UNI (9-7, 5-1 MVC)
at Valparaiso (8-10, 1-5 MVC)
Game No. 19 – Wednesday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will play its second consecutive home game on Wednesday night as UNI makes its way to the Athletics-Recreation Center for a midweek Missouri Valley Conference matchup. For the first time this season, Valpo will play its second meeting of the year against an MVC opponent after these two foes locked horns in Cedar Falls on Jan. 5. Masks are required for all spectators, event staff members and media members during all home Valpo athletic events until further notice.
Last Time Out: Valpo incurred a 74-57 setback to Missouri State on Saturday in a nationally-televised affair at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Isiaih Mosley posted 32 points for visiting Missouri State, his third straight game with 30+ points. Valpo scored nine straight spanning the end of the first half and start of the second half to cut what had been a 14-point deficit to five with 19:23 to play, but Missouri State scored the next eight points and never looked back. Ben Krikke paced the Beacons with 14 points, while freshman Darius DeAveiro chipped in eight points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench.
Following the Beacons: Streaming – Valley on ESPN Exclusive (ESPN+) – Andy Masur (play-by-play) and David Kaplan (analyst)
Valpo Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Paul Oren (analyst)
Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (91-88) is in his ninth season overall at Valparaiso University and sixth as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2021-2022. The 2020-2021 season saw Valpo improve its Arch Madness seeding for the fourth straight year as the program continued to make positive strides in each season as a Missouri Valley Conference member. The team earned a first-round bye in the State Farm MVC Tournament for the first time since joining the prestigious league. Valpo upset previously-undefeated Drake, the nation’s No. 25 team, 74-57 on Feb. 7, 2021 at the ARC, the fourth win over an AP Top 25 team in program history and second under Lottich. The Bulldogs were one of three undefeated teams in the nation prior to that setback, joining Gonzaga and Baylor. Just two years removed from finishing in last place and being knocked out in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a first-year Valley member, Lottich’s team did more than hold its own in 2019-2020, ascending into a tie for sixth in the league standings before finishing as the conference tournament runner-up. Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness to reach the title game after playing in the opening round. Lottich, hired as the 22nd head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program in April 2016, graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and New Trier High School (Illinois) in 2000.
Series Notes: Valpo will look to reverse its fortunes in the all-time series on Wednesday night as the Beacons hold just a 4-29 record in games played against UNI including a 92-65 setback earlier this season. Valpo is 2-7 against UNI since joining the Missouri Valley Conference. The last three showdowns between these two teams have occurred in Cedar Falls as this will represent the first time Valpo has hosted UNI since Feb. 5, 2020. In this year’s first matchup, UNI’s Noah Carter scored 20 points, while Trae Berhow added 17. The Beacons did a good job keeping MVC Preseason Player of the Year and UNI leading scorer AJ Green in check, as he was held to just nine points on 3-of-7 shooting. That is Green’s lowest scoring output in MVC play this season. Valpo was paced by Kevion Taylor with a 17-point performance, while Kobe King added 14 points and nine rebounds. Improvement on defense from the first matchup will be a focus for Wednesday as the 92 points allowed mark the most in a single game during the Matt Lottich Era (sixth season). It was the most points Valpo had permitted since March 7, 2016, a 99-92 overtime loss to Green Bay in the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit. However, Valpo did play the game at UNI shorthanded as starting center Thomas Kithier was unavailable due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
- No Valpo player has started every game this season. Trevor Anderson was the only Beacon to start each of the first 15 contests before he missed Jan. 8 vs. Southern Illinois and Jan. 11 at Loyola with a back ailment.
- Valpo has used nine different starting lineup combinations this season including unique lineups in each of the last six games.
- The Jan. 15 game vs. Missouri State represented just the fourth time this season and the first in conference play that key players Kobe King, Thomas Kithier, Trevor Anderson and Ben Krikke all four played in the same game.
- The only three players who have played in all 18 contests are Kevion Taylor, Sheldon Edwards and Eron Gordon.
- Gordon has played in all 81 Valpo games since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
- The latest player to debut in the starting lineup is true freshman Preston Ruedinger, who made his first collegiate start on Jan. 8 vs. SIU and started again on Jan. 11 at Loyola. Ruedinger became the second nonscholarship player to start a game for Valpo during the Matt Lottich Era as John Kiser started on March 4, 2017 vs. Milwaukee at the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit as a freshman walk-on before earning a scholarship prior to his sophomore campaign.
