NCAA Basketball | Illustrated by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian
After finishing as regular-season champions along with the Cleveland State Vikings, Wright State looked to secure an NCAA bid in the Horizon League Championship.
However, the Raiders were unable to secure the bid. Their quarterfinal match was against the Milwaukee Panthers, a team that the Raiders had beaten twice only weeks earlier.
The Raiders pushed to a 72-48 lead far into the second half, but a 24-point comeback from Milwaukee in the last seven minutes and a 3-pointer in the last few seconds brought the game to overtime.
The Panthers’ momentum was too much to stop, as guard DeAndre Gholston scored 31 points in the game to eliminate the Raiders by one basket, 94-92.
“It’s probably for our players, one of if not the most disappointing losses they’ve ever had. As I would say for me too,” Head Coach Scott Nagy said. “It’s some pain we’ll have to deal with.”
The Panthers would fall to eventual champions Cleveland State in the next round, as the Vikings beat Oakland in the finals to secure a March Madness ticket for the first time in 12 years.
A Possible Spot
With 36 spots up for grabs across the country, it is unlikely that the Raiders will be given a spot. However, The Horizon League has had multiple bids nine times throughout history, and even three teams made the bracket in 1998.
With Wright State’s regular season championship, over 35-point victory against Cleveland State and predictions before the Raiders elimination putting them as a 14 or 13 seed, it is possible that this could be the tenth time that two Horizon League schools make the tournament.
The Raiders have impressive season stats to back them up as well, with the eleventh highest PPG in the Nation, and the least allowed points in the Horizon League.
But, with most lower seeds being reserved for lesser-known conference champions, it is much more likely that the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 will fill in the gaps for this year’s bracket. The Big Ten alone could send eight or more schools into the bracket, with four teams earning a one or two seed.
Cheer on the Vikings
Currently, Cleveland State is the only certain representative from the Horizon League in this year’s bracket, and will most likely be the only one. The Vikings will most likely get a lower 15-13 seed, and face off against either Purdue, Kansas, or Houston.
While the Raiders and Vikings had a rivalry throughout the season, with the teams going 1-1 in the regular season, Cleveland State will be a strong Horizon-League representative in the tournament.
Torrey Patton rightfully earned an All-Tournament MVP for his play in all of Cleveland State’s games, and Tre Gomillion’s defensive play also earned him a spot on this year’s All-Tournament team.
Patton’s almost 400 points throughout the season with other offensive threats like Gomillion, D’Moi Hodge, and Craig Beaudion will bring depth to any opponent they come across.