- Jay Morrison Staff Writer
Wright State set up a final-weekend showdown in the Horizon League by rallying from an eight-point deficit in the second half Monday night to beat Cleveland State 72-63.
The Raiders remain tied for first place with Northern Kentucky, which beat Youngstown State, with two games remaining, while UIC, which beat Detroit Mercy, is just a game back.
And the Flames, the hottest team in the league having won nine of 10, play host to NKU on Friday and Wright State on Sunday.
›› PHOTO GALLERY: See pictures from WSU’s big win against NKU
While the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament is still up for grabs, the Raiders will earn it if they win their final two games.
But the championship could be decided before they step on the court Sunday for the regular season finale.
Wright State (21-8, 13-3 HL) will play at IUPUI at 11 a.m. Friday, and should be settled in at the team hotel room in Chicago by the time the NKU-UIC game begins later that night.
And the by the time it ends, the Raiders could be conference champs.
Wright State would need to win at IUPUI and have the Flames beat the Norse in order for that to happen. That scenario would leave the Raiders with a one-game lead on both teams, and they would own the tiebreaker against each squad.
WSU will win any tiebreaker with NKU by virtue of a season sweep. The Raiders also would own the edge against UIC because if the head-to-head games are split, the next tier of the tiebreaker is how the teams fared against the next highest team in the standings, which in this case would be NKU. And WSU was 2-0, while UIC would be 1-1.
In the event of a three-way tie, the Raiders still win the tiebreaker because they would be 3-1 (2-0 vs. NKU and 1-1 vs. UIC), while the Flames would be 2-2 and the Norse 1-3.
If Wright State wins Friday at IUPUI and NKU wins at UIC later that night, the Flames would be eliminated and everything would come down to Sunday, with the Raiders needing to either win at UIC or have the Norse lose at IUPUI.
The NKU game is at 1 p.m., while Wright State and UIC don’t begin until 6 p.m. So in a scenario where the Raiders and Norse enter the final day tied, WSU will either already be conference champs by tipoff at UIC (if NKU loses at IUPUI) or be in a must-win situation (if NKU beats IUPUI) in order to earn the championship and No. 1 seed.