Taylor Tossing in Treys
- Kevion Taylor has made a 3 in 81 consecutive contests dating all the way back to Dec. 15, 2018 while playing for Winona State in a game at Concordia St. Paul. The highest of the NCAA records (Division I, Division II or Division III) for consecutive games with a made 3 is 93 and belongs to Daniel Park of D-II Rollins from Jan. 26, 1994 to Feb. 28, 1997. However, Taylor’s streak would not be recognized in the NCAA record book should it reach that point since it is split between Division I and Division II.
- If Taylor’s streak came in all D-I games, it would rank third in Division-I history. The D-I record is held by Mack Smith, who Valpo played against on Dec. 5 at Western Michigan. Smith set the record while at Eastern Illinois. Second is Corey Bradford of Illinois (88).
- Taylor has made multiple 3-pointers in 13 out of 18 games this season. He’s hit at least one triple in all 18 contests.
- Taylor is the first Valpo player since at least the start of the 1989-90 season (nearly all the way back to the addition of the 3-point line) to make a 3 in each of his first 18 games of a season. He surpassed the program’s previous longest season-opening streak of 14 by Larry Barker in 1994-95. Three other Valpo players made a 3 in each of the first 13 games of a season – Bryce Drew (1995-96), Casey Schmidt (1992-93) and Mike Jones (1989-90).
- On Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State, Taylor snapped a streak of eight straight games with multiple made 3s after opening the season with a stretch of five in a row with multiple triples. The last time Valpo had a player make multiple 3s in eight straight was Javon Freeman-Liberty (9, 2019-20).
Milestone Met: During the Jan. 8 game vs. Southern Illinois, Kevion Taylor surpassed 1,800 points for his collegiate career (split between D-I and D-II). He became just the 32nd active player at all levels of NCAA college basketball to reach the 1,800-point threshold. Taylor became just the 16th active player in the NCAA (all three divisions) with 1,800 points and 600 rebounds. Furthermore, Taylor has scored more collegiate points than Michael Jordan (1,788).
- Valpo won the turnover battle in eight straight games prior to Jan. 5 at UNI, the team’s longest stretch of winning the turnover battle over the last 28 seasons.
- However, Valpo has lost the turnover battle in two of the last four games (at UNI, at Loyola) and tied in turnovers against Missouri State. The Beacons have had 18 turnovers or more in two of their last four contests (at UNI, at Loyola) but have 10 or fewer in 11 of their 18 games this season.
- The 19 turnovers on Jan. 11 at Loyola tied a season high set on Nov. 17 at Stanford. Valpo uncharacteristically lost the turnover battle 19-9 against the Ramblers, as -10 represented the team’s worst turnover margin of the season. In fact, the last time Valpo lost the turnover battle by double figures was in 2017 against Northwestern (21-7).
- Valpo still leads the league in steals at 7.1 per game, ranks second in assist/turnover ratio at 1.3 (behind only Loyola) and ranks third in turnover margin (+1.33), behind only Loyola and Drake.
- Valpo is 7-4 when winning the turnover battle this season and 1-5 when losing it.
- Valpo has lost the turnover battle at home just once in 10 games this season.
- The Beacons turned it over just seven times on Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State, their 11th time this season turning it over 10 times or fewer.
Finding A Rebounding Rhythm?
- Valpo was outrebounded in 11 of its first 13 games against Division-I opponents this season, but the Beacons won the turnover battle two straight games on Jan. 8 vs. Southern Illinois and Jan. 11 at Loyola.
- During that time, Valpo outrebounded Southern Illinois 33-29 on Jan. 8 and Loyola 36-28 on Jan. 11. That was the first time Valpo has won the rebounding battle in consecutive D1 contests this season. However, Missouri State owned a 38-31 edge on the glass on Jan. 15. Valpo is hoping to win the rebounding battle for the third time in the last four games on Wednesday vs. UNI.
- The +8 rebounding margin against Loyola marked the team’s best against a D1 foe since outrebounding Indiana State by 18 in last year’s regular season finale. It was Valpo’s best rebounding margin in a head-to-head matchup with Loyola since joining the MVC.
