Cleveland State’s D’Moi Hodge plays against Ohio State during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
- Cleveland State is a 2.5-point favorite over Oakland in the Horizon League Championship Game on Tuesday (March 9th, 7 pm ET)
- The Vikings needed Triple-OT to get past Purdue Fort Wayne in the quarterfinal, and erased an 11-point second half deficit versus Milwaukee in the semifinal
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
It hasn’t been pretty, but top seed Cleveland State is just a win away from its first Horizon League Championship since 2009. The Vikings outlasted Milwaukee 71-65 in the semifinal to secure a place in the final, and will now meet the third seed Oakland on Tuesday (March 9th) with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Oakland vs Cleveland State Odds
|Oakland Golden Grizzlies||+2.5 (-110)||OFF||Over 138.5 (-110)|
|Cleveland State Vikings||-2.5 (-110)||OFF||Under 138.5 (-110)|
Odds taken March 9th.
CSU opened up as a 2.5-point favorite, in a game that features a total of 138.5. Tip off is scheduled for 7 pm ET at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Vikings swept the season series, winning both games on their home floor. Neither team looked particularly sharp in their tournament opener, as both needed overtime just to make it to the semifinal.
Vikings Fortunate To Make Final
Facing the 10th seed Purdue Fort Wayne in the quarterfinal, The Vikings narrowly avoided a massive upset. Cleveland State couldn’t separate from the Mastodons in regulation, and needed a miracle three-pointer in the second overtime period to keep its season alive.
.@godsplayer2 BANKS IN THE TRIPLE AND WE ARE HEADING TO A THIRD OT!!!
— CSU Basketball (@CSU_MBasketball) March 3, 2021
They finally pulled away in the third overtime, but a slow start in the semifinal nearly buried them against the 8th seed Milwaukee. The Vikings fell behind by as many as 11 points in the second half, but closed the game on a 30-13 run to punch their ticket to the final.
VIKINGS WIN! VIKINGS WIN! VIKINGS WIN!
— CSU Basketball (@CSU_MBasketball) March 9, 2021
Tre Gomillion led the way with 16 points, while leading scorer Torrey Patton racked up 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jayson Woodrich gave Cleveland State a much needed spark off the bench in the second half, splashing 11 points, including three triples.
Like most CSU games, defense was at the forefront, and the team did an excellent job limiting Panther shooters. They held Milwaukee to 39.1% from the field and 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.
The defense will be tested against the Golden Grizzlies, as Oakland enters play having scored at least 82 points in five of its past six outings.
Golden Grizzlies Oust Defending Champs
Like Cleveland State, Oakland struggled to pull away from its quarterfinal opponent Youngstown State, ultimately winning by four. Unlike the Vikings however, the Golden Grizzlies first tournament game was never in serious doubt, as they trailed for less than two minutes combined over the second half and overtime.
— Oakland Basketball (@OaklandMBB) March 3, 2021
In the semifinal versus 4th seed and two-time defending champion Northern Kentucky, Oakland jumped out to a 10-point lead eight minutes in and never looked back. Daniel Oladapo led the Golden Grizzlies to an 11-point victory, by splashing 19 points and grabbing 9 boards. Rashad Williams added 17, while Jalen Moore poured in 14.
— Oakland Basketball (@OaklandMBB) March 9, 2021
They shot 44.8% from the field, and 7-for-19 from beyond the arc, producing 16 assists, while committing just 4 turnovers. This game could have been a complete blowout if Oakland had been efficient at the free throw line, but a 10-for-26 performance at the charity stripe made the final score look respectable.
The Golden Grizzlies held the Norse to 33.3% from the field and 23.3% from three-point range, building a lead as large as 17 at one-point.
As Good as Gold
Cleveland State has been like a cat with nine lives in the Horizon Tournament, somehow avoiding its demise multiple times. Their luck however, won’t last forever. Oakland proved in the semifinal that they’re a complete team, and are a far superior opponent than anyone CSU has played up until this point.
— Oakland Basketball (@OaklandMBB) March 9, 2021
Oddsmakers thought so highly of the Golden Grizzlies last month, that they were favored on the road at Cleveland State in both their meetings. Now, in an underdog role, I like their chances of getting back to NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
Pick: Oakland Golden Grizzlies +2.5 (-110)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.