Butler winning the Horizon League didn't seem very likely. The Bulldogs graduated five seniors, but a group of freshmen and one key sophomore stepped up and kept Butler atop the Horizon League.
Sophomore Matt Howard won the league's Player of the Year award, while freshman Gordon Hayward took home the conference's Freshman of the Year accolade.
The team picked to win the league had trouble with Butler the first two times around. Cleveland State knocked off Syracuse in late December with a buzzer-beater, but earlier in the year, the Bulldogs did the same to the Vikings to open league play.
The second time around, Butler again defeated CSU in a tight battle to close the regular season.
But in the conference tournament, Cleveland State got its payback when it mattered most. The Vikings squeaked into the big dance with a three-point victory, giving the Horizon League two bids in the NCAA Tournament.