Valparaiso basketball history is full of drama.
It holds one of the most iconic moments in college basketball history in Bryce Drew’s game winner against Ole Miss in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament. Valpo also had the Lutheran miracle of 1988 when they beat ranked and undefeated Notre Dame in overtime, 71-68.
The most recent Valpo moment came only two years ago by way of Ryan Broekhoff. His game-winning 3-pointer against Green Bay in the Horizon League semifinal was the big highlight in the Crusaders’ road to another NCAA tournament appearance.
Throughout their history, the Crusaders have lived for the dramatics, and we are proud to bring all the drama to you here at thecatchandshoot.com.
Last season, the Crusaders couldn’t put themselves in a position for dramatics as they finished in the middle of the pack in the Horizon League after the loss of many key starters including Ryan Broekhoff, who started for team Australia in the FIBA World Cup. Many believed Valpo would fall significantly last season, but they did reach the postseason albeit the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Expectations are high for this young core of sophomores and juniors. A lot of pressure will be on sophomore forward Alec Peters as he is coming off his Horizon League All-Freshman Year performance last year. However, the Crusaders are facing top non-conference schedule and their conference schedule is no cakewalk either.
Their toughest test comes very early in the season as they will face the University of Missouri (11/16) in their first road appearance. Valpo won’t have to face all their biggest competition on they road as the New Mexico Lobos (12/6) will travel to Valparaiso.
The Crusaders will also compete in the Challenge in Music City in Nashville, Tennessee where they will play Drake (11/28), Murray State (11/29) and Portland (11/30).
“It will be a challenge for us, yet it will be challenging for the opponents who play us,” said assistant coach Matt Lottich.
After playing James Madison (12/29) on the road, the Crusaders will battle Oakland (1/2) on the road in their first Horizon League game. Their first home stretch will come early in the conference season as they will see Youngstown State (1/4), UIC (1/8) and Cleveland State (1/10.)
Right after the home games, the Crusaders will hit a three game road trip at Wright State (1/7), at Youngstown State (1/20,) at Green Bay (1/23).
Just three days later, they go back home for a while to face Milwaukee (1/26), then make an hour-long drive to Chicago to face UIC (1/31). Three more games at home Detroit (2/4), Oakland (2/8) and Green Bay (2/13), then a quick turnaround to face Milwaukee (2/15) on the road. After the home finale against Wright State (2/21), the Crusaders end the season on a two game road trip at Detroit (2/25) and at Cleveland St (2/27).
Valpo’s toughest test in their conference schedule will come in the beginning during their three game road trip against tough teams in Wright State, Youngstown State and Green Bay.
“I am going to be honest, three games on the road in the Horizon league is tough,” said Lottich, “but we are excited for every game. We have circled every game on our calendar.”
The end of the season will also be a tough test as they will play Detroit and Cleveland State on the road.
The positive for the Crusaders is their two home stretches, in the middle of the season. They have the capability to beat anybody in the Horizon League, and with Milwaukee’s ban of postseason, the Crusaders should contend for the HL championship once again.
Here is a look at Valpo’s full schedule:
2014-15 Valparaiso Schedule
* = Horizon League game; # = Challenge in Music City
All times listed CT
Nov. 6 — vs. Grand Valley State (Exhibition), 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 14 — vs. East Tennessee State, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 — at Missouri, 5 p.m.
Nov. 19 — vs. IU South Bend, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 21 — TBD (Central Michigan Tournament)
Nov. 23 — TBD (Central Michigan Tournament)
#Nov. 28 — Drake (in Nashville, Tenn.), 5 p.m.
#Nov. 29 — Murray State (in Nashville, Tenn.), 7:30 p.m.
#Nov. 30 — Portland (in Nashville, Tenn.), 1 p.m.
Dec. 3 — at Eastern Kentucky
Dec. 6 — vs. New Mexico, 7:05 p.m.
Dec. 10 — vs. Trinity International, 7:05 p.m.
Dec. 13 — vs. Ball State, 7:05 p.m.
Dec. 20 — at IPFW, 6 p.m.
Dec. 21 — vs. Goshen, 1:35 p.m.
Dec. 29 — at James Madison, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 2 — at Oakland
*Jan. 4 — vs. Youngstown State, 1:35 p.m.
*Jan. 8 — vs. UIC, 7:05 p.m.
*Jan. 10 — vs. Cleveland State, 7:05 p.m.
*Jan. 17 — at Wright State
*Jan. 20 — at Youngstown State
*Jan. 23 — at Green Bay, 8 p.m.
*Jan. 26 — vs. Milwaukee, 7:05 p.m.
*Jan. 31 — at UIC, 3 p.m.
*Feb. 4 — vs. Detroit, 7:05 p.m.
*Feb. 8 — vs. Oakland, 1:35 p.m.
*Feb. 13 — vs. Green Bay
*Feb. 15 — at Milwaukee
*Feb. 21 — vs. Wright State, 7:05 p.m.
*Feb. 25 — at Detroit, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 27 — at Cleveland State, 9 p.m.