- The successful rebounding performance came against a Loyola team that is strong on the glass. Valpo snapped Loyola’s stretch of outrebounding the opponent in seven straight outings. Valpo became just the second team this season to outdo Loyola by eight or more on the glass, joining Auburn (+10).
- Ben Krikke led Valpo in scoring for the sixth time this season by posting 14 points on Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State. He also finished with five rebounds, his second time this season pacing the team on the glass.
- Krikke has entered double figures four times in the last five games and 10 times overall this season.
- Krikke (55.3%) and Thomas Kithier (59.1%) both rank in the top seven in the MVC in field-goal percentage this season. They are the only pair of teammates in The Valley both shooting better than 55 percent.
- Entering Jan. 19 vs. UNI, Krikke is 25 points away from reaching 800 for his career.
The Rookie Report
- Freshman point guard Darius DeAveiro scored a season-high eight points on Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State. He knocked down three of his five shot attempts.
- In the contest against the Bears, DeAveiro logged over 20 minutes in a game for the first time since Dec. 7 vs. East-West and the first time against a Division-I foe since Nov. 13 vs. UIC.
- DeAveiro also saw a spike in his rebounding output as he squeezed four boards after having one in his previous six games combined.
Sheldon The Super Sub
- Sheldon Edwards has scored 20+ points four times in his career (twice this season, twice last season), and all four have come in games in which he came off the bench.
- Edwards’ latest bench burst of 20 points on Jan. 11 at Loyola came on 8-of-13 shooting and also featured a season-high seven rebounds. He finished one board shy of a career high of eight, which he achieved twice last season.
- Edwards scored in double figures for the team-high 12th time this season while leading Valpo in scoring for the second time this year and the sixth time in his career. He made eight field goals against the Ramblers, establishing a new career high.
- Edwards has come away with three steals in four games this season, three of which have come in his last five contests. He ranks in the top 10 in the MVC in both steals (24) and blocked shots (19).
- Thomas Kithier pulled down a team-high nine rebounds on Jan. 11 at Loyola.
- Through Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State, Kithier has owned or shared the team lead in rebounding in 10 of the 16 games he’s played this season.
- Kithier had squeezed six or more caroms in eight straight outings before being held to three on Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State, a game where he was limited to 16 minutes due to foul trouble.
- In his first two games after returning from COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Kithier provided the team with a much-needed lift on the glass. He pulled down 19 rebounds over two contests, the first time in his collegiate career that he had nine or more boards in consecutive games.
- Kithier enjoyed his second collegiate double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Southern Illinois on Jan. 8, his first such effort since a 28&11 game on Nov. 13 vs. UIC. The 10 rebounds marked Kithier’s third double-figure effort on the boards this season and first since Nov. 23 vs. Coastal Carolina at the Nassau Championship in The Bahamas.
- A key for Kithier is remaining on the court as he’s fouled out in each of Valpo’s last two games (Jan. 11 at Loyola, Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State). That came after Kithier had been disqualified just once over his first 14 contests this season.
- After missing the first nine games of the season in order to gain NCAA eligibility, Kobe King is averaging a team-high 14.7 points per game in nine contests (eight starts).
- He’s scored at least eight points in every outing, with his most recent output of eight on Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State marking a season low and just his second time in eight games outside of double figures.
- Prior to that, King enjoyed a 16-point output on Jan. 11 at Loyola, his fifth straight double-figure performance. Entering Wednesday vs. UNI, he’s been in double figures in five of the last six games.
- King has scored 16 points or more in five of his first nine games in a Valpo uniform.
- King finished with 18 points on Jan. 8 vs. SIU, doing the bulk of his damage in the second half. He scored 13 second-half points including eight in the final four minutes of the game.
- Also on Jan. 8 vs. SIU, King tied a rebounding career high that was set in the previous game. He did not reach nine rebounds in any of his first 68 career games, but did so in consecutive contests (Jan. 5 at UNI, Jan. 8 vs. SIU).
Ramblers on the Ropes
- After two-point losses in each of the team’s last two trips to Rogers Park, Valpo once again had Loyola on the ropes on Jan. 11 as the Beacons led by as many as 12 points in an eventual 81-74 double overtime setback.
- Valpo nearly knocked off a Loyola team that has just two losses this season, both to teams that currently rank in the Top 10 nationally (Michigan State and Auburn).
