What started out slowly continued to pick up steam and for the Cleveland State men's basketball team concluded by winning 10 of 11 games that resulted in a second place finish in the Horizon League behind Green Bay.
The Vikings, who began the year 4-5 and opened Horizon League play with a loss at eventual league champ Green Bay, finished off the regular season with a 63-52 win over host Valparaiso on Saturday behind 11 points each from Trey Lewis and Marlin Mason and another 10 from Ludovic Ndayea to finish the year 21-10 overall and 12-4 in the conference.
That second place finish, clinched with a 70-69 overtime win on Thursday against Youngstown State, allows the Vikings to join tournament hos Green Bay with a double bye into the tourney semi-finals in the frigid Wisconsin city beginning March 4 at campus sites and March 7 at Green Bay.
The tournament starts Tuesday with four first-round games on campus sites. UIC is at Valpo, Detroit travels to Milwaukee with the winners meeting in a second round game at Green Bay March 7 for the right to meet Green Bay on March 8.
In the lower bracket, Oakland hosts Youngstown State with the winner playing March 7 against third seed Wright State. Cleveland State awaits the survivor of that trio with the semi-final at Green Bay on March 8.
The title game is either at Green Bay or the site of the highest seed on March 11.
While the lowest six teams play first round games on ssssss, Green Bay and Cleveland State advance directly to the tourney semi-finals while third place