Horizon League expansion

Robert Morris a natural fit for current Horizon League

It’s been no secret that the Horizon League has been looking to expand to at least 12-teams for several years and that will finally be the case this upcoming season.

So it is no surprise that Robert Morris University will officially join the conference on July 1st giving the league 12-teams, joining Purdue Fort Wayne who will also officially be leaving the Summit League and joining the Horizon on July 1st.

The Colonials have been mentioned as a potential Horizon League program since at least 2012 when Butler left the conference for the Atlantic 10 and eventually the Big East. Since then the conference has also seen Loyola and Valparaiso leave for the Missouri Valley Conference but has added successful basketball programs in Oakland and Northern Kentucky.

Looking at their history, Robert Morris will be another successful basketball program for the league. The Colonials have qualified for the NCAA Tournament nine times since 1982, four of which have come since 2009. RMU won the NEC tournament this past season before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the NCAA Tournament.

And while it’s not the “built for at-large” addition that Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone was looking to add in years past, it is a refreshing change compared to the previous two puzzling additions of IUPUI and Purdue Fort Wayne. Those two moves added little to the league as far as men’s basketball history, financial support, program potential, or fan support and appear to only have been added due to their location in the geographic footprint and the league’s desire to get to 12-teams to ease men’s basketball non-conference scheduling concerns.

Robert Morris, on the other hand, is a very intriguing add. Besides being in the footprint only about an hour’s drive away from Youngstown State in suburban Pittsburgh, their men’s basketball program has had recent success (although in a lower-ranked league) and likely will be competitive immediately, is well funded, and has incredible potential with the recent completion of the brand new UPMC Events Center, a 4,000-seat on-campus arena.

A look at how RMU stacks up compared to other Horizon League teams:

 

Men’s basketball spending:

School

Men’s Basketball Overall Athletics Men’s Basketball %

WSU

$3,330,147 $12,370,379 26.9%
UDM $3,276,678 $13,617,427

24.1%

RMU

$2,661,978 $18,578,176* 14.3%
UWM $2,588,033 $13,774,505

18.8%

NKU

$2,470,374 $12,795,351 19.3%
UIC $2,248,503 $17,340,964

13.0%

CSU

$2,140,282 $13,400,944 16.0%

OAK

$1,940,265 $13,986,728

13.9%

IUPUI $1,928,860 $10,889,513

17.7%

GB

$1,874,827 $9,494,870 19.7%
PFW $1,700,944 $12,010,658

14.2%

YSU $1,555,175 $16,206,122**

9.6%

*=Includes scholarship football and hockey
** = Includes scholarship football
Source: US Dept of Education

 

KenPom ranking history

(Turn horizontal to view full table if on a mobile device)

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 AVG LAST 10
WSU 111 214 122 133 243 146 164 133 117 133 151.6
OAK 56 149 200 194 167 79 103 175 187 239 154.9
GB 158 175 126 71 71 127 190 263 185 223 158.9
NKU x x 244 311 246 255 138 90 96 144 190.5
PFW 176 272 243 146 172 135 153 165 192 261 191.5
CSU 68 80 260 85 89 290 242 300 278 313 200.5
UDM 131 115 77 195 182 173 302 319 233 306 203.3
RMU 152 123 142 173 184 303 266 253 269 207 207.2
UWM 138 144 301 168 211 114 259 196 296 271 209.8
UIC 254 282 183 275 282 335 238 182 196 204 243.1
YSU 252 165 191 186 273 282 282 322 259 232 244.4
IUPUI 122 202 333 330 280 207 198 284 191 328 247.5
Bold italics = Not in Horizon League

 

Average per game attendance:

School

2018 2019 2020

3-Year Avg

WSU

4,304 4,145 4,154 4,201
NKU 4,135 3,292 3,559

3,662

OAK

3,164 3,017 3,203 3,128
YSU 2,994 2,465 2,318

2,592

GB

2,475 2,107 1,971 2,184
RMU 766* 965* 1,770

1,167

UIC

2,031 2,037 1,715 1,928
CSU 1,148 996 1,501

1,215

UDM

1,241 1,864 1,437 1,514
UWM 1,517 1,514 1,432

1,488

IUPUI

1,057 1,345 1,205 1,202
PFW 1,404 1,369 1,109

1,294

*=Games played at temporary venue while new arena being built

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s