News and Notes

Green Bay alive in title race after weekend sweep

So you’re saying there’s a chance.

Thanks to a sweep of Oakland and Detroit Mercy at the Resch Center this weekend, the Green Bay Phoenix are currently sitting in third place in the Horizon League standings and even have an outside shot of winning the regular season title if they can win out while getting some help.

The Phoenix (8-6) find themselves in a third place tie with UIC and are two games back of co-leaders Northern Kentucky and Wright State (10-4).  Green Bay and UIC are a half game up on Oakland and Youngstown State (8-7) for the final coveted top four seeds at the conference tournament since the top four will host quarterfinal games at their home arenas.

If Green Bay wins its final four games to get to 12-6 they would for sure clinch the #3 seed.  The Phoenix can finish even higher if Northern Kentucky or Wright State (or both!) finish 2-2 or worse in their final four games, meaning they will have to lose at least another game in addition to losing at the Resch Center on the final weekend of the season.

mccloud gb ath

Photo via Green Bay Phoenix Athletics

First things first for Green Bay will be a crucial game against UIC on Friday night in Chicago. Sole possession of third place will be on the line as the Flames will look to avenge a 90-85 loss to the Phoenix back on January 19th at the Resch Center.

UIC had won 5 of their previous 6 games after the loss in Green Bay but fell to a red-hot Youngstown State team their last time out to fall into the third place tie with the Phoenix.

In the previous meeting, the Flames shot a blistering 52.9% from beyond the arc in the first half and led by as much as 10 before the Phoenix made some adjustments and helped cool off the Flames hot shooters.

“They’re playing well,” assistant coach Richard Davis said of UIC after Green Bay’s 82-73 win over Detroit Mercy at the Resch Center on Saturday afternoon. “When they were here they started off fast. They had us running around the first half so they were getting open looks.”

“We weren’t even challenging their looks but we buckled down and we made it a little tougher and when they started shooting those threes they started missing.”

UIC shoots a ton of threes, 727 to be exact so far this season which ranks as the 20th most of out 353 Division I teams. Over 46% of their overall shots from the floor come from behind the three point line and they convert at a decent clip, knocking down 34.5% which ranks in the top third of college basketball.

The Flames struggled to shoot the ball in their last game against YSU, however, making just 26.1% (6/23) of their shots from behind the arc.

For its part, Green Bay is allowing its opponents to shoot 37.6% from behind the arc during conference play which ranks 9th in the league with only IUPUI (39.1%) allowing worse.

“They live and die by the three which I think for us is good because they are a team that is really good at penetration and they don’t do it as often anymore,” Davis told WDUZ radio on Saturday. “If we can get a team to shoot threes and we rebound the ball…then get out and run, we’re good.”

“We should’ve beat them pretty good but we kept on turning it over and had some mental mistakes.”

Friday’s matchup with the Flames tips off at 8:00 PM Central time and will be broadcast to a national TV audience on ESPNU.

Green Bay then travels to Indianapolis for a Sunday afternoon game against IUPUI where they’ll look for revenge after the Jaguars knocked off the Phoenix at the Resch Center earlier this season.  Green Bay is 1-5 all-time against IUPUI including 0-3 since the Jaguars joined the Horizon League last season.

Given the remarkable ups and downs of this season so far, who knows what else this season has in store. With how bunched up the standings are Green Bay could realistically finish anywhere from 3rd to 8th and still actually has a slim shot at a share of the conference regular season title.

But first the Phoenix must overcome its road woes – Green Bay is just 3-11 in true road games this year – starting Friday night in Chicago.

“It’s going to be tough, anytime you’re on the road it’s going to be tough,” Davis said. “UIC, IUPUI, both are tough places to play.”

“We’ve got to focus on the first game on Friday and then take care of business after that.”

 

Current standings (top 8)

 (as of 2/18)

Remaining games

PLACE

TEAM W L 2/21-2/22 2/23-2/24 2/28 3/2

1

NKU

10

4

YSU

CSU

@UWM

@GB

1

WSU

10

4

CSU

YSU

@GB

@UWM

3

GB

8

6

@UIC

@IUPUI

WSU

NKU

3

UIC

8

6

GB

UWM

@OAK

@UDM

5

Oakland

8

7

UDM

UIC

IUPUI

5

YSU

8

7

@NKU

@WSU

CSU

7

UDM

7

8

@OAK

IUPUI

UIC

8 IUPUI 6 8 UWM GB @UDM

@OAK

 

 

 

 

 

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