Valpo Hosts Northwestern State Thursday in Opener of Las Vegas Holiday Classic
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

WHEN: Thursday, December 16 - 7:05 p.m. CT

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

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

TV: Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis announcing. Airs Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 2 p.m..

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 524-324 in his 28th season and a record at Valpo of 255-202 in his 16th season. Northwestern State is led by Mike McConathy, who has a career mark of 71-85 in his 6th season and a record at NSU of 71-85 in his 6th season.

SERIES RECORD: First Meeting

After earning its first victory of the season against previously-undefeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday, Valpo hosts Northwestern State (La.) Thursday in the opening game of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. The Holiday Classic is a four-game event, in which the first two games are played at host sites with the final two contests played in Las Vegas Dec. 30-31 at Valley High School. The Crusaders travel to oppose #1-ranked Illinois on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. in the second game of the Holiday Classic.

Following Christmas, Valpo journeys to Tempe to play in the Arizona State Hoops Classic Dec. 28-29. The Crusaders play Penn State on the first day and will be matched up with either Arizona State or Long Island on the second day. Immediately after the game on Dec. 29, Valpo will travel to Las Vegas and will face Northern Iowa on Dec. 30 at 9 p.m. PT and Longwood on Dec. 31 at 11 a.m. PT to conclude the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.

OPPLAND NAMED MID-CON CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dan Oppland was selected as the Mid-Continent Conference Co-Player of the Week. A junior from St. Louis, Mo./Whitfield, Oppland averaged 22.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in two games last week. Last Thursday, Oppland scored 25 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds in an overtime loss at Indiana State. His 10-foot jumper as time expired sent the contest into overtime. In Valpo's 72-71 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday, Oppland netted a game-high 20 points and added seven rebounds.

VALPO's SCHEDULE: 5th TOUGHEST IN THE NATION: According to the Sagarin Ratings through games of Dec. 14, Valpo's schedule is the 5th most difficult in the nation.

MILES LEADS MID-CON IN FREE THROW %; OPPLAND STANDS 2nd: Sophomore Jimmie Miles leads the Mid-Continent Conference in free throw percentage through games of Dec. 14. Miles has converted .913 of his charity tosses (21-23). Dan Oppland stands 2nd with an .854 mark (35-41). As a team, Valpo is 14th nationally in free throw % (.771).