Valpo Entertains 19th-ranked Cincinnati; Crusaders Continue Five-Game Homestand
Monday, December 1, 2003
VALPO (1-2) vs. CINCINNATI (3-0)

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 2 - 7:05 p.m. CST

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

TV: - (tape-delay) - Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Dick Harlan announcing.

RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow announcing.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 506-308 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 237-186 in his 15th season. Cincinnati is led by Bob Huggins, who has a career mark of 520-184 in his 23rd season and a record at UC of 352-112 in his 15th season.

SERIES RECORD: Cincinnati leads 2-1
LAST MEETING: 2002-03 - Cincinnati won 76-50

LAST GAME: Valpo was edged 64-62 by South Florida last Tuesday in Valparaiso. Cincinnati defeated Coppin State 76-56 on Saturday in Cincinnati.

NEXT UP: Valpo hosts Indiana State on Mon., Dec. 8 at 7:05 p.m. CST.

Following an entire week away from game competition, Valpo (1-2) hosts Cincinnati (3-0) in the second of a five-game homestand. The Bearcats are currently ranked 19th in both the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls. Cincinnati is the third straight Conference USA opponent for Valpo, which also played Marquette (Nov. 22) and South Florida (11-25).

The Crusaders dropped a tough 64-62 decision to South Florida last Tuesday. Valpo had an opportunity to tie or win the contest in the final seconds, but a shot rimmed out at the buzzer. Dan Oppland led the Crusaders with 13 points, while freshman Jimmie Miles added 10 off the bench.

CRUSADERS FEATURE BALANCE: Through three games, Valpo has two double-figure scorers and three others who average 8.0 ppg.-or-more per game. Dan Oppland, a 6'8" forward, tops the squad with 14.0 ppg., while 6'4" swingman Roberto Nieves contributes 10.0 ppg. Senior Kikas Gomes adds 9.7 ppg., Miles scores 8.3 ppg. and Seth Colclasure nets 8.0 ppg.

GOMES, OPPLAND CRASH BOARDS: Gomes and sophomore Dan Oppland have made their presence felt on the boards thus far. A 6'8" forward, Gomes tops the Crusaders with 8.7 caroms per contest, while Oppland has grabbed 6.3 rpg.

OVER 1,000 VICTORIES COURTSIDE: Valpo's Homer Drew and Cincinnati's Bob Huggins own 1,026 career victories combined. Drew, in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, has 506 wins. Huggins, in his 23rd collegiate campaign, has 520 victories.

MUTKA HONORED: At halftime of Tuesday's game, John Mutka, who recently retired after 40 years as a sportswriter at The Post-Tribune, will be honored by Valparaiso University.

HOMESTAND CONTINUES: Next Monday, Dec. 8, Valpo will host Indiana State at 7:05 p.m. The five-game homestand finishes with games Wed., Dec. 10 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 7:05 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 13 vs. Loyola at 2:05 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP RUN NATION'S BEST: By winning eight of the last nine Mid-Con regular season titles, Valpo has won the most championships of any school in the nation during that span.

GOMES EARNS PRESEASON HONORS: Kikas Gomes was selected Preseason Second Team All-Mid-Con by the league's Coaches, SIDs and Media. Last season, the 6'8" senior from Angola was accorded honorable mention All-Mid-Con status after averaging 9.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.