Horizon League Tournament 2014: Green Bay is ready for a run

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix won't run away with the Horizon's automatic NCAA berth, but it's theirs to lose.

The Green Bay Phoenix are in prime position to make an NCAA tournament run, already having earned a win this season over Virginia and nearly upsetting Wisconsin back in November. But first things first: Even though the Phoenix could possibly earn an at-large bid to the tournament, winning the Horizon League tournament would ease their minds. Green Bay is 24-5, No. 50 in KenPom.com's team rankings, No. 6 in the Mid-Major Madness Power 15, and has only lost two games in the calendar year 2014.

A Horizon League tournament championship would likely mean another win over the Cleveland State Vikings, No. 76 in KenPom's rankings. Green Bay swept the season series, stealing a 68-54 win at Cleveland State on Feb. 15 to close out the sweep.

Green Bay's Keifer Sykes was named Horizon League Player of the Year. He averaged 20.4 points and 5.0 assists per game. Center Alec Brown, a 7'1 senior, was named the league Defensive Player of the Year. He's currently ranked 33rd nationally with a 9.9 block percentage.

Because the Horizon League has nine teams, No. 1 Green Bay and No. 2 Cleveland State received double byes all the way through to the semifinals, and No. 3 Wright State earned a bye to the quarterfinal round.

First round: Tuesday, March 4 (streaming at HorizonLeague.com)

Game 1: No. 9 Illinois-Chicago Flames at No. 4 Valparaiso Crusaders, 8:05 p.m. ET

Game 2: No. 8 Detroit Titans at No. 5 Milwaukee Panthers, 7 p.m. ET

Game 3: No. 7 Youngstown State Penguins at No. 6 Oakland Golden Grizzlies, 7 p.m. ET

Quarterfinals: Friday, March 7 at Green Bay (Horizon League Network)

Game 4: Game 3 winner vs. No. 3 Wright State Raiders, 7 p.m. ET

Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 9:30 p.m. ET

Semifinals: Saturday, March 8 at Green Bay (ESPNU)

Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. No. 2 Cleveland State Vikings 7 p.m. ET (tape-delayed at 11:30 p.m. ET)

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. No. 1 Green Bay Phoenix, 9:30 p.m. ET

Final: Tuesday, March 11 at highest remaining seed (ESPN)

Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 7 p.m. ET

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