- The Beacons came oh so close to snapping Loyola’s lengthy home court winning streak. Instead, the Ramblers pulled out their 30th straight home win, the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. They also extended their MVC home court winning streak to 23. Loyola’s last home conference loss was February 2019 and most recent home defeat in any game was December 2019.
- Five of Valpo’s last six matchups with Loyola have either gone to overtime, been decided by three points or fewer, or both.
- Valpo owned a double-figure lead in the Jan. 11 game at Gentile Arena, the largest cushion the team has held against the Ramblers in any of the 11 matchups since Valpo joined the Missouri Valley Conference.
- The eight-point halftime deficit was Loyola’s largest of the season. Previously, their biggest hole at a game’s midway mark was six against DePaul, a game they also rallied to win.
- Valpo’s valiant effort at Loyola came without the services of starting point guard Trevor Anderson (back). In addition, three starters had four or more fouls and starting center Thomas Kithier fouled out late in regulation.
Close Calls & Bonus Basketball
- The double overtime loss at Loyola continued a season that has featured no shortage of close contests for Valpo.
- The Beacons have 10 losses this season, but five of them have come by four points or fewer, or in overtime, or both.
- Valpo has played five games in the calendar year 2022, and two have required beyond the regulation 40 minutes to determine a victor. One of the others was a three-point game.
- Valpo played the 17th double overtime game in program history on Jan. 11 at Loyola. This marks the second straight year the Beacons have played a game that has required 10 extra minutes (W 91-85, 2OT vs. Bradley on Jan. 28, 2021).
- Valpo is 1-2 in overtime this season with losses vs. UIC and at Loyola and a victory vs. Illinois State. All three OT affairs have come against teams that hail from the Land of Lincoln. Valpo is now 5-7 in OT during the Matt Lottich Era (sixth season).
- After Valpo allowed the opponent to shoot over 55 percent in back-to-back games, losses at UNI (Jan. 5) and vs. Southern Illinois (Jan. 8) and gave up a season-high 92 against UNI, head coach Matt Lottich challenged his team defensively leading into the Jan. 11 game at Loyola.
- The improvement was evident as Valpo held the Ramblers to a season-low 22 first-half points. Loyola had previously scored no fewer than 28 points in the opening half in each of its first 13 contests this season. The only other team to hold Loyola under 30 prior to the break was Michigan State, which is currently ranked No. 10 in the country.
- The 22 points were the second-fewest Valpo has allowed in an opening half this season and fewest against a Division-I opponent. Previously, the only time the team permitted 22 or fewer in Half 1 was on Dec. 7 vs. East-West (21).
- The 22 first-half points were the fewest permitted by the Beacons against a D1 foe since holding Indiana State to 18 prior to the intermission on Feb. 27, 2021.
- Valpo allowed just 55 points in regulation against the Ramblers. That would have tied Valpo’s season low for points permitted in a game. That would have been the second-lowest point total for Loyola this season behind 53 against Auburn, a team now ranked in the top 10 nationally.
- The Beacons held the Ramblers to 42.9 percent shooting, the lowest mark by a Valpo opponent in league play this season. That also represented Loyola’s second-lowest shooting clip this season behind a 37.3 percent against Michigan State.
- In the second half, Valpo held Loyola to 0-of-10 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Ramblers were 3-for-20 from 3 in regulation before heating up to 5-of-6 in overtime.
- The 0-for-10 from 3 was the most attempts without a make by a Valpo opponent in a single half since Wright State went 0-for-11 from long range in the first half on Jan. 27, 2017.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 11 (Loyola 81, Valpo 74, 2OT)
- Sheldon Edwards (20), Kevion Taylor (17) and Kobe King (16) were the three Beacons in double figures. Taylor finished in double figures for the 90th time in his collegiate career.
- King scored the 500th point in his collegiate career during the game. Eron Gordon enters Jan. 19 vs. UNI at 491. In addition, Thomas Kithier squeezed his 300th career rebound in the game against the Ramblers.
- Taylor has scored 15+ points six times this season including four times in the last seven games, through Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State.
- Preston Ruedinger finished with a season-high eight points and drilled a pair of 3s as the true freshman made his second straight start.
- Ben Krikke pulled down seven rebounds, one shy of his season high.
