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Our favorites, sleepers, and dark horses in the 2021 Horizon League Conference basketball tournament

We take a look at one favorite, one sleeper and one dark horse candidate to win it all in the 2021 Horizon League Conference men's basketball tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Wright State vs Tennessee
Wright State Raiders cheerleaders perform during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at American Airlines Center.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It will be just a one-bid league in this chaotic season of 2021, but the Horizon League has often punched above its weight in the NCAA Tournament previous seasons. From 1995 to 2011, the H-League sent seven at-large teams to The Big Dance, and won 22 games in total over that same span.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the best teams in each conference, and providing picks and predictions for each conference tournament. Plenty of favorites will win, but we’ve got some sleepers to consider that might be able to pull off a big upset on the way to the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s the bracket for the Horizon League Conference Tournament with TV listings, dates and times.

Favorite: Cleveland State

The Vikings haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2009, and are more famous for being on the wrong end of a legendary Jerry Tarkanian quote than for anything they’ve done on the court. But this year CSU might have lost three games to in-state opponents to open the season, but one of them was Ohio State who only beat them 67-61 in Columbus.

Senior guard Torrey Patton is a candidate for league player of the year, and brings 14.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg to his team. You can’t go wrong with a senior guard that can score.

Sleeper: Detroit Mercy

They can score, and sometimes that’s all you need to do. The Titans have won 10 of 12, and their two losses to top-seeded Wright State opened the conference season. They’ve improved since, and with an eFG of 54.1%, and by making 38.3% of their three-pointers, if it starts falling they can very much be in the dance. 6’7 senior Bul Kuol will need to get hot if there’s any chance to advance here.

Dark Horse: Youngstown State

The Penguins have won six of their last seven, and they do two things that lead to postseason success: They don’t turn it over (16.4% of possessions are giveaways), and they can get offensive rebounds by recovering 33.4% of misses. Senior Naz Bohannon is undersized in the frontcourt at 6’6, but if they can score early they can find a way to win.