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Friday, December 30, 2011

Conference PPS

I'm keeping track of my Player Productivity Scores and thought you might be interested in seeing how some of the guys are scoring in conference play.  These scores are figured using a formula and only information found on a box score.  I think you will find at least one of these scores quite astonishing.  Last year, all conference players scored over over a .7 while the elite of our conference (N. Cole) scored out at a .9 (these scores were figured using all game stats not just conference stats like what I'm doing this year).  With two games in the book and a one - one record here are your PPS scores.

R. Broekhoff  0.98413
K. VanWijk    0.54902
R. Edwards   0.73529
E. Buggs      0.53521
M. Kenney    0.23611
W. Bogan     0.09375
J. Harris       0.04878

Ryan has far and away the highest score not only on the team but also the entire league.  I will post some updated stats after tomorrow's game for the entire league.  For as much criticism as Richie is taking, from me as much as anyone, he has the second highest score during conference play.  When he gets into the paint he is a real good asset on offense.  Will and Jay have been pretty, well, awful in conference play.  For Valpo to have success one, if not both, of these guys needs to find their shot.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Game Wrap Up: What went wrong?

1-17, you can't won't win very often shooting like that from 3 point range.  A lot of those 3's where taken when Erik Buggs was not in the game, and he being out wasn't due to foul trouble!

Outside our aweful shooting from outside the paint, Tony Meier was hot from outside hitting 5-8 from downtown.  Milwaukee was their normal aweful self from the free throw line hitting only 9-18 from the charity stripe.  Unfortunately, Valpo wasn't much better connecting on only 10-17 (fortunately a couple of those misses were put right back in by Ryan Broekhoff).  Kaylon Williams was not very impressive.  The star point guard went 4-10 from outside, 1-5 from 3 point range (although that one was a killer), and all of 1-4 from the line.  He did collect 10 rebounds and dish out 7 assist.  His 7 turnovers however did help keep Valpo going.

Erik Buggs was rolling in that first half.  He scored 10 points and really shut down Williams.  One tweet I sent out, distasteful perhaps but fitting, "Kaylon Williams can run from the cops but can't get away from Buggs" on the 5 second call which probably would have gone for 10 seconds had the ref not stopped it.  I'm not sure why Coach Drew kept taking Buggs out except that maybe he was gassed from chasing Williams around the court.  The offense seemed really out of sinc when he would leave the game. 

Milwaukee is the reigning lead champion for a reason.  Their defense is pretty solid and they have some good players.  Expect them to be a player at the top of the league standings all year.

*Buggs: more on his final stat line in a bit
*Ryan Broekhoff: his left wrist is still wrapped but he played pretty well.  I do wish they'd get the ball in his hands and let him be a little selfish once in a while when the game is close .
* Defense/Rebounding: the team defense and rebounding was pretty solid tonight.  Valpo should win most games when they hold a team under 60 and win the rebounding battle.

*Shooting: as I already mentioned above the shooting outside the paint was astrocious. 
*Richie Edwards: I don't know how many times he is going to flop on the defensive end and give up a layup before he figures out it is hurting his team.  I also don't know how many shots outside the paint he is going to take before it sinks in that maybe he should get inside where he is good.
*Assist/Turnover Ratio: was not good tonight.  10 assist and 13 turnovers is not a winning recipe.
*Valpo fans were tossing out some doozies at the refs this evening.  Keep it classy folks.

Player of the Game
Ryan Broekhoff: another double double for the best player in the HL. 18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists (0 turnovers). I think his wrist might be affecting his shot a bit as he hit only 1-6 from outside.

POFG Runner Up
Erik Buggs: he was the Crusader offense and defense in the first half.   Final stat line: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers and great defense on K. Williams.

Up Next
Valpo will attempt to get back to winning at home and get above .500 in league play as they take on Green Bay on Saturday at 4:05pm.

HL weekend picks

With this being the first real big weekend of league action I thought I'd take a stab at picking some winners.  I can tell you right now I will rarely, if ever, pick against Valpo.  I just can't pick my own team to lose.  My picks to win will be bolded. 