- Valpo shot 53.7 percent, outshooting an opponent in a defeat for the fourth time this season (UIC, Coastal Carolina, Drake and Loyola).
- Valpo’s 53.7 percent shooting clip was its highest in MVC play and second highest against a Division-I opponent this season. It was also the best shooting percentage by a Loyola opponent this season. The only team to shoot better than 53.7 percent against the Ramblers all of last season was Georgia Tech at 57.4 percent in the NCAA Tournament.
- Loyola made 19 free throws, tied for the most by a Valpo opponent this season (Nov. 24 vs. Tulane in the Bahamas). Valpo committed a season-high 21 fouls.
- Valpo played its third road MVC game of the season, all against the teams projected to finish in the top three in the league’s preseason poll.
- Valpo is 1-6 this season when missing either Trevor Anderson, Ben Krikke or Thomas Kithier. When all three play, Valpo boasts a 7-4 mark, through Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State.
Scouting the Panthers
- Enter the ARC on a five-game winning streak, with each of the last three coming down to the wire.
- Edged Missouri State 85-84 on Jan. 8, topped Indiana State 80-74 in overtime on Jan. 11 and nipped Southern Illinois 69-68 on Jan. 15.
- Picked third in the MVC preseason poll.
- Led in scoring by MVC Preseason Player of the Year AJ Green, who is averaging 17.8 points per game.
Century Mark in Sight: Valpo head coach Matt Lottich earned his 91st career win on Jan. 2 vs. Illinois State. He needs just nine more to become the fourth head coach in program history to reach 100 career victories, joining Homer Drew, Bryce Drew and J.M Christiansen. Lottich currently ranks fifth in program history for career head coaching victories and needs just two more to tie Gene Bartow for fourth.
#SCTop10 Again: Kobe King nailed a three-quarters court shot to beat the buzzer on Dec. 11 vs. Charlotte. Although the desperation heave was not enough as Valpo fell 68-67, the play checked in at No. 9 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays that evening. It was highlighted again two days later on ESPN’s popular “SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt” show. This marks the fourth time in a three-year span that Valpo basketball has produced an #SCTop10 play. The previous appearance came courtesy of a Sheldon Edwards dunk in a victory over No. 25 Drake on Feb. 7 of last season. Since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, Valpo Athletics has been featured on the iconic daily countdown on 10 occasions spanning five sports – men’s basketball (four times), softball (twice), volleyball (twice), women’s basketball and soccer.
- The Valpo basketball program received recognition from the Valparaiso University Student Philanthropy program on Sunday, Nov. 14.
- The team was recognized as part of the University’s annual Generosity Awards Celebration. Head coach Matt Lottich’s group was selected as the 2021 Athletic Team Awardee for the program’s community service and engagement.
- The team’s community engagement activities include participating in the Popcorn Fest, Valparaiso Downtown Trick or Treat, Valpo Day of Caring and beach cleanup at the Indiana Dunes National Park.
- In addition, the team hosts youth camps in the summer, working with children ages 6-14 to provide a fun and positive basketball experience.
- The program makes it a priority to attend as many Valpo Athletics events as possible to support other teams. The Beacons also make an effort to actively participate in the University community and support student organizations while also having an active presence as members of the broader City of Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana communities.
- Of the six core values that make up the foundation of the Valpo men’s basketball program, servanthood and appreciation are among the most prominent.
Random off-the-court facts on each Valpo player.
- #0 Thomas Kithier – Is an avid Detroit Lions fan and can name every player on the roster... Mother Jane played college volleyball at Eastern Michigan... Works in Valpo Athletics in ticketing, marketing and sports information.
- #1 Cam Palesse – Enjoys building fish-tank ecosystems.
- #2 Preston Ruedinger – Is an avid golfer in his spare time... Has an interest in coaching in the future.
- #3 Connor Barrett – Is also an avid golfer whose best score is a 73.
- #4 Darius DeAveiro – Father David is the former head coach at McGill University in Montreal and is now the head coach of the Ryerson Rams.
- #5 Keyondre Young – Enjoys observing nature and sightseeing... Enjoys watching movies and lists Blue Chips as his favorite.
- #10 Eron Gordon – Comes from a basketball family including brother Eric who has played in the NBA since 2008 and is currently a member of the Houston Rockets... Enjoys editing videos and podcasting.
