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Monday, September 26, 2011

Predicting the 2011-2012 Season, Part 2

Hank and I made predictions for every game before the season began. We never released part 2. I have not touched it. Hank may update his picks that he has yet to make, but here it is, my thoughts before the season began. Enjoy!

Part 2 of our schedule breakdown takes a look at the games starting in 2012.

Friday, January 6 at Detroit*
HC: The new year starts off with a visit to the team I think will be the elite of the Horizon League this year. Detroit has the best and most athletic players in the league, the only thing holding them back is the coach. I think the players can overcome the coach especially at home and will end the Valpo win streak. Final score 75-66.

BG: As already stated Detroit is the class of the Horizon league this year. They are loaded top to bottom and despite their defense going on break for long stretches they have enough offensive firepower to not need it. Detroit wins this and I don't think it'll be close, 65-82.

Sunday, January 8 at Wright State*
BG: We've seemed to have Wright State's number from the moment we entered the league. I think we'll be looking to blow off some steam after the Detroit game and this is the perfect opportunity to take out some frustration. Valpo wins 71-67.

HC: Valpo ends the road trip weekend at WSU. Wright State has a good front line with Mpondo, Pacher, and Darling. I think the Raiders have lost too much with the departure of Evans, Duggins, and Tabler to win with regularity this year. I will take Valpo 75-70.

Friday, January 13 vs. Youngstown State*
HC: YSU is not a good basketball team, and the VU basketball players have some revenge to seek out for their football brethren. Damian Eargle will do all he can to keep this team competitive. Unfortunately for him, Valpo takes it to the Penguins in their first home game of 2011 and wins in a romp, 82-65.

BG: Youngstown State will show some signs of life this year, but this isn't a game I don't think they'll win. They will be overwhelmed by a team given a big boost by having the student section back from break. Valpo wins big 78-55.

Sunday, January 15 vs. Cleveland State*
BG: Valpo defends their homecourt very well, but they always manage to put up a couple of stinkers for the home folks a year. No Cole no problem for CSU on this night. Harmon, Montgomery, and Pogue will present problems all night. Valpo loses a stunner, 71-75.

HC: Valpo finishes up this home weekend with Cleveland State visiting the ARC. CSU should have another strong year despite the fact they lost the POY in Norris Cole. I will go opposite of Brent and say Valpo is on the winning side, 75-71!

Thursday, January 19 at Loyola*
HC: Avercamp and Hicks are pretty solid players. Valpo comes off a weekend of home victories and experiences a let down on their Chicago road trip opener. I will take Loyola in an upset, 69-60.

BG: Like Valpo Loyola is having a transition year with a new coach. By this point in the season we should know what Loyola is going to be like. I think it is going to be rough especially since Loyola seems to have injury issues on a yearly basis. I think Valpo takes this one, but it'll be close. 65-60

Saturday, January 21 at UIC*
BG: UIC is in the basement of the league and I don't see this being anything, but a trap game for a Valpo team looking ahead to Green Bay. I still think Valpo takes it. 73-65

HC: UIC is not very good. I think Valpo struggles but manages to pull out a victory with a strong second half. Crusaders 72 Flames 65.

Thursday, January 26 at Green Bay*
HC: I think this game could go either way. Green Bay has Alec Brown who can wreak havoc inside on both ends of the court. However, by this time I think the Crusader bigs have come into their own. Valpo earns a nice road win at Green Bay, 68-63.

BG: As I've mentioned before I think Green Bay is going to be a good team this year. Valpo will have been on the road for the past week and that gets a little dicey. I do not believe this will end well with a Valpo loss, 65-73.

Saturday, January 28 at Milwaukee*
BG: We flat out don't play well in Milwaukee. As a matter of fact we've only won 1 conference game there (our first year in the league) and this is also the 4th road game in 9 days. This won't be good. Valpo loses, 58-71.


