Seven games against five 2007 NCAA Tournament participants highlight Valparaiso’s men’s basketball schedule for the 2007-2008 campaign, as released today by head coach Homer Drew. The Crusaders will also play 16 home games at the Athletics-Recreation Center in their first season as a member of the Horizon League.
The season kicks off with a home game November 12 against Grace, the first of four contests the Crusaders will play as part of the South Padre Island Invitational. Valpo will travel to Vanderbilt, an NCAA Sweet 16 team last season, on November 20 for the second game before heading to South Padre Island for the final two games. The Crusaders will take on Maryland Eastern Shore on November 23, with Austin Peay, 2007 Ohio Valley Conference regular season champions, and Florida Gulf Coast facing off on the other side of the pod. The respective winners and losers will meet the next day to conclude play.
The Crusaders will also play at IPFW in between games of the tournament. Valpo returns home November 28, hosting Western Michigan, and will follow with a December 1 home contest against Ball State. The Horizon League slate gets off to an early start, as the Crusaders play at 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Wright State on December 6 and at Detroit two days later.
The Crusaders return home for two more contests, hosting Evansville and Chicago State, before hitting the road for two challenging games. Valpo will play at Big Ten power and 2007 NCAA second round foe Wisconsin on December 22. They follow on December 30 with a game at the Dean Smith Center against North Carolina, which went to the NCAA Elite 8 last year.
Valpo hosts Indiana Wesleyan on January 2 before resuming the double round-robin league schedule January 5 at Butler, the 2007 Horizon League regular season champions and NCAA Sweet 16 participants. The Crusaders will once again be part of the ESPNU BracketBusters event, hosting a game on February 23. The regular season closes out when Valpo hosts Wright State on March 1.
The Horizon League Championship runs from March 4-11, with the top two seeds getting byes into the semifinals. The first round contests will be at the higher seeds, while the second round and semifinal games will be hosted by the top overall seed. The championship game on March 11 will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.
Valpo returns eight players, including its top seven scorers, from last year’s squad. The Crusaders also welcome three newcomers for the 2007-2008 campaign.