Thursday's Games
Green Bay @ Butler
Detroit @ UIC
Wright State @ Loyola
Milwaukee @ Valparaiso

Saturday's Games
Milwaukee @ Butler
Youngstown State @ Cleveland State
Wright State @ UIC
Detroit @ Loyola
Green Bay @ Valparaiso

I have this being a tough weekend for UIC, I really wanted to pick them over WSU but just couldn't do it.   I like Valpo and Butler to sweep the weekend series over their neighbors to the north mainly because the games are in Indiana.  If you are interested in any of the top stat getters in HL play to this point check out one of my previous posts.  Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Preview: Green Bay

New Year's Eve will play host to a game between Valpo and Green Bay. This a bit of down year for the Phoenix, as they lost two important players to graduation. Those two were Bryquis Perine and Rahmon Fletcher. Quite honestly, the Women's basketball team at Green Bay is having a better year, but they are ranked and went undefeated in their non-conference schedule. Green Bay is coming in at 5-6 on the year, and being but so far 2-0 in conference play. Let's not assume any game will be a win.

Game Preview: Again, I like Valpo's chances in this one. Green Bay is a little down this year, but they still have their stud center Alec Brown, who is only a sophmore. He averages almost 15 ppg and 8 rpg. At 7'1, he only weighs 215. Kevin Van Wijk is only 6'8, but weighs 230. I imagine Van Wijk will draw the assignment, with Edwards and possibly Vucic rotating in and out. It will an interesting matchup to keep your eye on. Brown also blocks 3 shots per game. In terms of scoring, the Phoenix don't have any players that stand out on paper besides Brown, since there the next guy after him only averages about 7 ppg. I think Broekhoff will really have a big game in this one, since Green Bay does not really have someone that matches up too well with him. Broekhoff has size, quickness, and versatility that not too many other players in the Horizon have.

Prediction: Valpo wins 73-64.

Green Bay notables:

Alumni- some notable alumni include Jill Lajdziak, the general manager of Saturn automobiles; Jeff Nordgaard and Logan Vande Velden, both NBA players; and Robert Cowles and Dave Hansen, both now Wisconsin State Senators.

Faculty- Michael Monfils, the mayor of Green Bay, is on the faculty.

UWGB was not established as an institution until 1965.

Preview: Milwaukee

Horizon League play is set to start, besides the first game that was a Crusaders victory at Butler, on Thursday. Milwaukee will be at the ARC, and Valpo will be looking to get a very solid win to open the conference slate. Milwaukee is ahead of Valpo in the standings, but that is due to Valpo only playing one conference game so far and Milwaukee getting two. Still, the Panthers should be one of the top teams in the Horizon this year, and a victory for Valpo will not be easy.

Last time out: Valpo is coming off of a 97-88 loss to IUPUI. The game was very frustrating from a fan's perspective, as there was a lot of lackluster play from Valpo and questionable officiating. Valpo had 33 total fouls called on them, whereas IUPUI had only 19. This translated into 48 attempted free throws for the Jaguars vs. Valpo's 24. Despite the big foul margin, the Crusaders still had their struggles and dug themselves into a hole early on. When IUPUI is going to shoot 15-24 in the first half, it will be rather difficult to keep up. Perhaps the lone bright spot of the game was in the first 8 minutes of the 2nd half, which saw a 28-11 run to tie the game at 54-54. This includes three three-pointers from Will Bogan. The Jaguars responded a little later on with a run of their own, and Valpo never threatened again.

