Cleveland State has seen an up and down journey throughout the non-conference part of the men's basketball season with an 8-6 record. That part of the slate concluded with a 78-70 win Dec. 28 at Kent State where Sebastian Douglas and Bryn Forbes each tallied a team best 14 points while Douglas also had a career-best seven rebounds.
The close loss at Kentucky and the loss at rival Akron along with a 2-3 record against teams from the Mid-American Conference are all but forgotten tonight in the cold sub-zero temperatures of Green Bay, Wisc., where the Vikings begin Horizon League play against the Phoenix.
The game will be telecast on Horizon.com and ESPN3 while radio coverage is on WHK-AM 1420 with Al Pawlowski. Tipoff from the Resch Center is 8 p.m. EST.
Whether the Vikings can out-shoot the frigid temperatures of the Wisconsin winter will determine the jump start of the conference season that this year will find Butler off to another league and Oakland University in suburban Detroit entering the 9-team loop.
The Vikings, who will start the league season on the road for the fourth time in five years, begin conference play with the usually tough Wisconsin double dip. Cleveland State will stay in the Cheese State with a 2 p.m. Saturday game at Milwaukee. From there the Vikings return home to host a Jan. 8 game against Detroit. That marks the first of three home games in the following four games that takes Cleveland State into mid-January.
This will prove to be an early test for the Vikings, who are 9-24 historically at Green Bay, which was the pre-season league favorite in the Horizon League. The Phoenix, 9-3 overall, are 6-1 at home, losing only to Big Ten member Wisconsin, now rated fourth nationally. Cleveland State, 2-5 on the road including those losses at Kentucky and Akron, was picked in the league behind Green Bay and Wright State.
Despite the 9-24 overall mark against the Phoenix, the Vikings are 8-5 in the last 13 meetings of the two at both CSU's Wolstein Center and Green Bay's Resch Center combined.