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Horizon vs. MAC hoops matchups make sense

Type in Horizon League Summit League in any search engine, then scroll down slightly on your smartphone.

Under people also ask, it says, “Is the Horizon League Division I? Is the Summit League d1?”

The same could be said for Youngstown State. I’ve heard enough people being surprised that YSU was Division I in athletics.

So, why in the heck would the Horizon League be in cahoots with the Summit League, the former Mid-Continent Conference, for a three-year deal to play one another’s teams in men’s basketball starting in 2020?

I originally saw this in early March when it was released. Didn’t think much of it then, until I ran across a tweet from Keith P. Jason (@KeithPJason):

“Dear @HorizonLeague and @MACSports officials, can we please see a MAC vs. Horizon league basketball showcase during the non-conference season? Five or six teams from each conference. Two games for each squad over a weekend at @LCArena-Detroit (Little Caesars Arena) or @EMUAthletics (Eastern Michigan) or @detroittitans (Detroit Mercy)?”

Before I rant, and I will, let me give you the players: Horizon League (YSU, Cleveland State, Wright State, Northern Kentucky, Oakland, Detroit Mercy, IUPUI, UIC, Milwaukee, Green Bay) and Summit League (Denver, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Nebraska-Omaha, Oral Roberts, IPFW, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Western Illinois).

Here’s the potential wild card, the Mid-American Conference (Kent State, Akron, Bowling Green, Toledo, Miami of Ohio, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Buffalo).

I’m sure seven of the Horizon League men’s basketball teams — YSU, Cleveland State, Wright State, IUPUI, Northern Kentucky, Oakland and Detroit — are more than in favor of Jason’s tweet. I know I sure as heck am.

The current Summit League-Horizon League proposal makes no sense.

We’ve been “assured” the two leagues’ officials will work to fit three criteria for matchups starting in June 2020 and going forward for the following two years. Games are to be on campus sites in mid-November each of those years.

The criteria are team rankings, three-year RPI/NET average and Ken Pom Adjusted Efficiency Rating. Fine, but you’re talking about games no one cares to see.

I’m sure people are clamoring to see a North Dakota-Wright State or Cleveland State-IPFW (Fort Wayne, Indiana) or YSU-North Dakota State matchups. The last one would be if it was a football game, not basketball. Crickets.

How about YSU-Ohio, Cleveland State-Bowling Green, Wright State-Miami of Ohio. There are some matchups which would excite fans from both the MAC and Horizon leagues. Challenge yourself Horizon League officials. Don’t match up with another also-ran league. You are better than that. Prove it.

One of the main reasons YSU joined the Horizon League was trips to Southern Utah, Kansas City (Missouri) and Oral Roberts (Tulsa, Oklahoma) were a strain on the travel budget. Former YSU women’s basketball coach Ed DiGregorio called in the Trans-Continental Conference. There’s Denver (as in Colorado) and Nebraska-Omaha in the Summit League. Have we learned nothing?

Playing MAC teams make more sense for a bulk of the Horizon League teams and eases the travel budgets. Think about it.

YSU at Denver, Oral Roberts or Omaha, that works out well … for no one.

The Penguins already play Kent State or Akron every year in the Northeast Ohio Coaches for Cancer Classic. Adding more MAC teams to the schedule, not Summit League teams, make sense for not only the Penguins, but the entire Horizon League.

According to the April 9 RPI Rankings, the MAC is ninth, while the Summit is 27th. The Horizon is 22nd.

Break the contract with the Summit and get a deal done with the MAC. It just makes sense.

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