Game Preview: Valpo has played very well at home this year, with the only loss being to Oakland. That game was a crushing 82-80 defeat at the hands of a buzzer beater. I don't want to remind the fans about it. So far Milwaukee is only 3-3 on the road this year, but those 3 losses are to good teams (Michigan State, Marquette, and Northern Iowa). I like Valpo's chances in this contest, since all teams have had a little bit of team to recharge and prepare themselves for the 2nd half of the season. 6 out of Valpo's 8 wins this year have come from scoring 70+ plus points, so I think we are seeing a team that is more offensively oriented. A couple of keys to the game will rebounding (which is something that will be always be important), containing Kaylon Williams, and shooting well. As far rebounding is concerned, UWM is out-rebounding their opponents on average by about 37-33 per game. Valpo averages about 35 per game, and Broekhoff leads the way with his 9 per game average. Kaylon Williams is the star point guard for the Panthers, and his averages include about 12 points per game, and nearly 6 assists per game. Erik Buggs will most likely draw the assignment on him, and the Crusaders will NEED him to stay out of foul trouble and sticking on Williams. And for shooting, Valpo's average is pretty good at almost 48%. But the three point shooting is a not-so-great 32%. I think we need to see Broekhoff (hopefully he will be at full strength), Bogan, and Boggs step up and hit several three pointers for the Crusaders to have a good chance.

Prediction - I will go the optimistic route and say Valpo takes it 76-70.

UWM notables:
- UWM may be a mid-major, but the student population is enormous! They have around 30,500 students. Valpo has around 4,000 or slightly above.

-Apparently UWM is a very strong school for politically related things, as they have produced two heads of state and one head of a college. That is Golda Meier, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel; Alberto Fujimori, the 90th President of Peru; and Larry N. Vanderhoeff, the chancellor of the University of California, Davis. Others include Alan Kulwicki, a former Nascar driver now in the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Frank Caliendo, a very good impressionist and comedian is also an alumni.

- A new campus tradition started in 2008 is the Pantherfest, which is to kick off the academic year. It's basically a festival held at the Summerfest grounds downtown Milwaukee. Some past performers have been Lupe Fiasco, Dashboard Confessional, Kid Cudi, O.A.R., and Common. That is not cheap entertainment. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

'tis the season for statistics

Throughout Horizon League play I will be tracking statistics for several players from every team (several more for Valpo).  With Horizon League play about to really get going I thought I'd post some of the top players in each category after that first weekend of HL play back in the beginning of December.

The top ten PPS players from the first weekend were posted before, but here it is again for your reading pleasure:

1) K. Williams  G  Mil   0.84
2) R. Edwards F Valpo 0.83
3) R. Allen  G  Mil  0.79
4) R. McCallum G  Det  0.79
5) W. Gibler  F  Loy  0.77
6) K. Kelm  F  Mil  0.75
7) D. Brooks  F  YSU  0.75
8) D. Anderson  F  Det  0.75
9) A. Brown  F  GB  0.69
10) R. Broekhoff  F  Valpo  0.69

Some other top 5's from different categories are as follows, remember both Valpo and Butler have only played 1 game each while everyone else has played twice.  I will put name, school then the number.

Points                            Assists                        Blocks
1) D. Brooks YSU 41           1) K. Perry YSU 10           1) D. Eargle YSU  8
2) R. McCallum Det 35       2) T. Harmon CSU  8        2) L. Lowe Det  6
3) G. Talton  UIC  32           3) R. McCallum Det  7     3) A. Brown GB  5
4) A. Brown  GB  31            4) K. Williams Mil  7         4) B. Averkamp Loy  4
5) W. Gibler  Loy  31           5) D. Brito  Loy  7            5) K. Woods But  3

FG Made                        FG Missed                   Turnovers
1) D. Brooks YSU  16          1) B. Allen  YSU  17          1) C. Simon  Det  9
2) G. Talton UIC  13            2) R. McCallum Det  16   2) D. Brito  Loy  8
3) R. McCallum Det  12      3) C. Simon  Det  16         3) D. Brown CSU  7
4) B. Averkamp Loy  11      4) B. Averkamp Loy  15   4) 4 tied with 6
5) 3 tied with 10                  5) K. Perry  YSU  15    

Friday, December 23, 2011

Refs Route Valpo 97-88

Valpo lost a tough game against IUPUI at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse) 88-97.