- #11 Emil Freese-Vilien – Civil engineering major who spends a lot of time drawing blueprints and houses... His first basketball practice came at age 14... Played serious badminton growing up.
- #12 Kevion Taylor – High school teammates with Tyler Herro of the NBA’s Miami Heat.
- #13 Sheldon Edwards – Has six siblings... Enjoys listening to music... Played for his uncle Louis Graham at TLAP Sports Academy for one year prior to coming to Valpo.
- #15 Luke Morrill – Walk-on who enjoys wakesurfing.
- #20 Tyler Fricke – Walk-on whose father Scott coached Matt Lottich in high school and brother Zach pitches for the Valpo baseball team.
- #21 Trevor Anderson – Father Scott was his high school coach at SPASH and played at UW-Stevens Point... Enjoys visiting coffee shops, traveling and cheering for the Dallas Cowboys.
- #22 Brock Pappas – Walk-on who is majoring in nursing and hopes to one day become a pediatric nurse and work at Riley Children’s Hospital.
- #23 Ben Krikke – Spent over 100 days in quarantine before and during the 2020-2021 season... Enjoys mountain biking and chess, which he learned from his grandfather... Credits his father’s Michael Jordon DVD set for helping hone his skills.
- #32 Joe Hedstrom – Is an avid fisherman and Valpo’s proximity to Lake Michigan added to his desire to play at Valpo... Grandfather Burt Hedstrom played basketball, football and baseball at Northwestern University (1944-47) and both of his parents played college basketball, mother Sharon (Bethel) and father Peter (St. Olaf).
- #33 Trey Woodyard – Maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, earning a place on the honor roll every year.
- #35 Kobe King –Enjoys making music and writing song lyrics.
- Valpo has improved its conference tournament seeding in each of its four Missouri Valley Conference seasons.
- The team entered Arch Madness as a No. 10 seed in 2017-18, a No. 9 seed in 2018-19, a No. 7 in 2019-20 and a No. 6 in 2020-21.
- With Year 4 in The Valley now in the books, Valpo has surpassed Loyola’s conference win total over its first four seasons in the league. Valpo garnered its 29th MVC victory in the 2020-21 regular-season finale vs. Indiana State.
- The Ramblers went 27-45 over their first four seasons before going 57-16 over the following four seasons.
- Valpo has improved its conference finish in each season during the four-year transitional period after elevating to the prestigious and competitive conference.
More on 2020-21
- The 2020-21 season was highlighted by an upset victory over previously-undefeated Drake, the nation’s No. 25 team, 74-57 on Feb. 7, 2021 at the Athletics-Recreation Center, the fourth win over an AP Top 25 team in program history and second under Lottich. The Bulldogs were one of three undefeated teams in the nation prior to that setback, joining Gonzaga and Baylor.
- Valpo came close to two other victories over ranked foes, falling 80-77 vs. No. 25 Drake on Feb. 6 and 54-52 at No. 22 Loyola on Feb. 17.
- Valpo closed the regular season with a stretch of 16 Missouri Valley Conference games in a 39-day span. By comparison, Valpo had played three games over the previous 31 days before beginning the stretch of seemingly nonstop competition. Six of Valpo’s first eight MVC games were postponed due to COVID-19, causing the backlog of makeup games during the busy stretch.
2021-22 Preseason Picks
- Ben Krikke was named to the Preseason All-MVC Second Team.
- Valpo was picked seventh in the 10-team league based on a preseason survey of the conference’s head coaches, media members and sports information directors.
- Drake was tabbed the preseason favorite to win the league, while UNI’s AJ Green earned Preseason Player of the Year accolades.
Sustained Home Success
- The Athletics-Recreation Center has provided a distinct homecourt advantage over the years as Valpo has not finished with a losing mark at the ARC since 1991-92.
- Thanks to a victory in the 2020-21 home finale vs. Indiana State, the program finished with a record of .500 or better at home for the 29th consecutive season.
- Valpo enjoyed double-figure home win totals in nine of 10 seasons prior to the unusual, pandemic-altered 2020-21 season. Due to health and safety regulations, fans were unable to pack the ARC as they have in years past.
- The ARC is back open to spectators without any capacity restrictions during the 2021-22 season, restoring the home court advantage Valpo has come to expect over the years.
