VALPO (4-9, 1-3 Mid-Con) at IUPUI (10-4, 3-0 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 15 - 6 p.m. CST (7 p.m. EST)
WHERE: IUPUI Gymnasium, Indianapolis, Indiana
RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Ed Schillinger announcing.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 509-315 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 240-193 in his 15th season. IUPUI is led by Ron Hunter, who has a career mark of 146-128 in his 10th season and a record at IUPUI of 146-128 in his 10th season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 11-2
LAST MEETING: Jan. 5, 2004 - IUPUI won 79-67
LAST GAME: Valpo lost to Oral Roberts 87-81 in overtime on Saturday in Tulsa. IUPUI defeated Oakland 83-79 in overtime on Saturday in Rochester, Michigan.
NEXT UP: Valpo hosts Western Illinois on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
On Thursday in Indianapolis, Valpo will play its second game against IUPUI in a 10-day period. Including Thursday's game, the Crusaders (4-9, 1-3) will have played four of their first five Mid-Con games on the road. Valpo begins a four-game homestand on Saturday against Western Illinois beginning at 7:05 p.m.
In the first meeting against IUPUI (10-4, 3-0) on Jan. 5, the Jaguars defeated the Crusaders 79-67. Dan Oppland and Ali Berdiel led Valpo with 14 points each and Roberto Nieves added 12. Five IUPUI players scored in double figures, led by Akeem Clark's 23. IUPUI, which raced out to a 44-33 halftime lead, drained 7 of 13, 3-pointers in the first half.
BERDIEL ENJOYS CAREER GAME AT ORU: Ali Berdiel's career-high performance against Oral Roberts was almost enough to lift the Crusaders to an overtime upset of the first-place Golden Eagles last Saturday. The junior from Ponce, Puerto Rico scored a personal-best 28 points, which included 20 in the second half and overtime. Berdiel, who also dished out eight assists, made 10 of 16 field goal attempts, including a career-high six 3-pointers (in nine attempts). Through games of Jan. 14, Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists with 5.92 per game (77 in 13 games).
DAN OPPLAND PLAYING AT HIGH LEVEL: Sophomore Dan Oppland has been the model of consistency. The 6'8" forward, who leads the team in scoring (14.7 ppg.), has tallied double-figure points in 12 of 13 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds three times. During last weekend's road trip, Oppland scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds against UMKC and added 18 points and seven rebounds versus Oral Roberts. Oppland stands 4th in the Mid-Con in field goal percentage (.548).
GOMES LEADS MID-CON IN REBOUNDS, BLOCKED SHOTS: Kikas Gomes, who has eight double-doubles on the season, leads the Mid-Con in both rebounding (10.2 pg.) and blocked shots (1.69 pg., 22 in 13 games) through Jan. 14. Against Oral Roberts, Gomes scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
VALPO LEADS MID-CON IN TWO DEFENSIVE CATEGORIES: The Crusaders have played solid defense this season as evidenced by their leadership of two Mid-Con categories. Valpo tops the league in field goal percentage defense (.418) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.303).