VALPO (13-12, 9-4) vs. SOUTHERN UTAH (12-12, 5-8)
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 17 - 7:05 p.m. CT
WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana
RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Andrew Stem announcing.
TV: (tape-delay) - Comcast Channel 23 in Valparaiso. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis announcing. Airs Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 536-331 in his 28th season and a record at Valpo of 267-209 in his 16th season. Southern Utah is led by Bill Evans, who has a career mark of 182-186 in his 13th season and a record at Southern Utah of 182-186 in his 13th season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 12-5
LAST MEETING: Jan. 27, 2005 - Valpo won 93-77 in Cedar City, Utah
VALPO M.A.S.H. UNIT: Homer Drew has been forced to juggle a unit that has been besieged with injuries this season. Five players - senior point guard Ali Berdiel (23), freshman Shawn Huff (5), sophomore Kenny Harris (10), freshman Jarryd Loyd (4) and sophomore Jimmie Miles (5) have missed a total of 47 games due to injuries. Berdiel is out of action indefinitely. Valpo has played with eight scholarship players in nine games this season.
COLCLASURE 3rd, HOWARD 4th IN MID-CON IN 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Seth Colclasure stands 3rd and Ron Howard ranks 4th in the Mid-Continent Conference in 3-point percentage. Colclasure owns a .453 mark, while Howard has a .423 3-point percentage.
On Thursday at 7:05 p.m., Valpo hosts Southern Utah in the Crusaders' last Mid-Continent Conference home game of the season. Valpo plays its home finale next Wednesday, Feb. 23 against IPFW beginning at 7:05 p.m. Valpo defeated Southern Utah 93-77 on Jan. 27 in Cedar City, Utah as Dan Oppland scored 27 points, Ron Howard netted 25 and Kenny Harris added 14. On the season, Southern Utah is led by Tim Gainey (14.2 ppg.) and DeAngelo Newsom (12.2 ppg.).
Valpo, winners of six of its last seven, defeated Centenary 61-51 on Monday in Shreveport, La. Oppland and Howard recorded double-doubles with 20 points each and 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Harris netted 14 of his career-high 18 points in the second half. The Crusaders improved their road record in Mid-Con games to 5-1.
MID-CON SEASON HITS STRETCH RUN: As the Mid-Con season winds down, the Crusaders (13-12, 9-4) are attempting to make a run at being one of the top seeds in the Mid-Con Tournament. Currently in 3rd place, Valpo will finish the Mid-Con regular season with road games at Oral Roberts (Feb. 26) and UMKC (Feb. 28) - each of which has two losses and occupy the first and second place spots. The Mid-Con Tournament will be held March 5-8 at the John Q. Hammons Arena in Tulsa, Okla.
VALPO RANKS 4th NATIONALLY IN 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Valpo ranks 4th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage through games of Feb. 14. The Crusaders, who led the nation for three straight weeks, own a 41.7 percentage. Texas Tech has vaulted to the top spot, shooting 43.8 percent. Oklahoma State is 2nd (42.8 and Samford is 3rd (42.0). Southern Utah ranks 5th (4.168)
HOWARD BLANKETS MID-CON CATEGORIES: Junior Ron Howard has elevated his game to a higher level this season. Valpo's second-leading scorer (14.0 ppg.), Howard ranks among the Mid-Con leaders in 3-point field goal percentage (.423), assists (5th, 3.9), free throw % (8th, .752), and assist/turnover ratio (10th, 1.32). Howard averages 18.2 ppg. in Mid-Con games, ranking 5th.
OPPLAND MAINTAINS CONSISTENCY: Dan Oppland ranks 5th in the Mid-Con in scoring with 17.8 ppg. The 6'8" junior reached the 1,000-career point milestone and has scored 1,076 points. In addition to scoring in double figures in 22 of the 25 games, Oppland is averaging 19.0 ppg. in Mid-Continent Conference games (ranks 4th). Overall, he also stands 5th in the league in free throw percentage (.781).