Valpo Shoots For Outright Mid-Con Title Tuesday Against Chicago State
Monday, March 1, 2004
VALPO (14-12, 10-5) vs. CHICAGO STATE (11-18, 9-6

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

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Andrew Stem announcing. WEFM will not air game live, but will produce live updates and air a taped version of the conclusion and post-game.

TV: none

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 519-318 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 250-196 in his 15th season. Chicago State is led by Kevin Jones, who has a career mark of 11-30 in his 2nd season and a record at IPFW of 11-30 in his 2nd season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 23-1
LAST MEETING: Feb. 7, 2004 - Valpo won 79-68 in Chicago.

LAST GAME: Valpo defeated IPFW 83-61 on Saturday in Valparaiso. Chicago State defeated Centenary 68-54 on Saturday in Chicago.

NEXT UP: Valpo plays a quarterfinal game on Sunday in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament in Kansas City.

On Tuesday, Valpo (14-12, 10-5) can capture the outright Mid-Continent Conference regular season championship with a victory over Chicago State (11-18, 9-6). The Crusaders, who have already claimed a share of their 9th Mid-Con regular season title, can secure the #1 seed in next week's Mid-Con Tournament with a win over the Cougars. If Chicago State wins, it will force a five-way tie for the regular season title (with IUPUI, Centenary and Oral Roberts). The result of Tuesday's game will determine the seeding for six of the eight teams in the Mid-Con Tourney.

MID-CON TOURNEY IS NEXT: The Mid-Con Tournament will be played Sunday-Tuesday, March 7-9 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. The four quarterfinal games will be played on Sunday at noon, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The semifinals will be Monday at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Net. The championship will be Tuesday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The tournament champion will claim an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Valpo, which has won seven tournament titles, has appeared in nine straight Mid-Con Tournament Championship Games.

GOMES NEARING 1,000-POINT MILESTONE: Kikas Gomes is approaching the 1,000-point milestone in his three-plus years career. The senior from Angola, who averages 12.5 ppg., has scored 973 points. Gomes is also climbing Valpo's all-time blocked shots list, ranking 3rd with 108. With 668 career rebounds, Gomes stands 8th on Valpo's all-time list and needs 14 to move into 7th. He leads the Mid-Con in blocked shots (1.96 pg., 51 in 26 games) and stands 2nd in rebounding (9.1 pg.) through March 2. Gomes, who has 12 double-doubles on the season, has blocked 29 shots over the last 13 games.

DREW WINS 250th AT VALPO: With Saturday's victory over IPFW, Homer Drew won his 250th game as Valpo's head coach. Now in his 15th season with the Crusaders, Drew owns a 250-196 record, including eight Mid-Con regular season titles, seven tournament titles and six NCAA Tournament appearances.

DAN OPPLAND CONTINUES STELLAR PLAY: Sophomore Dan Oppland, who has demonstrated consistency all season, has been particularly red-hot in recent games. Over the last eight games, Oppland has averaged 16.8 ppg., scoring a career-high 23 points vs. Chicago State and 22 each against Western Illinois and Centenary. The 6'8" forward, who leads the team in scoring (15.3 ppg.), has tallied double-figure points in 24 of the 26 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds five times. He has been impressive in Mid-Con games, averaging 16.9 ppg. and shooting .559 from the field. Oppland stands 2nd overall in the Mid-Con in offensive rebounding (3.20 pg.), 4th in field goal percentage (.535), 6th in rebounding (7.0 pg.), 8th in free throw percentage (.772) and 9th in scoring.

BERDIEL 14th NATIONALLY IN ASSISTS: Ali Berdiel ranks 14th in the nation in assists (6.0 pg.) through Feb. 23. The junior has vaulted up Valpo's all-time charts in assists and steals. Berdiel ranks 4th in assists with 361 and 9th in steals with 135. This season, Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists and 3rd in steals (1.80 pg.).