Morrison’s Rankings: Horizon League middle of the pack

Ethan+Morrison+ranks+teams+4-6+in+the+Horizon+League.+Milwaukee+%28left%29%2C+Detroit+Mercy+%28middle%29+and+Robert+Morris+%28right%29

Photo by Horizon League/Colonial Sports Network

Ethan Morrison ranks teams 4-6 in the Horizon League. Milwaukee (left), Detroit Mercy (middle) and Robert Morris (right)

By Ethan Morrison, Assistant Sports Editor

It’s time to begin the countdown. The college basketball season is just one week away, which means this week I am ranking the middle of the pack teams in the Horizon League. Before we get into that, let’s take a look back at the teams that already have a spot on the ranking board.

Two weeks ago I previewed the bottom three teams in the Horizon League, and then last week I previewed team’s seven through nine. Now, we will dive into teams 4-6.

6. Robert Morris

2020-21 record: (4-15, 3-12 Horizon League), Finished 12th in the Horizon League. Fell to Detroit Mercy 83-73 in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament

Top non-conference games

  1. November 12 @ #10 Kentucky (Kentucky Classic)
  2. November 15 @ Ohio (Kentucky Classic)
  3. November 27 @ Davidson

Key Additions

  1. Justin Winston – Jr. Forward (St. Bonaventure)
  2. Rasheem Dunn – Grad. Guard (St. Johns)
  3. Jaron Williams – Sr. Forward (UT Martin)

Notable Subtractions

1. AJ Bramah (Nevada)

Players to Watch

  1. Justin Winston, Last Season @ St. Bonaventure: 8.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG
  2. Kahliel Spear, Last Season: 9.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG
  3. Rasheem Dunn, Last Season @ St. Johns: 10.8 PPG, 3.7 PPG

The Outlook

After a rough showing in their first season in the Horizon League, the team who was projected to finish fourth in the preseason poll struggled in the COVID-shortened season, finishing in last place in the conference.

After 10 players tested the waters or entered the transfer portal, many thought that Robert Morris would be down for the count once again. As he has done time and time again, Andy Toole said “not so fast” as he picked up multiple players from the transfer portal that have significant experience at the Division I collegiate level.

Adding size was a priority for the Colonials, and they did just that during the offseason, adding Mattia Acunzo, Brandon Stone (who transferred into the program in November 2020) and Justin Winston, who transferred into the program in January 2021.

The Colonials look to take the next step forward in their journey in the Horizon League this season with a revamped roster.

5. Detroit Mercy

2020-21 record: (12-10 Overall, 10-6 Horizon League), Finished in 5th, Fell to Northern Kentucky 70-69 in the Horizon League Quarterfinals

Top non-conference games

  1. November 13 @ Toledo
  2. November 17 @ Mississippi State
  3. November 20 @ Louisville

Key additions

  1. Jordan Phillips – Sr. Guard (UT Arlington)
  2. Kevin McAdoo – Grad. Guard (Bradley)

Notable Subtractions

None

Players to Watch

  1. Antoine Davis – Sr. Guard Last Season: 24.0 PPG
  2. Noah Waterman – Jr. G/F, Last Season: 11.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG

The Outlook

After an impressive season last year, the Titans are poised to once again compete at a high level and finish towards the upper echelon of the Horizon League standings.

Antoine Davis returns for his senior season after putting up gaudy numbers once again and averages just under 26 points per game in his three previous seasons at Detroit Mercy.

The Titans also return Noah Waterman, a combo guard who transferred into the program last season from Niagara.

By adding some depth pieces at the guard position in the likes of Jordan Phillips and Kevin McAdoo, the Titans are well on their way to making some noise not only in the regular season but also when March comes around.

4. Milwaukee

Top non-conference games

  1. November 18 @ Florida
  2. December 10 @ Colorado
  3. December 13 vs. Rhode Island

Key additions

  1. Patrick Baldwin Jr. – Fr. Forward
  2. Moses Bol – Grad. Center

Notable Subtractions

  1. Te’Jon Lucas (BYU)

Players to Watch

  1. Patrick Baldwin Jr. – Fr. Forward (ESPN #4 recruit in the 2021 Class)
  2. DeAndre Gholston – Jr. Guard last season 16.9 PPG 5.2 RPG

The Outlook

After losing one of the main contributors to the Panthers offense in Te’Jon Lucas, who transferred to BYU, Milwaukee was looking to find the missing piece. They did just that by landing one of the nation’s top recruits in Patrick Baldwin Jr. over the summer.

Now if you have lived under a rock and don’t know who Patrick Baldwin Jr. is, he is head coach Patrick Baldwin’s son. This immediately gave the Panthers a boost after losing one of their leading scorers in Lucas.

Now that Milwaukee has one of the nation’s top recruits in their hands they look to make noise and march and try to knock off the top dogs in the conference.

If the Panthers utilize the players around PBJ and those players perform up to their potential Milwaukee will have no problem competing late in the year, but if they rely to heavily on PBJ, the team will most likely falter.

Stay tuned to Colonial Sports Network as I round out the rankings next week.