Thursday, February 2 vs. Detroit*

BG: Detroit is flat out the best in the league and the only way I envision Valpo winning this one is either by injuries suffered by Detroit or an off night. By this time of year teams are supposed to be firing on all cylinders and while I believe Valpo will be much improved from the beginning of the year Detroit is still too good. Valpo loses, 68-75.

Saturday, February 4 vs. Wright State*
BG: Wright State is always a tough out, but Valpo seems to have WSU's number. Valpo wins, 75-67.


Thursday, February 9 at Cleveland State*

BG: We've never won at CSU and I don't think this is our year. Valpo loses, 58-65.

Saturday, February 11 at Youngstown State*
BG: We've never lost at YSU before, however all the games have been close. I have a bad feeling about this one. I think Valpo loses a squeaker, 75-73.


Tuesday, February 14 vs. UIC*

BG: Home sweet home! UIC will be a great fix for what will be a rough swing through Ohio. Valpo wins, 72-65.

Saturday, February 18 at TBA (BracketBuster)
More on this as we get closer.

Tuesday, February 21 vs. Loyola*
BG: The taste of last years awful late season 20 point loss should still ring fresh with the players. I don't believe they will let it happen 2 years in a row. Valpo wins, 75-65.


Friday, February 24 vs. Butler*

BG: Valpo and Butler played an absolute thriller in Valpo last year. Brad Stevens is a great coach and I think he will have Butler playing very well by the end of the season. I think it's a thriller, but I believe Valpo will be on the wrong end at home this year. Butler gets payback for the early season loss and Valpo loses, 70-74.

Final Thoughts
BG: I made these predictions 1 game at a time without thinking about overall record or having an idea in my mind about how many games Valpo should win or lose. I have the Crusaders finishing 10-8 in the Horizon League. That fits in well with my prediction of a 5th place finish in the conference(last year's 5th place finisher, Detroit, was 10-8). Depending on how the early season tourney and the Bracket buster game goes I have Valpo winning right around 17 games which I think is appropriate for this team. I do have concerns after seeing how Valpo did in their exhibition games, but I also don't believe we are heading for a 2008-09 season in which we won only 9 games.

Predicting the 2011-2012 Season, Part 1

The 2011-2012 basketball schedule is finally here! A quick glance at the schedule and several games immediately jumped out at me. The November 7th game at Arizona (perhaps a happy birthday upset for me), the tournament Valpo gets to host the weekend of November 18, both Bowling Green and Oakland coming to town, and the home finale against arch rival Butler (get your tickets early). This schedule has me even more excited then I already was for the upcoming season. Brent and myself are going to go game by game with some wild and wacky predictions. Enjoy part 1 of our 2 part breakdown!

Saturday, October 29 vs. Hillsdale#
HC: Hillsdale comes to town for the preseason opener. I imagine we will get a glimpse at what Coach Drew hopes will be the starting lineup. Expect everybody to get in on the action to allow the coaching staff a better look at what they have to work with. Valpo wins this preseason matchup 98-52.

BG: Every college program likes to try and start the year out with a couple of gimmes and Valpo is no exception. I expect Valpo to have some serious sloppy play to begin the season, but Hillsdale is just what the doctor ordered. They will have an opportunity to play under Coach Drew's new system and make some tweaks in an actual game situation. Valpo wins 88-60.

Thursday, November 3 vs. Augustana#
BG: Preseason game #2 provides more opportunity to play with the lineup and tweak the offense. Again, this should not be a problem. Valpo wins 86-57.

HC: The preseason finale will feature Augustana. We should get a better idea of what the rotation might look like and who the starting lineup will feature for the season opener. Ultimately, everyone sees action once again and Valpo cruises to a 101-59 victory.

Monday, November 7 at Arizona
HC: Valpo will open it's season at Arizona as part of the 2K Sports Classic tournament. Arizona returns 3 starters from last years team that finished 30-8. Valpo will need some hot shooting and stellar inside play to stick around in this one. Arizona pulls away in the second half and wins this one going away against a Valpo team still learning to play together, 77-60.

