VALPO (7-10, 3-2) at WESTERN ILLINOIS (5-11, 1-4)
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 22 - 4 p.m. CT
WHERE: Western Hall, Macomb, Illinois
RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Andy Viano announcing.
TV: live - Comcast Sports Net
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 530-329 in his 28th season and a record at Valpo of 261-207 in his 16th season. Western Illinois is led by Derek Thomas, who has a career mark of 8-36 in his 2nd season and a record at WIU of 8-36 in his 2nd season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 29-24
LAST MEETING: Jan. 4, 2005 - Valpo won 54-51 in Valparaiso.
COMCAST SPORTS NET TO TELEVISE SATURDAY'S GAME LIVE: Valpo's road game on Saturday against Western Illinois will be televised live on Comcast Sports Net at 4 p.m. CT. The game time is a change from the original schedule in order to accommodate live television.
After defeating Chicago State on Thursday night, Valpo concludes a two-game road swing on Saturday at Western Illinois beginning at 4 p.m. The game will be televised live on Comcast Sports Net.
The Crusaders (7-10, 3-2) placed four players in double figures in a 77-67 win over the Cougars. Dan Oppland led the way with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Seth Colclasure added 15, Ron Howard netted 14 and Jarryd Loyd scored 10, including eight during a 10-2 run when CSU had pulled within two points with seven minutes left. Valpo had 24 assists on 30 baskets as Colclasure, Howard and Loyd had seven each.
Valpo head coach Homer Drew missed the game due to an illness, but is expected to coach Saturday. Assistant coach Matt Bowen served as interim head coach against Chicago State. Drew missed just his second game in 16 seasons as Valpo's head coach - the other on Jan. 27, 2001 against Oakland when his son and then-associate head coach Scott Drew coached his father's 200th Valpo victory.
VALPO LEADS NATION IN 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Valpo leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage through games of Jan. 17. The Crusaders are currently shooting 43.4 percent from 3-point territory, ranking ahead of #2 Texas Tech (43.3) and #3 Kansas State (43.2). The Crusaders also stand 10th in the nation in free throw percentage (.754).
OPPLAND STAYS HOT: Dan Oppland, who has scored in double figures in 15 straight games, is averaging 21.8 ppg. over the last six games. The 6'8" junior has scored 938 career points.
HOWARD STEPS INTO SCORING ROLE: Ron Howard has proven to be a productive part of a scoring tandem with Dan Oppland. Over the last four games, the 6'5" junior swingman has averaged 19.5 ppg. to complement Oppland's 24.0 ppg. over the same span. Howard, who averages 12.0 ppg. overall, has averaged 5.7 assists over the last three games.
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 (15), freshman Shawn Huff (5), sophomore Kenny Harris (10), freshman Jarryd Loyd (4) and sophomore Jimmie Miles (2) have missed a total of 36 games due to injuries. Berdiel is out of action indefinitely. Miles is not expected to play again Saturday after suffering an injury against Oakland Jan. 10. Valpo has played with eight scholarship players in nine games this season.