I would like to tell you that the combination of Young and Thomas was too much to handle and that we just got out played, but unfortunately from my viewpoint that is not what happened. This is one of those rare games that the refs played the decisive role in the outcome. IUPUI was called for 19 fouls and were given 48 free throws while Valpo was called for 33 fouls and went to the line for 24 freebies. 33 FOULS to 19!?!? TWICE AS MANY FT ATTEMPTS!?! The refs were absolutely awful. They called Valpo everytime they touched a member of the Jaguars all the while letting IUPUI throw Valpo players to the ground. I think the Summit League just sent a message through their refs that they are still not happy about Valpo leaving their league. Give IUPUI credit because they made 41 of the 48 attempts they got at the foul line, but their physical play should have netted Valpo at least 20 more FT attempts.

Just to put this into perspective Valpo won nearly every other statistical category. They out offensive rebounded, created more steals, and had less turnovers. Those are typically the stats that should decide a game, not the number of fouls. IUPUI plays a much more physical style than the Crusaders and at least half of their 10 blocks were gained by fouling.

Where do the Jaguars deserve credit (because they certainly deserve some)? They chose their shots much better than the Crusaders did on this day. Alex Young is an undeniable star no one outside of the Summit League may ever hear about, but after seeing him in person I can tell you he is a real deal NBA prospect. We simply had no defensive answer for him. They also came out to play as Valpo looked extremely flat the first 10 minutes of the game. They are extremely athletic as on numerous occasions they out jumped taller Valpo players.

This was certainly a frustrating day for the Crusaders who did manage to tie the game up at 54 at the 12:03 mark in the second half on 3 consecutive 3 point shots by Will Bogan. A lone bright spot on this day.

If you read the play by play of the game it reads like a who's who of missed lay ups. But the problem with that is that it does not tell the story of how many of those layups were missed because the would be Valpo scorer was fouled.

A note of concern is that Broekhoff started the game with his left hand wrapped up and just didn't look right all day as IUPUI was allowed to absolutely bully him around without consequence (with the one exception being that an IUPUI player was given a technical for elbowing him in the face).

Will Bogan was the player of the game for the Crusaders as he shot 5-9 from the field including 4-7 from behind the arc scoring 15. Kevin Van Wijk managed 19 despite being fouled nearly every time he touched the ball. Coach Drew was also called for a technical after a ridiculous missed call on a Matt Kenney missed layup at the 7:15 mark in the second half that happened in front of 2 of the 3 refs.

All in all, when a team goes to the line twice as many times and makes twice as many FT as their opposition when they play a more physical game they will not lose. On this day the Jaguars were handed an early Christmas present by the Summit League officiating crew. I'm not saying that Valpo would have won had the officiating actually been fair, but then again, they did make 21 more FT's and only won by 9...

A special thanks goes out to Erik Buggs who got Hank and I tickets for the game!

The Horizon League play begins in earnest after Christmas with Valpo taking on UWM at home on Thursday December 29. Game time is 7 pm CST. Make sure you get there and cheer loudly to make up for the on break student section.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Game Preview: IUPUI

The Crusaders will conclude the majority of their non conference play Friday when they travel back to Indy to take on former MidCon foe IUPUI.  This game will be played at Conseco Fieldhouse where the Jaguars have already defeated Ball State University this week.  I'm not running a pregame PPS for this game because for some reason the IUPUI website isn't pulling up their stats on my computer.

About the Jags
IUPUI boasts a record of 5-8 with all of their wins coming on their home court (The Jungle?) or at Conseco.  IUPUI is led by only one double digit scorer in Alex Young (19.6 ppg).  Young is also the team's leading rebounder at 6.7 rpg.   The Jaguars started the season only 2-8 but have since gone on to win their last three games.  This is the first meeting for these two teams since the 2006-2007 season where the teams split their two meetings.

Interesting Facts and Alumni of IUPUI
* One of only 22 universities to complete a $1 billion campaign.  Here is a link to make your donation to the Valpo Fund!
* IUPUI offers over 250 degrees
* The Jags have over 30,000 students and over 2,000 full time employees.
* Politicians Dan Coats and Dan Quayle along with astronaut David Wolf all hail from IUPUI.
* Author Norman Bridwell (Clifford the Big Red Dog) is perhaps their most influenicial alumn.

