Green Bay favored to win Horizon

Keifer Sykes, the reigning Horizon League Player of the Year, averaged 20.3 points per game. Mary Langenfeld/USA TODAY Sports

2014-15 Horizon Projected Standings

1. Green Bay | 2. Cleveland State | 3. Valparaiso | 4. Wright State | 5. Oakland | 6. Detroit | 7. Milwaukee | 8. Youngstown State | 9. Illinois-Chicago

Milwaukee's improbable run through the conference tournament to the NCAA tournament notwithstanding, Green Bay and Cleveland State were the class of the Horizon League in 2013-14, and there's little reason to think that will change this season. That said, a couple of high-profile departures could be enough to move each team back to the pack a little.

Returning the conference player of the year is a great place to start, and that's exactly where Green Bay finds itself with point guard Keifer Sykes. He might stand just 5-foot-11, but Sykes is huge in every other way. More than three quarters of his shots come from inside the arc, and he's nearly unguardable once he gets into the lane, equally adept at finishing around the rim (nearly 65 percent shooting there last season, according to hoop-math.com), getting to the free throw line (6.5 fouls drawn per 40 minutes, according to kenpom.com) and finding teammates (31 percent assist rate).