Valpo In the Valley: Men's Basketball
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Valpo In the Valley: Men's Basketball

Continuing the #ValpoInTheValley series, which will take a look at each of the Missouri Valley Conference’s 17 sports, is men’s basketball. Learn about the landscape of The Valley in men’s basketball, how Valpo has fared against opponents from The Valley in the past, and hear from head coach Matt Lottich as he talks about what the program is looking forward to entering its first season of MVC competition and who will lead the way in 2017-18 for his team.

MVC Men’s Basketball

All 10 member institutions in The Valley sponsor men’s basketball. Valpo will compete against Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Loyola, Missouri State, UNI and Southern Illinois in conference play in 2017-18.

Did You Know?

When Valpo advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 1998 NCAA Tournament, the Crusaders faced Rhode Island in the regional semifinal in St. Louis at the Kiel Center. The host of the Midwest Regional semifinals and final? The Missouri Valley Conference. In addition, the Kiel Center – now known as Scottrade Center – has played host to Arch Madness, The Valley’s men’s basketball conference tournament, since 1995.

A Look Back at 2016-17

MVC Regular Season 




Illinois State



Wichita State






Southern Illinois









Missouri State









Indiana State



MVC Championship

March 5, 2017 – St. Louis, Mo. – Wichita State 71, Illinois State 51

NCAA Tournament

Round of 64 – Indianapolis, Ind. – Wichita State 64, Dayton 58

Round of 32 – Indianapolis, Ind. – Kentucky 65, Wichita State 62


The Crusader men’s basketball team claimed its fifth Horizon League regular season championship in the last six years in 2016-17, finishing the season 24-9 overall and 14-4 in league play. For just the second time in program history, Valpo earned an at-large bid to the postseason NIT, extending its streak of reaching postseason play to seven consecutive seasons.

Highlighting the program’s 2016-17 campaign was the play of senior forward Alec Peters, who was named an NABC Third Team All-American and Horizon League Player of the Year. Peters – who was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft – averaged 23 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Crusaders and concluded his senior year as Valpo’s all-time leader in career scoring and rebounding.

Senior Shane Hammink joined Peters as an All-League selection, earning Second Team accolades, while junior Tevonn Walker was tabbed to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team.

The Valley on the National Stage

The Missouri Valley Conference is renowned for its success on the national stage, and shines when the lights are brightest at the NCAA Tournament.

Since the year 2000, The Valley has earned 33 bids to the NCAA Tournament – 18 automatic bids and 15 at-large berths – and has posted 27 tournament victories. Since 2010, 12 MVC programs in the NCAA Tournament have combined for 16 victories.

The Valley has earned at least one NCAA Tournament victory in each of the last six seasons, highlighted by Wichita State’s trip to the Final Four as a nine-seed in 2013.

Valpo Versus The Valley

The Crusaders have enjoyed strong success against MVC programs in the recent past, including a pair of wins over teams from The Valley last season.

Playing shorthanded, Valpo emerged victorious in a battle with Missouri State on Dec. 10, 2016 in Springfield, 84-81, as Alec Peters was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer in the waning seconds and connected on all three free throws. One week later, the Crusaders came home and easily handled Indiana State, 89-71.

The win over Missouri State was Valpo’s fourth in as many meetings over the last seven years, highlighted by an 80-67 victory over the Bears in a nationally-televised BracketBusters matchup in 2011 – a game which featured Dick Vitale on color commentary from the ARC.

Valpo also claimed a win in Terre Haute over Indiana State in December of 2016, and defeated Drake in Nashville the season before that. The Crusaders shared membership in the Horizon League with Loyola from 2007 through 2013, and Valpo captured seven of the last nine meetings between the two programs.

The move to The Valley reunites Valpo with Evansville and Indiana State as conference foes – two of the four most-common opponents in Crusader men’s basketball history. Valpo and Evansville have matched up on the hardwood 83 times, while the Crusaders have taken on Indiana State 80 times.

Looking Ahead to 2017-18

The Valley plays a balanced schedule in men’s basketball, so Valpo will see each of the other nine conference teams twice in 2017-18 – once at the ARC and once on the road – in an 18-game conference schedule. The conference schedule is slated to open in late December.

All 10 MVC teams advance to Arch Madness, The Valley’s men’s basketball tournament which has been held in St. Louis since 1991. The tournament’s championship game is slated for Sunday, March 4 and will be broadcast live on CBS.