50 points, and in the other two – an 86-84 loss to Milwaukee and a 71-67 loss to Green Bay – they failed to play much defense. Green Bay is the most recent setback, and in that one the Phoenix hit 10 of 21 three-pointers and shot 46.6 percent from the floor overall.
All the jockeying for second place could be rendered moot if Butler wins at Valpo on Friday night. That would ensure that those two are the top two seeds and would leave everyone else scrapping for third.
But should the Bulldogs lose – and they definitely might, considering Valpo is No. 1 in the Horizon and 7-1 in conference home games – then Cleveland State could sneak into that two spot.
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