Catch the game
If you won't be at the game you have many options for following along:
1) SectionEE will be there and will be tweeting away.  @SectionEE
2) It looks like you should be able to watch the game through IUPUI's athletic website if you click here

KVW gets back to himself and leads Valpo with 18 points and the Crusaders play much better and win this one 74-69.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Game Wrap Up: An ugly win...

An ugly win is much better then an ugly loss.  It took quite a while, but Valpo was able to pull a way and win this one 59-48 over Northern Illinois.  Valpo played without Jay Harris today, who hopefully will be healthy and able to go this Friday when Valpo travels down I-65 to take on IUPUI.

I didn't follow much of the game except for the tweets from The Times writer Paul Oren.  Give him a follow if you don't already, @NWIOren!

Player of the Game
Ryan Broekhoff: 19 points and 11 rebounds

POTG runner up
Will Bogan: 18 points 5-9 from the field including 4-8 from 3 point range and a rarely seen from a Valpo player perfect 4-4 from the free throw line

Notable performance
Erik Buggs: While he only scored two points (both from the line) he did manage to play without fouling tonight.  37 minutes of action and only 1 personal foul.  He contributed 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals while only turning the ball over 3 times.

Up Next
Up next Valpo will travel to Indianapolis to take on IUPUI Friday in their final tune up before fully embarking in Horizon League play....and SectionEE will be there!  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Game Preview: On the road again

After a heart breaking loss on Saturday to Oakland, Valpo goes back on the road for a couple of games this week.  First stop is Northern Illinois.  A team with an 0-10 record.  Northern Illinois is terrible.  Stats don't lie, the Huskies do not shoot the ball well from anywhere on the court (34% overall, 27% 3 pt, and 66% from the line).  They average only 53 points per game.  There is no reason, absolutely no reason, that Valpo should not go to Northern Illinois and come out with at least a 15 point victory and trip to Gelsosomos for this blogger for some victory pizza.

Some interesting facts and alumni that hail from Northern Illinois include:
* a student body of 25,000 and an alumni population of 225,000
* Graduates of the Theatr  e and Dance school must spend time in Moscow training.
* Dan Castellaneta the voice of Homer Simpson is an NIU graduate
* Sam Hurd, don't know if you've heard of him or not, the former NFL wide out and drug lord is an alumni
* Ned Colletti the LA Dodger GM is from Northern Illinois as well

I suspect we will see Valpo get well again.  I think we will see some real good defense and a very balanced scoring effort with at least 5 guys scoring in double figures.  Valpo wins to even up their road record 74-52.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Game Wrap Up: I really hate to do this...

The Game
This was a wild one at the ARC tonight.  It was a fast paced with plenty of second half drama.  The Crusaders built a big second half lead early, only to get complacent and watch Oakland chip away.  The teams would change leads several times down the stretch.  With the game tied at 80, Valpo had a chance at a final shot but saw Matt Kenney get himself in trouble in the lane and turn the ball over.  Oakland took full advantage of the 4 seconds left.  They got the ball into Reggie Hamilton who went the distance and hit a running bank shot at the horn. 

This is where I'm going to do something I don't like doing, go on a crazy fan rant.  Let me start off by saying I'm huge fans and believe highly in all of these guys.  First up, Erik Buggs.  Buggs has not shown an ability to play without fouling.  He needs to play smarter on defense, move his feet and stay in front of his man.  Tonight he had a couple calls go against him that I felt could have gone either way.  But he also fouled one of the Grizzly big men on a play.  He needs to realize we need his speed on the court and he needs to save his fouls for guarding Hamilton. 

