Valparaiso will host Butler at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Tuesday, February 5 at 8 p.m. CST in front of a national audience on ESPN2, one of five Horizon League men’s basketball games to appear on ESPN and ESPN2 during the upcoming season as announced today by Horizon League Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone.
The Crusaders and Bulldogs will face off as part of the network’s “Rivalry Week,” a moniker which the two schools’ series definitely lives up to. Valpo has met Butler 92 times on the hardwood, the most games the Crusaders have played against any opponent, in a series dating back to the 1934-35 campaign. Valpo is entering its first season of Horizon League play, while Butler shared the League’s regular-season title last year and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
The game against Butler will mark the third time in the last 13 years that an ESPN network has televised a men’s basketball game live from the ARC. Valpo hosted Purdue on ESPN2 on November 17, 1997 in front of a crowd of 5,412. ESPN also broadcast the 1995 Mid-Continent Conference Championship game from the ARC, a classic which saw the Crusaders defeat Western Illinois, 88-85, in triple overtime.
The League slate will begin with Green Bay playing at Ohio State on November 12 on ESPN2 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. If the Phoenix wins its first-round game, a second-round game against either Columbia or Delaware State would be broadcast on ESPN on November 14. Butler will face Michigan in the first round of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout November 21 on ESPN2.
Another Horizon League game on ESPN2 will be a wildcard selection on Saturday, March 1 - the final day of the regular-season - at 11 a.m. CST as part of “Judgment Week.” The specific game will be selected several weeks prior from the five League games scheduled that day, one of which is the Crusaders hosting the 2007 Horizon League Tournament champions from Wright State.
The League men’s basketball championship game will remain in its customary slot near the beginning of “Championship Week” coverage and be aired on ESPN on Tuesday, March 11 at 8 p.m. CST. The game will be played at the higher remaining seed coming out of the semifinals.
“We always enjoy welcoming ESPN to our campus to broadcast games from the ARC,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew. “This will be a great experience for our fans and especially our students, who now have a national platform to ask their parents for money. This announcement enhances an already attractive schedule for our students, our fans and our players.”
Additionally, the Crusaders’ game at Green Bay, originally scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, will now be played Thursday, February 7.