Valparaiso men’s basketball head coach Homer Drew announced the Crusaders’ 2010-2011 schedule today, a slate that features 15 regular season home games at the Athletics-Recreation Center, including a visit Dec. 7 from nationally-ranked Purdue. The Crusaders will also travel to Kansas, which finished atop the polls at the end of the regular season last year, and will play a pair of Horizon League games against national runner-up Butler.
Valpo will begin the year with a pair of exhibition contests at the ARC, taking on Olivet Nazarene Oct. 30 and Aurora Nov. 6. The game against Olivet Nazarene will also serve as the dedication of the brand-new Homer Drew Court, with a brief pre-game ceremony to honor Drew and officially unveil the new court.
The game against Kansas, which closed the 2009-2010 regular season atop both the AP and coaches polls and is projected to be one of the top teams in the nation again this year, will be played Nov. 15 in Lawrence at historic Allen Fieldhouse. It will be the first of four games Valpo plays as part of the Las Vegas Invitational, as the Crusaders will also travel to play Ohio (Nov. 23) before heading to Las Vegas to take on Northern Colorado (Nov. 26) and either Bethune Cookman or Texas A&M-CC (Nov. 27).
Purdue, which finished last regular season ranked among the top-ten in the nation, visits the ARC for the first time in nearly a decade on Tuesday, Dec. 7. The game will serve as a homecoming for Boilermaker senior Robbie Hummel, a Valparaiso H.S. graduate and former Crusader ballboy. Other non-league home games include IU Northwest (Nov. 12), Purdue North Central (Nov. 18), IPFW (Dec. 18) and Ball State (Dec. 28), as well as the annual BracketBusters game (Feb. 19). The Crusaders will hit the road in non-league action against Toledo (Dec. 11) and travel to former Mid-Con rival Oakland for the Lou Henson Award Tournament, playing Eastern Michigan (Dec. 20) and then either Rochester College or the host Golden Grizzlies (Dec. 21).
The Horizon League double round-robin schedule once again begins with a single weekend of league play in early December, as Valpo travels to UIC (Dec. 2) and Loyola [Chicago] (Dec. 4). The league slate resumes at the start of 2011 with a New Year’s Day showdown against national runner-up Butler, with the return trip from the Bulldogs scheduled for Jan. 29. The Crusaders will close out the regular season against UIC on Feb. 26, with the Horizon League Championship scheduled for March 1-8. The winner of the league championship event will receive an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Valpo returns ten players from last year’s squad that went 10-8 and finished tied for fourth in Horizon League action, and also add a pair of talented newcomers to the mix. The Crusaders have already gained a wealth of experience this offseason, taking advantage of ten practice days before going on their preseason foreign tour to Cancun, where they went 4-0.
Season tickets go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the Valparaiso University Ticket Office or by calling 1-877-MY-VU-TIX, while individual game tickets will go on sale in mid-October. Game times will be set in the near future, while announcements about games that will be televised will follow as they become available.