2024 Horizon League Conference Tournament Preview and Best Bets

2024 Horizon League Conference Tournament Preview and Best Bets

The Horizon League has been competitive this season, with only four conference wins separating the top eight teams in the regular season. The stakes are high, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line for the tournament winner. Here are my Horizon League Conference tournament preview, picks, and best bets!

The Horizon League Conference Tournament will tip off Tuesday, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. ET, with the Robert Morris Colonials visiting the Fort Wayne Mastodons. The IUPUI Jaguars will also head to Cleveland State Vikings to kick off round one.

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2024 Horizon League Conference Tournament Preview and Best Bets

The 2024 Horizon League Conference Tournament will last a whole week, with the championship game on Tuesday, March 12. The tournament’s first and second (quarterfinals) rounds will take place on the higher seed’s home court, with the semifinals and championship game being held at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

Last season, it was the No. 4 seeded Northern Kentucky Norse that took down the No. 3 seeded Cleveland State Vikings in a thrilling 63-61 final score at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Repeating won’t be easy for last year’s underdog as they come in as the No. 6 seed in the 2024 tournament.

The Oakland Golden Grizzlies enter the Horizon League tournament as the No. 1 seed, but it’s last year’s No. 1 seed, the Youngstown State Penguins, who enter as the betting favorite for this year’s tournament. Youngstown State, Oakland, and Wright State lead the group of favorites before the odds drop off at the No. 3 seeded Green Bay Phoenix.

Conference Tournament Champion Odds Via DraftKings Sportsbook (Organized by Seed in Tournament)

Oakland Golden Grizzlies +240
Youngstown State Penguins +195
Green Bay Phoenix +950
Wright State Raiders +320
Milwaukee Panthers +2200
Northern Kentucky Norse +1400
Cleveland State Vikings +2000
Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons +1300
Robert Morris Colonials +35000
IUPUI Jaguars +50000
Detroit Mercy Titans +50000

Best Bet to Win Horizon League – Wright State (+320)

The Wright State Raiders enter this tournament as the best field goal percentage (53.09) shooting team in the entire NCAA. They ranked fifth in scoring offense (86.1) and have scored 90 plus points in 13 games this season.

The Raiders are led by star Trey Calvin, who hit the game-winning bucket with 15 seconds left in the 2022 Horizon League Tournament championship game to send Wright State to an NCAA Tournament berth and win in the “first four” game against Bryant.

Wright State is a team that can get hot, and when they do, they are hard to stop. In this close, tight league, a strong case can be made for any of the favorites. The odds are just right for Wright, and a team with high shooting percentages seems to do better in March.

Mid Tier Best Bet to Win Horizon League – Green Bay (+950)

March is made for Cinderella stories, right? Well, there may not be a better Cinderella story than the Green Bay Phoenix if they can pull off a win in the Horizon League Tournament.

The Green Bay Phoenix went just 3-29 in the 2022-2023 basketball season. Fast forward to this season, and the Phoenix went 18-13 overall with a Horizon League record of 13-7, good enough for the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.

Green Bay has already proven this season they can beat all three teams with better odds than them. They took down Oakland 69-59, Youngstown State 84-83, and Wright State 88-81. They are a team that just can’t be counted out, and sitting at great odds, a bet too good to pass up on.

Dark Horse Pick – Northern Kentucky Norse +1400

As a team that’s made the championship game the last two seasons and won it in 2023, Northern Kentucky probably shouldn’t be considered the “dark horse” pick. However, at 14/1 odds to win it all, this team is just too juicy to pass up.

Winning last season and losing on a last-minute shot by one point in 2022 is just about all the case you need to make.

In 2022, when they lost by one point, Northern Kentucky was the No. 3 seed, and last season, they took the tournament down as the No. 4 seed. Neither year they were supposed to be the team that made it there, but they did.

Players change, but their coach has remained at the helm. Darrin Horn has a 96-59 record in his five seasons as the Norse head man.

Northern Kentucky has also proven they can beat the top dogs in the conference. They toppled No. 1 seed Oakland 99-89, No. 3 seed Green Bay 58-57 and 74-52. They also took down the No. 2 Youngstown State Penguins by a score of 79-76 in January.

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