Coach Drew is up next.  How many times does Hamilton have to score before we run a double team at him?  Once Buggs was out we had noone who could stay in front of him.  The zone defense was not the answer.  I feel like Valpo should've been running double teams at Hamilton as soon as he got within 6 feet of the three point arc.  The last play of the game was unbelievable.  Everyone in the gym knew who was going to get the ball, and he got it without any problems.  Why he wasn't doubled or even tripled team is mind boggling.  I don't know if this was poor execution by the players or just bad coaching?  This was an ugly loss that could've been avoided in the mind of this fan.  I'm also not sure why we didn't see more of Richie Edwards.  Now, I'm the first person to blast Richie for his shot selection, which was questionable early on.  I thought Richie played well when he was in there.  He had a couple nice scores inside and even hit a three pointer (blind squirrle finds a nut once in a while). I thought Boggs played ok in his first game as a Crusader.  It looks like he will be expected to be a big contributor considering he played 25 minutes tonight.

To top things off I had got into a verbal altercation with a crotechty old man who got upset that my son was running around above the last row of bleachers.  Guy, there were 10 empty rows below you if his running was really that noisy.  I guess there is a reason he was sitting by himself.  A look at tonight's PPS really isn't surprising.  I predicted Hamilton, Broekhoff, and VanWijk would fill their stat lines, and they did.  Unfortunately, Hamilton posted the highest PPS I've seen to date.

Valpo PPS                                        Oakland PPS
Broekhoff  1.0                                           Williams          -0.2
VanWijk     1.25926                                   Valentine         0.675
Buggs       -0.26667                                   Petros             -0.13043
Bogan        0.4                                           Bader               0.13889
Kenney      0.52778                                   Hamilton          1.47368
Boggs        0.2                                           Lucas-Perry     0.35484

Player of the Game
Reggie Hamilton: 41 points, 5-10 3 pointers, buzzer beater 

POTG Runner Up
Ryan Broekhoff: 18 points and 12 rebounds.  Really wish he would've had the ball in his hands at the end.

Up Next
Valpo will go back on the road and try to regain their winning ways for a game at Northern Illinois on December 20.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PPS Preview: Oakland vs. Valpo

Our Player Productivity Score study continues on as Valpo will welcome formal MidCon rival Oakland to the ARC on Saturday.  Oakland has several pretty decent scores, but they also have a couple very low scores from regular contributors.  Let's take a look at how the teams match up according to PPS.  The players are listed in the order they appear on Oakland's and Valpo's stat pages.

Oakland                                                                          Valparaiso
D. Hamilton         0.88308                                                R. Broekhoff        0.87241
T. Bader              0.46705                                                K. VanWijk         0.83744
C. Petros             0.69632                                                R. Edwards         0.72033
D. Valentine         0.61994                                                J. Harris              0.57674
L. Lucas-Perry    0.53053                                                M. Kenney          0.47843
R. Bass               0.30476                                                 W. Bogan           0.38174
B. Cushingway    0.26667                                                 E. Buggs             0.27315
D. Williams          0.11940                                                *B. Boggs

As you can see by the numbers, Hamilton is playing at a very high level so far this season.  Petros and Valentine are also off to nice starts and are having solid years.  Petros is foul prone and those high foul totals helped bring his number down a little bit.  Williams has played in every game and is averaging over 13 minutes per game.  He has not shot the ball well and is foul prone.  I think the key to a Valpo Victory is keeping Hamilton below a 1.0 score and limiting Petros and Valentine to scores below 0.6.

*For Valpo I included Ben Boggs who I suspect will make his debut on Saturday.  I'm hoping that he will effectively end Tommy Kurth's reign of terror, move Will Bogan to the back up point guard, and put Jay or Ben in the starting 2 guard spot.

Comparing the two teams' PPS this should play out to be a very competitive game.  I will give Valpo the slight edge due to the fact that the game is at the ARC (where Valpo is 4-0 this year).  I think Broekhoff, VanWijk, and Hamilton are going to fill up their stat lines and this game will be decided by which Richie Edwards shows up and can Harris and/or Bogan hit enough jumpers to allow our big guys to do their thing inside.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

PPS - 12/10

Below is the Player Productivity Scores for the guys in the game against Bowling Green State University.  Heading into this game I used PPS for both teams to help me predict a Valpo Victory.  Let's see what the PPS says about each teams' productivity to further assist me in knowing whether this is a stat worth keeping.  We'll look at both teams top 6 guys in terms of minutes played.

