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Penguin teams start postseason this week

The Youngstown State men’s and women’s basketball team both have worked their way through a difficult regular season — one that included injuries to key players and interruptions and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now both have a chance to gain some redemption as they begin play on Thursday in the Horizon League tournaments. The women (9-7 overall and in the league) will play host to Purdue Fort Wayne (1-21, 1-19) beginning at 5 p.m. The YSU men (14-11, 9-11) will face Illinois-Chicago (9-12, 6-10) starting at 8.

Due to the unbalanced nature of the Horizon League schedule because of COVID-19, the championship was seeded utilizing a formula that considered four factors: league winning percentage, strength of schedule, weighting road wins vs. home wins, and number of league games played.

The YSU men wound up seeded sixth and the women were seventh. Both missed out on a bye into the quarterfinal round and both would have to play a road game should they win on Thursday. The quarterfinal round is scheduled March 2.

The semifinals and finals are scheduled March 8-9 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

There were co-champions in both Horizon League races.

Cleveland State and Wright State claimed a share of the regular-season men’s title on Saturday as the Vikings earned the No. 1 seed, while the Raiders will be the No. 2 seed. Both ended the season with 16-4 league records.

Wright State has earned at least a share of the regular season title in each of the last three seasons, while Cleveland State claimed its first since the 2010-11 campaign.

On the women’s side, Wright State (15-5) and Milwaukee (15-5) are regular season co-champions. The Raiders earned the No. 1 seed while Milwaukee will be the No. 2 seed during the tournament.

Every game of the tournament will be carried on ESPN networks with the first round and quarterfinal games streamed on ESPN+.

The first men’s semifinal game in Indianapolis will be on ESPNU starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on March 8, followed by semifinal No. 2 on ESPN2 at 9:30 p.m. The championship game will broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2 at 7 p.m. on March 9.

The women’s championship game, at noon on March 9, is scheduled to be telecats on ESPNU.

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