Wright State (19-8, 12-2 Horizon League)
RPI: 85 (kenpom.com)
Strength of Schedule: 185 (overall), 217 (non-conference)
Games last week: W 76-50 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, W 74-64 @ Illinois-Chicago, W 77-65 vs. then-#9 Butler
When looking at the RPI and SOS numbers for the Wright State Raiders, there isn’t much for fans of “bubble” teams to worry about in terms of competition for an at-large bid. However, their home win over Butler on Saturday (their seventh straight win overall) served notice to those who dismissed the Horizon League as “Butler and those other guys” that the Bulldogs won’t have a cakewalk to the league’s automatic bid. The Raiders, led by first-year head coach Brad Brownell, have one of the best guards in the Horizon in Dashaun Wood, a 5’11” senior currently averaging 19.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per outing. In their win over Butler on Saturday Wood went for thirty, twenty-three of which came in the second half. Wood also played good defense in the win, holding Graves to ten points on 3-for-16 shooting from the field.
That Coach Brownell was able to turn around a team that went 13-15 last season shouldn’t be a surprise when you see that he went 83-40 in four seasons at UNC Wilmington. But for the Raiders to be leading the Horizon at this point in the year wasn’t expected by the “experts” that picked this team to finish fifth in the league in the preseason poll (it should be noted that these same “experts” voted Butler sixth). With the quarters and semis of the Horizon League Tournament being played on the court of the league’s top seed, this week goes a long way in helping the Raiders get a home-court advantage.
Honorable Mention: Boston College (wins over Miami and Florida State put the Eagles all alone atop the ACC), Xavier (whippings of St. Louis and George Washington vaulted the Musketeers into a first-place tie in the Atlantic 10 with Rhode Island), Vermont (winners of seven straight, the Catamounts have a two-game lead in the loss column in America East), Southern Illinois (home wins over Bradley and Creighton put the Salukis in first place in the MVC), San Diego State (followed home win over Air Force with a win at Colorado State; Steve Fisher’s Aztecs may be getting hot at the right time of the season).
Last Week: North Carolina State