VALPO (0-0) vs. CINCINNATI (0-0)
WHEN: Friday, November 19 - 8:05 p.m. ET (7:05 p.m. CT)
WHERE: Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Andy Viano announcing.
TV: None (locally)
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 523-319 in his 28th season and a record at Valpo of 254-197 in his 16th season. Cincinnati is led by Bob Huggins, who has a career mark of 542-191 in his 24th season and a record at Cincinnati of 374-119 in his 16th season.
SERIES RECORD: Cincinnati leads 3-1
LAST MEETING: 2003-04 - Cincinnati won 68-49 in Valpo.
Valpo and Cincinnati will square off for the third straight season on Friday in the season opener for both teams. The Crusaders, defending Mid-Continent Conference Champions, hosted the Bearcats last year as Cincinnati won 68-49. Two years ago, UC came away with a home victory (76-50).
During the exhibition season, Valpo finished 2-0, defeating Huntington 73-69 Nov. 6 and Wisconsin-River Falls 78-55 Nov. 13. Cincinnati, co-champions of Conference USA last year, also finished 2-0 in the exhibition season, dominating Northern Kentucky 103-64 Nov. 8 and beating Southern Indiana 82-62 Nov. 13.
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.
BERDIEL, OPPLAND RECEIVE PRESEASON MID-CON HONORS: Ali Berdiel and Dan Oppland were selected to the Preseason Mid-Continent Conference First Team. Berdiel, a senior guard who earned Second Team All-Mid-Con honors last season, finished second in the league in assists (6.0 pg.) and third in steals (1.7 pg.). He ranks 3rd on Valpo's all-time assists list with 389 and 8th in steals with 140. Oppland, a junior forward, was also named Second Team All-Mid-Con a year ago.
DAN OPPLAND - MR. CONSISTENCY: Junior Dan Oppland, a Second Team All-Mid-Con and All-Tournament selection last season, has been the model of consistency. The 6'8" forward, who led the team in scoring (15.7 ppg.), tallied double-figure points in 28 of the 31 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds six times. He was impressive in Mid-Con games, averaging 17.1 ppg. and shooting .568 from the field. In 2003-04, Oppland finished 2nd overall in the Mid-Con in offensive rebounding (3.2 pg.), 3rd in field goal percentage (.546), 6th in rebounding (7.2 pg.), 9th in free throw percentage (.781) and 9th in scoring.