VALPO (5-8, 1-0) vs. ORAL ROBERTS (10-3, 1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 8 - 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) - WYIN 56. Dick Harlan, Joe Arredondo and Todd Medland (sidelines) announcing. Airs same night at approximately 9 p.m.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 528-327 in his 28th season and a record at Valpo of 259-205 in his 16th season. Oral Roberts is led by Scott Sutton, who has a career mark of 85-74 in his 6th season and a record at ORU of 85-74 in his 6th season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 10-8
LAST MEETING: 2003-04: Valpo won 84-73 on Feb. 12, 2004 in Valparaiso.
BE BOLD, WEAR GOLD ON SATURDAY AGAINST ORAL ROBERTS: Saturday's game against Oral Roberts at 7:05 p.m. will be "Be Bold, Wear Gold Night" at the ARC. All fans in attendance are encouraged to prominently wear gold clothing at the game.
Although the Mid-Continent Conference season is in its early stages, Saturday's matchup between Valpo (5-8, 1-0) and Oral Roberts (10-3, 1-0) could be a key game in determining the race for the regular season championship. Both teams opened their Mid-Con schedules on Tuesday as the Crusaders edged Western Illinois 54-51 in Valpo and Oral Roberts defeated Southern Utah 73-67 in Tulsa. Led by Dan Oppland's 13 points and eight rebounds, four Crusaders tallied double figures against the Leathernecks. Shawn Huff netted 12 points, while Ron Howard and Seth Colclasure added 11 each. Colclasure made three, 3-point baskets. Ken Tutt topped ORU with 22 points, while Caleb Green added 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Thunderbirds. The Golden Eagles, who began the season 8-0, have big wins over Tulsa and Georgetown.
HOWARD DISPLAYS COMPLETE GAME: Ron Howard has displayed all-around skills this season. Over the last five games, Howard has tallied 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
COLCLASURE COMING ON STRONG: Junior Seth Colclasure has enjoyed a successful campaign. Over the last eight games, Colclasure has averaged 11.0 points, including a career-high 16 points in a win over Longwood and 15 points each in victories over Penn State and Northwestern State. He ranks 3rd in the Mid-Con in 3-point field goal percentage, draining .490 (25-51) from beyond the arc.
VALPO's SCHEDULE: 24th TOUGHEST IN THE NATION: According to the Sagarin Ratings through games of Jan.5, Valpo's schedule is the 24th most difficult in the nation.
VALPO M.A.S.H. UNIT: Homer Drew has been forced to juggle a unit that has been besieged with injuries this season. Three players - senior point guard Ali Berdiel (11), freshman Shawn Huff (5), sophomore Kenny Harris (7) and freshmen Jarryd Loyd (4) have missed a total of 27 games due to injuries. Berdiel and Harris are out of action indefinitely. Valpo played with eight scholarship players eight straight games from Dec. 11-Jan. 4.
VALPO 7th NATIONALLY IN FREE THROW%; OPPLAND LEADS MID-CON IN FREE THROW%, RANKS 5th IN SCORING: As a team, Valpo leads the Mid-Con and is 7th nationally in free throw % (.761). Dan Oppland leads the Mid-Continent Conference in free throw percentage through games of Jan. 5. Oppland has converted .845 of his charity tosses (71-84). He stands 5th in scoring (16.3 ppg.) and 9th in rebounding (6.7 pg.). Jimmie Miles is 4th in free throw percentage (.800).