Green Bay (15-14) at Youngstown State (15-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 28th, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,500) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Green Bay 12-2, YSU 9-4. Away Record: Green Bay 3-12, YSU 6-10. Neutral Record: Green Bay 0-0, YSU 0-0. Conference Record: Green Bay 10-8, YSU 10-8. Series Record: Green Bay leads, 24-7.
GAME NOTES: The sixth-seeded Youngstown State Penguins will host the seventh- seeded Green Bay Phoenix at the Beeghly Center this evening in first-round action of the 2012 Horizon League Tournament.
Green Bay finished its campaign on a high note, winning five in a row and eight of its last 10 games overall. The hot streak lifted the Phoenix to a winning record (15-14) and a 10-8 conference mark. They lost homecourt advantage in this matchup by losing the tie-breaker to Youngstown State, which is unfortunate for the Phoenix as they have won just three of 15 road games this season.
Youngstown State owns the exact same records as Green Bay (15-14, 10-8), but since the teams split the season series this year, YSU earned the higher seed by winning the tie-breaker, which in this scenario was its record against Detroit, which it went 1-1 against, while Green Bay lost both of its matchups to the Titans. The Penguins have backed their way into this position however by losing three of their last four games.
Green Bay owns a commanding 24-7 advantage over Youngstown State in the all- time series, which includes wins in six of the last seven matchups.
During its current run of success, Green Bay has been able to win in a variety of different ways, including low-scoring affairs against Wright State (53-48) and Eastern Michigan (54-49), as well as in hot-shooting affairs like against Butler (80-68). The Phoenix have been able to stay afloat this season despite allowing more points (65.7 ppg) than they score (64.7 ppg). Green Bay has the luxury of having one of the HL's best centers on its side in Alec Brown, who scores 13.6 ppg while ranking second in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocks (3.1 bpg), the latter ranking him in the top-10 nationally. Keifer Sykes adds 11.2 ppg, 3.3 apg, and 47 percent field goal shooting to the mix. The Phoenix are one of the better rebounding teams in the league, sporting a rebounding margin of +1.2.
Youngstown State has a similar makeup as Green Bay at the defensive end of the court (65.3 ppg), but it possesses a slightly better scoring attack, putting up third-most points per game in the Horizon League (67 ppg). The Penguins continued their strong offensive season against Detroit in the regular-season finale by shooting 46 percent from the field and draining 11 three-pointers, but lost the game by allowing the Titans to connect on a sizzling 56.9 percent from the floor. The Penguins have the league's top scorer in Kendrick Perry (16.8 ppg, 3.9 apg) and his running mate at the guard position, Blake Allen (13.2 ppg, .437 three-point FG percentage), has been highly effective as well. Damian Eargle chips in 10.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg from his spot down low, and he also averages 3.9 bpg, which ranks third nationally. YSU is the most potent three-point shooting team in the league, draining an outstanding 38.2 percent of its long-range shots.
These two teams are very similar in style and the results on the court have been eerily similar as well. As each squad won its home matchup during this year's season series, this game will more than likely come down to that as well, which means good things for Youngstown State as it has won nine of 13 games at the Beeghly Center this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 72, Green Bay 69
02/28 10:49:13 ET