- The historic home success is good news for Valpo this season, as the team will play 17 home games.
- The nonconference slate will be comprised of eight home dates, two road games and three neutral-site contests.
- Valpo most recently played 17 home games during the 2016-17 season. This will mark the team’s busiest home calendar since joining the Missouri Valley Conference.
Big Ten U
- Prior to this season, Valpo had just a pair of Big Ten transfers join the program over the last two decades (Bakari Evelyn and Bobby Capobiano).
- This year, the program has been bolstered by four additions from the Big Ten Conference. Trevor Anderson, Joe Hedstrom and Kobe King have all come in from Wisconsin, while Thomas Kithier joins the fold after beginning his career with three seasons at Michigan State.
- Four of the five transfers that have come in join the team from the Big Ten, while a fifth impact transfer began his career with four seasons at Division-II Winona State. Kevion Taylor was a three-time all-conference performer and was his conference’s preseason player of the year in 2020-21.
- King started all 19 games he played at Wisconsin in 2019-20, Anderson appeared in 60 of Wisconsin’s 62 games over the last two seasons and Kithier appeared in 86 games and made 19 starts for Tom Izzo’s team over his three seasons in East Lansing.
- Although the team features five freshmen and the five aforementioned transfers, five scholarship players do return from last season.
- The squad brings back 47.9 percent of its scoring and 42.4 percent of its rebounding.
- Four of the team’s top six scorers are back.
- A pair of MVC postseason award winners remain in the fold for the Beacons as Sheldon Edwards was a member of the 2020-21 MVC All-Freshman Team, while Ben Krikke earned All-MVC Third Team, MVC Most-Improved Team and MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, the lone player in the league to receive all three honors.
- Seven letter winners are back from last year’s team, while nine have departed. Three starters return and three left. (Note: Starters based on top five players in number of games started. Six players were considered starters due to a tie for fifth).
- Associate head coach Luke Gore is in his 20th year on staff and has served under four different head coaches. The Valpo veteran has helped the team to eight postseason berths in the last 11 years and was on staff for the three winningest seasons in program history. He serves as the team’s defensive coordinator in addition to leading Valpo’s scheduling and scouting efforts.
- Assistant coach Matt Bowen returned to Valpo’s staff in 2018-19 after previously spending four seasons with the Brown & Gold from 2002-2006. He was the head coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 2012-2018. Bowen coordinates the team’s offense.
- Assistant coach Rob Holloway is back for his fourth season after spending the previous two years on staff at Eastern Illinois, his alma mater.
- Director of Basketball Operations Peter Funk is in his first season in that role after spending the previous two years as a graduate assistant and the three years prior to that as a student manager.
- Bob Brooks is in his 18th year as Valpo Director of Strength & Conditioning at Valpo and returned to oversight of men’s basketball strength & conditioning in 2020-21. He has worked with Valpo teams since 1994.
- Athletic trainer Ken DeAngelis is in his third season full-time at Valpo after previously earning his master’s degree from the University in 2012 while spending two years as a graduate assistant athletic trainer.
Tradition of Excellence
- Valpo has 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT berths in the program’s proud history, with the team’s postseason success highlighted by a Sweet Sixteen run in 1998.
- The program has produced nine All-Americans, won 18 regular season conference championships and 10 conference tournament crowns.
- Valpo also boasts eight NBA players, 10 conference players of the year and 20 20-win seasons.
- Nine of the team’s NCAA appearances have come since 1996.
- Valpo has qualified for the postseason eight times in the last 11 years, including 2019-20 where Valpo accepted a postseason berth but the tournament was not played due to COVID-19.
- Valpo has developed a myriad of professional basketball players over the last quarter century, most notably a pair of NBA players in the last four years. Ryan Broekhoff (class of 2013) signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2018 after spending five seasons playing internationally in Russia and Turkey. Alec Peters (class of 2017) was the 54th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Peters appeared in 20 games for the Suns in 2017-18, highlighted by a 36-point performance in the season finale against Dallas – a new single-game high by a Valpo alum in the NBA. He has gone on to a successful career overseas with CSKA Moscow (2018-2019), Anadolu Efes (2019-2020) and Kirolbet Baskonia (2020-present).
- Valpo has produced over 50 professional players in the last 25 years.