BG: The fact of the matter is Valpo never plays well against big time schools during the nonconference schedule. This year will be no exception and though Arizona will have very little scouting for our new offense their athleticism will absolutely overwhelm us. I think we'll put in 1 really good half of play, but the other half will see the bottom fall out. The only question, which half will be which? Unfortunately, Valpo is going to drop the season opener, but unlike Hank, I believe it'll be a little closer because Arizona isn't exactly known for stellar defense, 70-82.

Friday, November 11 at Georgia Southern
BG: Georgia Southern was an extremely young team last year and they showed it by finishing last in the Southern Conference. They will undoubtedly be playing with a chip on their shoulders, but Valpo is much more seasoned and will be playing with a bit of fire after the Arizona game. Coach Drew gets his first regular season victory, 82-71.

HC: Georgia Southern returns four starters and another four players who averaged better then 17 minutes per game last year. They are a relatively young team, only two seniors, and height wise should be a good matchup for Valpo. GS did not have a very good year last season being outscored by 10 points per game and finishing with a 5-27 mark last year. I think Valpo goes on the road and picks up their first victory of the year 73-67.

Monday, November 14 vs. Holy Cross (Ind.)
HC: Holy Cross comes to the ARC for the first home game of the year. Their roster only list 10 players and not a lot of height. The Crusaders will not make the Saints short bus ride home a pleasent one. Valpo rolls, everyone plays and scores, and the results are a home opening victory, 82-58.

BG: Just like the preseason every team likes to open their season with some gimme's and they especially want to do that for a home opener to help excite the fan base for the season. Holy Cross is going to be over matched and out played all night long. Valpo cruises, 79-51.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday, November 18/19/20 Opponents TBA @ ARC
More on this when it is announced!

Friday, November 25 at Ohio State
BG: Ohio State will be a top 10 team when the season opens lead by last year's stellar frosh Jared Sullinger. OSU did lose two top players in Lighty and Diebler to graduation, but Matta is bringing in one of the top recruiting classes this year. As is always the case Valpo will be exposed by the athleticism of OSU and this will be a long night. Valpo loses, 52-87.

HC: Another tough test on the road against a highly ranked opponent. This one could get ugly as I don't Valpo's bigs can compete with the likes of possible Big 10 player of the year Jared Sullinger. This will be a good warmup in a tough environment before the Crusaders head to Butler. OSU takes this one 83-60.

Saturday, December 3 at Butler*
HC: The Crusaders took down Butler last season in one of the most exciting home games I have witnessed at the ARC. Last season at Butler, the Crusaders struggled shooting the ball early and dug themselves into a deep hole. Had this game been after the new year I would take Valpo, but I'm going with Butler to take this one is a nailbiter, 73-70.

BG: Valpo finally got over the hump against Butler at home last year however, Butler got over its mid season slump on the way to another improbable national title game run. Butler's team has been absolutely gutted with Howard and Vanzant graduating and Mack gone to the NBA. A solid freshman class is going to need to fill in the holes, but I don't think they'll have it together this early in the season. Valpo takes the next step and beats Butler at home but not before these two teams play their usual close game, 71-68.

Wednesday, December 7 at IPFW
BG: IPFW has lost 2 starters from last year due to graduation, but this is a solid team and no longer a gimme as in the past. IPFW doesn't exactly play a difficult schedule and the Summit League isn't a talented league as a whole. Valpo should continue the the winning streak, but they should not look over the Mastodons, 72-66.

HC: This is Valpo's third straight road game, but this one will end in Valpo's favor. Valpo took down IPFW by double digits at home last year, but on the flip side IPFW was undefeated at home in out of conference games. The Crusaders end their road woes and win this one 68-61.

Saturday, December 10 vs. Bowling Green
HC: This could be a good one. The Falcons come to Valpo in what will be their 3rd game in 7 days. I think they will have tired legs this early in the year and Valpo will use their deep bench and wear down BGSU. Valpo wins going away, 76-62.

