By: Brian Dickmann
Photo via Green Bay Phoenix
Following a week that saw them go a perfect 2-0, the Green Bay Phoenix made a big jump in one mid-major poll, held steady in another, and once again received a vote in the AP Top 25 poll released on Monday.
The Phoenix blew out UIC 78-55 last Tuesday and then toughed out a massively important 51-50 home victory against Valparaiso on Friday night at the Resch Center in front of a large crowd and a national TV audience.
Green Bay jumped up five spots to #5 in the latest Mid-Major Madness Power 15. The rest of the top five are all NCAA locks: Gonzaga, Wichita State, VCU, and Northern Iowa. This is the highest the Phoenix have been in the poll this season so far. The poll includes Atlantic 10 and Conference USA teams.
In the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, the Phoenix remained at #5 again this week. Gonzaga is #1 yet again, followed by Wichita State, Northern Iowa, and Stephen F. Austin. Horizon League expansion candidate Murray State is #6, followed by Valparaiso at #7. Green Bay is 3-0 against teams appearing in the poll, with wins over Valpo, Evansville (#11 in the poll), and Florida Gulf Coast (#21).
The Phoenix also received a vote in this week's AP Top 25 poll when John Feinstein of the Washington Post put Green Bay number 25 on his ballot. He is also the only voter to have Green Bay alum Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers ranked #1 ahead of Kentucky.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Green Bay back in his bracket this week. He also has the Phoenix as a 12 seed playing against the #5 seed Texas Longhorns at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
By: Brian Dickmann
Photo via The Rock River Times
There's no doubt that the Green Bay Phoenix men's basketball team will lose a lot of athleticism with the departure of Keifer Sykes, Greg Mays, and Alfonzo McKinnie after this season.
But the highlight reel type dunks we've become accustomed to appear likely to continue once class of 2015 commitment Antoine Pittman puts on the Green Bay jersey.
The 6' 3" guard from Rockford, Illinois had two impressive dunks in a big win Friday night and followed it up with an 18 point performance the next night to help his Auburn High School team improve to 18-1. This comes on the heels of him hitting a game winning jumper back on January 20th with under 2 seconds left.
The Knights are currently ranked #4 in Illinois and are a serious contender to win both the NIC-10 conference championship as well as a state championship. Auburn has never won an IHSA state title in boys basketball. Last season, they finished 28-6 overall winning the conference title.
Pittman signed his National Letter of Intent on November 12 after verbally committing to Green Bay back in September. He chose the Phoenix over scholarship offers from Nevada, Northern Illinois, Chicago State, SIU-Edwardsville, and Tennessee State.
By: Brian Dickmann
Photo: Lauren Warren
During Green Bay's non-conference slate, the Phoenix fouled opponents 20 times or more in just 4 of their 14 games.
By: Brian Dickmann | 01-12-15
Photo via HorizonLeague.org
According to Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters, the Horizon League will be adding a new member this year.
"They are going to do it this year. Definitely one," Waters recently told Cleveland State Hoops' Tom Mieskoski regarding Horizon League expansion.
This comes on the heels of Cleveland State's athletic director John Parry publicly naming four schools as possible for expansion. According to Bob McDonald from More Than A Fan Cleveland, the four schools are Belmont, Northern Kentucky, Murray State, and Lipscomb. It was the first time an administrator from a conference school has publicly named potential expansion candidates.
Prior to the start of the Cleveland State-Virginia Commonwealth game, CSU athletic director John Parry discussed potential expansion of the Horizon League with radio play-by-play announcer Al Pawlowski. When talking about this, fans of any Horizon League school cross their and hope that they don’t hear a glut of initials (read: IUPUI or IPFW).
Instead, Parry mentioned four schools as possible entries. The first was one already familiar to some in the Horizon League – Belmont. The Bruins already are a conference member in soccer and have agreed to play conference schools in a number of other sports. The idea of becoming a full-time league member would be considered the next natural step.
The second school, Northern Kentucky, has also been discussed in certain circles as well. At the moment, the Norse are sitting in the way station of Division I, the Atlantic Sun Conference, and is in the third year of their transition from Division II. However, since NKU won’t be a full D1 school until July 2016, the Horizon League may hold off until then. Once they clear that hurdle, the Norse have the facilities and access to the Cincinnati media market the conference has been looking for.
Murray State was also mentioned as a potential addition. The Racers could be looking for a competition upgrade from the Ohio Valley Conference the same as Belmont may be, [especially with] their omission from the post-season during the 2012-13 season despite 21 wins and making it to the OVC tournament finals.
Of the four teams mentioned by Parry, perhaps the inclusion of Lipscomb was the biggest head-scratcher. The Bisons have not had the type of success that either Belmont or Murray State has, nor have they set the world on fire in the Atlantic Sun. The only explanation would be to find a travel partner from the cross-town Bruins, should they be invited to the Horizon League.
It will be interesting to see who the league will add. The Horizon League wants to get back to an even number for scheduling purposes, and it is yet to be determined if that number will be 10 or 12.