Pregame Shootaround: Valparaiso looks to clinch outright Horizon League title

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Valparaiso at Cleveland State, 10:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Bryce Drew’s Crusaders could have locked up the outright Horizon League title on Wednesday, but a three-point loss at Detroit scuttled those plans while also opening the door for the teams chasing them. One of those teams is Cleveland State, which is a game back and is 12-2 in home games this season. Valpo’s been the better defensive team this season, and in their 58-56 win over the Vikings January 10 the Crusaders limited Cleveland State to 38 percent shooting. If Cleveland State is to win they’ll need a better showing from guard Trey Lewis, who scored three points on 1-for-9 shooting in the first matchup. Alec Peters led Valpo with 24 points in that game, but they cannot afford to commit another 19 turnovers if they’re to win the rematch.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Iona at Manhattan, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Two weeks after the Gaels won in Riverdale, the two New York metropolitan area rivals meet again in New Rochelle. Iona’s going to be the one-seed in the MAAC tournament regardless of what happens in their final two games, but this is a good opportunity to get Isaiah Williams back into the flow of things. Williams hasn’t played since mid-January due to a broken foot, but he’s expected to play tonight. Get Williams going ahead of the MAAC tournament, and one of the nation’s best offenses becomes even tougher to stop. As for Manhattan, they can finish no higher than third in the MAAC (Rider swept the season series). The key for them is to make shots at a higher clip than they did in the first meeting, as they shot just 39.7% in the 70-67 loss.

FOUR THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. Harvard looks to maintain its one-game lead atop the Ivy League standings, as they’re on the road to take on Cornell (7:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network). Tommy Amaker’s team outscored the Big Red 40-16 in the second half of their first meeting, a 61-40 Harvard win on Valentine’s Day.

2. Yale is a game behind Harvard, meaning that they need to at the very least keep pace with a home win over Princeton (7:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network). The first meeting didn’t lack for offense, as both teams shot at least 52 percent from the field in an 81-73 Yale victory¬†13 days ago, with Yale’s Justin Sears and Princeton’s Henry Caruso scoring 25 points apiece to lead their respective teams.

3. Siena and Quinnipiac (6:00 p.m., ESPNU) meet in a game that will impact seeding for next weekend’s MAAC tournament. The Bobcats are a game ahead of both Siena and Saint Peter’s in the race for the six seed.

4. MAC foes Ohio and Akron meet tonight (8:00 p.m., ESPNU). And while it’s been a difficult season for Ohio, which is just 4-11 in MAC play, Akron still has hopes of earning a share of the MAC East title (although they’ll need a lot of help). The first game these two teams played this season was highly entertaining, as the Bobcats won 83-82. Akron, down ten with 2:21 remaining, nearly came back to steal the win on the road.

THE REST OF THE SCHEDULE

  • Penn at Brown, 7:00 p.m. (ILDN)
  • Fairfield at Canisius, 7:00 p.m.
  • Saint Peter’s at Marist, 7:00 p.m.
  • Dartmouth at Columbia, 8:00 p.m. (ILDN)