BG:Bowling Green will be looking to come of age this year and is returning all their starters. They went 0-2 against Detroit and UWM last year. They have a history of not playing well during the nonconference schedule. I believe Valpo will come away with this one, 78-70.

Saturday, December 17 vs. Oakland
BG: Oakland lost 3 of their 6 man rotation from last year including Keith Benson who was their best player. The problem with a dominant 6 man rotation is that nobody else really has a chance to develop. They are going to struggle finding help off the bench and by the end of the game I believe Valpo will have worn them out. Valpo wins a close and exciting game, 72-70.

HC: A game most Valpo fans have circled on their pocket schedules. The Golden Grizzlies come in a bit shorthanded from last season having lost some of their better talent. They are a tall team, although most of their height is young guys. I think this could be an exciting game but think Valpo will win by a bit more then Brent, 77-69 with Valpo hitting some freethrows late.

Tuesday, December 20 at Northern Illinois
HC: It appears the Huskies will return only 5 players from last years squad. This will also be their 3rd game in 7 days. Once again, I expect Valpo to get out in transition and use their depth to wear out NIU. Valpo takes another one on the road 75-61.

BG: NIU appears as though they will not be very good this year and their cause isn't helped by the fact that they lost the only double digit scorer from their team last year in Xavier Silas. This should be and easy W for Valpo, 88-60.

Friday, December 23 at IUPUI
BG: IUPUI is a terrific team in the backcourt and will definitely present a matchup problem. However, their frontcourt is extremely weak and they will not be able to get valuable second chance shots because their rebounding is atrocious. Valpo might be well served to feed the big guys a Christmas feast on this night. Valpo wins, 66-58.

HC: IUPUI is led by senior Alex Young. If the Crusaders can contain Young they will win this game. This is a good team that has some depth and some size. This would be a nice road win for the Crusaders and I'm going to pick them to stay on a hot streak and win this one close, 69-67.

Thursday, December 29 vs. Milwaukee*
HC: Now the fun really begins. Reigning Horizon League champion Milwaukee comes to the ARC bringing back a pretty solid team. Several JUCO transfers and Tony Meirer (and Kaylen Williams?) will mean this team will be no pushover. But, this is a Valpo home game and last year Valpo was real good at home. I see this as the game Valpo starts to really click as a team. They will win this game 74-68.

BG: Milwaukee is bringing in some good JUCO recruits, but it just won't be enough as both teams suffer some post Christmas hangover. It might be an ugly affair, but I give the edge to a deeper Valpo team, 60-55.

Saturday, December 31 vs. Green Bay*
BG: If you've read my Horizon league predictions then you know I'm higher on Green Bay than Hank (if you haven't read it yet what are you waiting for?!). I think Valpo will suffer without having the energy of a lively student section during break. Brown will be a tough matchup, but I believe Valpo squeaks by on this one, 69-65.

HC: The last day of 2011 will bring in another tough Horizon League opponent. The Phoenix of Green Bay will be a tall task to take down for the Crusaders. Last season Green Bay took down Valpo on both occassions by a combined total of 3 points. Alec Brown is a skilled big man and is a SectionEE player to watch this year for a reason, I suspect he will wreak all kinds of havoc in the paint on both ends of the court. With that said, this is a VU home game and I think Valpo pulls this one out in another close affair, 77-74.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crusaders on TV

The Horizon League released the TV schedule for it's teams the other day.  Below is the list of Valpo you can catch along with the network to find it on.  If you can't make the game in person you will be able to check out a handful of games on television.  Note, ESPN3 can be viewed on your Xbox 360 if you have one.  Also, you should be able to see all the games online on the Horizon League website.

November 7th    at Arizona      ESPNU

January 6th        at Detroit       ESPNU/ESPN3

January 28th      at Milwaukee HLN GOTW

February 24th   vs. Butler        ESPNU

For a complete list of all Horizon League teams playing on television you can click here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Link to the 2011-2012 Schedule!


Here is the link to the schedule for the upcoming season for the Crusaders!  Please check back soon for our game by game predictions for the 2011-2012 season!!