Cleveland State enters Horizon League play on Saturday at 12-2 overall, including 2-0 in league play after sweeping the first set of Horizon League games in early December.
The Vikings picked up solid wins in the non-conference portion of the schedule including a top-50 RPI win at Vanderbilt and top-100 wins at Kent State and at Robert Morris and home vs. St. Bonaventure. The Vikings also knocked off MAC contender Akron and rounded out the non-conference slate on Wednesday with a win at Toledo to improve to 3-0 against the MAC this season.
On the other hand, the two losses were not-so-good as they came to 6-7 Hofstra in a neutral site game and on the road to 7-7 South Florida.
With the focus now fully on the Horizon League (save the annual ESPN Bracketbuster game in February), the Vikings are in good shape to make a run towards a conference championship thanks to their tough defense and their 2-0 head start on the rest of the league (only Milwaukee remains unbeaten in conference play).
Even with a stingy defense that has propelled CSU to its fast start, the Vikings will need improvement on offense and the continued development of its talented freshman class in order to go dancing in March.
Here are my keys for a Horizon League Championship: