#3 VALPO (15-15, 10-6) vs. #6 CHICAGO STATE (8-18, 7-9)
WHEN: Sunday, March 6 - 8:30 p.m. CT
WHERE: John Q. Hammons Arena at the UMAC,
RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Andy Viano announcing.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 538-334 in his 28th season and a record at Valpo of 269-212 in his 16th season. Chicago State is led by Kevin Jones, who has a career mark of 20-50 in his 3rd season and a record at CSU of 20-50 in his 3rd season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 26-1
2005 MEETINGS: Valpo leads 2-0
Jan. 20 - Valpo won 77-67 in Chicago
Feb. 7 - Valpo won 76-69 in Valparaiso
VALPO vs. CHICAGO STATE IN MID-CON TOURNAMENT: Valpo owns a 5-0 record against Chicago State in the Mid-Con Tournament. All quarterfinal games, the Crusaders defeated the Cougars in 2003 (82-62), 2002 (81-50), 2001 (84-72), 1999 (81-43) and 1996 (118-83). Sunday's game marks the first time Valpo (#3 seed) has played Chicago State (#6 seed) when the Crusaders were not the #1 seed.
Valpo, the 3rd seed, opens its defense of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title on Sunday by opposing 6th seed Chicago State at 8:30 p.m. at Tulsa's John Q. Hammons Arena.
The Crusaders (15-15, 10-6) defeated the Cougars in both meetings this season. Valpo won 77-67 at Chicago State on Jan. 20 as Dan Oppland scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. On Feb. 7 in Valparaiso, the Crusaders won 76-69, led by Ron Howard's 21 points and eight boards.
NEXT UP IN THE MID-CON TOURNEY: The winner of the Valpo-Chicago State game will play the winner of Saturday's 8:30 p.m. UMKC-Oakland quarterfinal on Monday at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The Oral Roberts-Southern Utah winner (Sat., 6 p.m.) will oppose the IUPUI-Western Illinois winner (Sun., 6 p.m.) on Monday at 6 p.m. The championship is Tuesday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
VALPO 8-TIME TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: Valpo has captured eight Mid-Con Tournament titles - all in the last 10 years. The Crusaders have appeared in 10 straight conference tournament championship games - the only school in the nation to accomplish this feat during this span.
VALPO RANKS 3rd NATIONALLY IN 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Valpo ranks 3rd in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage through games of Feb. 28. The Crusaders, who led the nation for three straight weeks, own a 41.7 percentage. Oklahoma State owns the top spot, shooting 43.2 percent. Samford ranks 2nd (42.4).
OPPLAND MAINTAINS CONSISTENCY: Dan Oppland, who earned First Team All-Mid-Continent Conference and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team honors, ranks 3rd in the Mid-Con and 41st nationally in scoring with 18.6 ppg. The 6'8" junior has scored 1,187 points. In addition to scoring in double figures in 27 of the 30 games, Oppland is averaging 20.1 ppg. in Mid-Con games (ranks tied for 3rd). Overall, he also stands 3rd in the league in free throw percentage (.768) and 8th in field goal percentage (.523).
HOWARD MAKING AN IMPACT: Junior Ron Howard, who earned Second Team All-Mid-Con honors, 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 assists (8th, 3.7) and free throw % (6th, .750). Howard averages 16.6 ppg. in Mid-Con games, ranking 8th.
VALPO'S CHAMPIONSHIP DECADE: Valpo lives in elite company when it comes to conference championships. By winning either or both the Mid-Con regular season or tournament championships in each of the last 10 years, Valpo trails only Kentucky (11) for the longest title stretch in the nation during that span.
CHAMPIONSHIP RUN NATION'S BEST: By winning or sharing nine of the last 11 Mid-Con regular season titles, Valpo has won the most regular season championships of any school in the nation during that span.
20 WINS FOR 9 OF LAST 11: Entering the 2004-05 season, the Crusaders have won 20-or-more games in nine of the last 11 seasons. Since 1993-94, Valpo has compiled a 252-121 record - a .676 winning percentage.
NCAA REGULARS: Valpo's entry into the NCAA Tournament has been a habit since 1996. The Crusaders have appeared in seven Big Dances (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004), including advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1998.
OPPLAND NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA THIRD TEAM: Valparaiso University's Dan Oppland was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team by the nation's sports information directors. Oppland previously earned Academic All-District V honors, an accolade he also achieved as a sophomore. Five players each were named to the Academic All-America First, Second and Third teams. A junior forward from St. Louis, Mo./Whitfield, Oppland has earned a 3.490 cumulative grade point average in physical education/sports management.
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 (28), freshman Shawn Huff (5), sophomore Kenny Harris (10), freshman Jarryd Loyd (4) and sophomore Jimmie Miles (5) have missed a total of 52 games due to injuries. Berdiel is out of action indefinitely. Valpo has played with eight scholarship players in nine games this season.
COLCLASURE 4th IN MID-CON IN 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Seth Colclasure stands 4th in the Mid-Continent Conference in 3-point percentage. Colclasure owns a .457 mark, making 64 of 140 from beyond the arc.