Valparaiso (8-2, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #11 - Friday, December 11 - 7:05 p.m.
at Chicago State (3-6, 0-0 WAC)
Jones Convocation Center (7,000) - Chicago, Ill.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team looks to move to nine wins on the season as it plays at Chicago State Friday evening. With a victory, head coach Bryce Drew would move into second place by himself on the Crusaders’ career coaching victories chart, trailing only his father, Homer.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team locked down defensively in the first half and then got key baskets when needed in the second half, as the Crusaders went on the road and downed Indiana State Wednesday night in Terre Haute, 69-63. Valpo got 15 points and 11 rebounds from Alec Peters, while E. Victor Nickerson scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
Following the Crusaders: Video - WAC Digital Network
Audio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow (PxP) and David Huseman (Color)
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (102-44) is in his fifth season at the helm of the Crusader men’s basketball program in 2015-16. In his first four years, Drew has led Valpo to three Horizon League regular season titles, two Horizon League tournament championships and four postseason berths, including a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. The 2012 and 2015 HL Coach of the Year, Drew ascended to the head coaching position on May 17, 2011 after spending six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach with the Crusaders.
Series Notes: The Crusaders will be facing a former conference foe for the second straight season, as Valpo and Chicago State shared just north of a decade in the Mid-Continent Conference together. Valpo has dominated the all-time series, owning a 31-3 advantage over the Cougars. The most recent matchup came at the ARC in November of 2012 - a 67-46 victory for the Crusaders. Ryan Broekhoff led Valpo with 15 points in the win, while Bobby Capobianco posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- Valpo has been picked to win the Horizon League in preseason polling, earning 36 of the 43 first-place votes.
- The Crusaders have not finished worse than their preseason projection in the last five years.
- Junior Alec Peters was named to the preseason First Team All-League for a second straight season.
- Seniors Vashil Fernandez and Darien Walker and sophomore Tevonn Walker all earned spots on the preseason Second Team.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo won a program-record 28 games en route to the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles.
- The Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time since 1996 and the 14th time overall.
- Valpo has won two of the last three Horizon League Championships and three of the last four HL regular season titles.
- The Crusaders are one of just four programs in league history to capture at least three regular season titles in a four-year span.
- Bryce Drew was named Horizon League Coach of the Year for the second time, as well as NABC District Coach of the Year.
- Alec Peters was a First Team All-League selection and an NABC First Team All-District choice.
- Vashil Fernandez was named HL Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-Defensive Team.
- Jubril Adekoya claimed Sixth Man of the Year honors, while Tevonn Walker earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.
...notes from Indiana State
- Valpo limited Indiana State to 5-of-27 shooting in the first half, including a stretch of 17 missed shots in a row.
- Despite the Sycamores hitting eight of 11 field goal attempts to start the second half, they still shot just 35.1% for the game.
- The Crusaders went 21-of-29 from the foul line in the second half after going just 2-of-3 from the stripe in the first 20 minutes.
- Valpo won despite having a stretch of eight-plus minutes in the second half where it hit just one field goal.
- Four Crusaders finished in double figures in the scoring column, the sixth time this season that Valpo has placed at least four in double figures.
- The Crusaders remained perfect this season when out-rebounding (8-0) and posting a better field goal percentage (7-0) than their opposition.
- Valpo returns home for final exam week before hosting its final home game of the 2015 calendar year, Dec. 19 versus Missouri State.
- The Crusaders will then return to the court after Christmas for the back end of the home-and-home with Belmont on Dec. 28.
...on the road
- The game against Indiana State is the sixth of seven true road games for the Crusaders in the non-league slate (3-2 so far).
- Last season, Valpo went 8-4 in true road games and 13-5 overall in games away from home.
- Chicago State enters Friday’s game at 3-6 on the season, most recently falling at DePaul by a 96-72 final.
- The Cougars are a perfect 3-0 at home so far this year, but the Crusaders will be their first D-I home opponent.
- Four CSU players average in double figures in the scoring column, led by 14.3 ppg from Elliott Cole.
- Trayvon Palmer adds 11.3 points per game and paces the Cougars on the glass with 8.0 boards per contest.
- It will be a family affair Friday, as Jubril Adekoya’s older brother, Jawad, starts for CSU and averages 10.6 ppg on 42.5% 3PT shooting.
Defense and Rebounding
- In a couple fundamental parts of the game, the Crusaders have had success in the early portion of the 2015-16 campaign.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (57.8 ppg) ranks seventh nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (36.7%) is good for 20th in the nation.
- Meanwhile, on the glass, the Crusaders out-rebound their opponents by 5.3 boards per game, best in the Horizon League.
- Valpo has surrendered more than 64 points just twice this year and been out-rebounded just twice, in their losses at Oregon and Ball State.
- The Crusaders have limited Iona, Rhode Island, Oregon State and Belmont all under 60 points this season - none of the four teams have been held to fewer than 63 points in any other game.
Century Mark for Bryce
- The win over Oregon State gave Valpo head coach Bryce Drew his 100th career victory, both overall and at the helm of the Crusaders.
- Drew is one of just three coaches in Crusader history to reach 100 wins, joining his father Homer, as well as J.M. Christiansen.
- To put it into perspective, Bryce Drew reached 100 wins in just 143 games - Christiansen needed 196 games to reach 100, while Homer Drew needed 230 games.
- Following the win over Indiana State, Bryce Drew is now tied with Christiansen at 102 wins for second place in program history.
Glance at the Rankings
- The Crusaders picked up votes in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll and in each of the season’s first two weeks.
- While it is still early in the season and RPI is still highly volatile, as of games of Dec. 9, Valpo ranked third in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo is currently #3 in College Insider’s Mid-Major Top 25 and sits at #4 in the Mid-Major Madness Power 15.
Look at KenPom
- Following the win over Oregon State, the Crusaders moved up to #20 in the KenPom ratings - their high-water mark this season.
- As of Thursday afternoon, Valpo currently sits 30th in the ratings.
- Valpo’s adjusted defensive efficiency is currently ranked sixth in the nation, trailing Oklahoma, Purdue, Florida, Virginia and Villanova.
- Valpo closed last season at #61 in the KenPom ratings - its highest year-end ranking was back in 2001-02 (#51).
- The game against Oregon State was already the Crusaders’ third this year against a top-50 team in the KenPom ratings - last season’s team didn’t play a top-50 team until the NCAA Tournament.
- The game against Belmont was the Crusaders’ fifth against a top-100 team - last year’s team played five top-100 games total in the regular season.