R. Broekhoff    1.22857
K. VanWijk       1.00000
*E. Buggs        0.53333
**M. Kenney       0.4
J. Harris           0.71429
W. Bogan         0.16667

*DNP in the second half due to injury
**Monster dunks count as a normal field goal

Looking at Valpo's scores the Crusaders really need Will Bogan to start hitting a few more jump shots.  We have one guard already who really isn't a scoring threat in Buggs, but we can't have two. Let's get that shot falling!  Matt's score might be lower then expected.  He was hampered by the four turnovers he was credited with.  Turnovers also kept KVW's score from being even higher.  He had a case of the brick hands last night it seemed.

S. Thomas       0.64864
A. Calhoun      1.12903
C. Sealey         0.375
J. Crawford     0.71429
D. Brown        0.63333
T. Oglesby     -0.05556

Crawford's score could've been better if he hadn't turned it over 4 times.  Calhoun had a nice score, and it could've been even better had he not missed 8 field goal attempts.

We'll keep looking at these numbers and hopefully can eventually come to a conclusion on the value of this statistic.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Game Wrap Up: Dunk of the year goes to.....

Ryan Broekhoff and Jay Harris scored 20 each and helped pace four Crusaders in double figures to an exciting 82-79 victory over Bowling Green.  This was Valpo's first ever victory over Bowling Green after going 0-8 over the past 65 years.

Broekhoff did most of his offensive damage in the first half and helped ice the game away with a couple free throws and several big steals down the stretch.  Harris picked up nicely where Rowdy left off doing the majority of his scoring after the break.  Matt Kenney (more on him later!) and KVW also scored in double figures.  Kenney had 12 and KVW pounded in 16.

After building a nice halftime lead the Crusaders saw their lead disappear about halfway through the second half.  The Falcons were led by a three consecutive dunks the last, a monster alley oop, actually gave them the lead.  The contest would continue to go back and forth until the closing seconds.  Harris, Broekhoff, Kenney and KVW hit some big free throws down the stretch to keep the Falcons at bay.  Erik Buggs suffered a knee injury at the end of the first half.  He returned and sat on the bench after the half but did not return.  Early word is it is a sprain which hopefully means he will be able to return by next Saturday.  Buggs' presence was sorely missed on the defensive end as Jordan Crawford (maybe quicker then Buggs) scored at will and led his team with 20 points.

Welcome to the jam session
There were some ridiculous dunks in this game.  KVW had a big jam after catching a pass while cutting through the lane.  A few moments earlier SectionEE author Danny mentioned he'd never seen a KVW dunk.  A'uston Calhoun had an in your face jam over KVW and finished off that big alley oop.  But, the dunk of the night had to go to Matt Kenney.  With the full court press on, Valpo threw deep to Kenney.  He tracked it down, went up with Crawford right in his face, and reminded Jordan Crawford that he is only 5'6'' (photo below, borrowed from @jeff_vu on Twitter).

The Crowd
Balloon Do's
Balloon Don'ts
Pretty good crowd tonight.  Lots of people from the community filling the seats.  Now to the student section.....great job filling up your section but you have to participate!  The balloons are for waving and distracting the opponents, not for making hats.  I wish I could say that it was only a few, but it was the majority.  Great job by the 5 or 6 guys down at floor level...time to get the rest of the students involved.  Geesh. Please note the photos for the do's and don't of balloons behind the hoop.

Player of the Game
Ryan Broekhoff: 20 points and 9 rebounds.  Another great effort by the best player in the Horizon League!

Runner Up: Jay Harris: 20 points and 5 rebounds.  He really carried the team offensively in the second half.

Up Next
The Crusaders welcome old rival Oakland on Saturday, December 17.  Valpo will need to be more consistant on defense if they hope to come away with another victory.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bowling Green Preview

On Saturday night, the Crusaders will be hosting Bowling Green State University. The Crusaders will be looking to avenge a 85-76 loss to IPFW on Wednesday night. Bowling Green comes into Saturday's game at 5-3, with an 0-2 record on the road. Valpo is sitting at 6-3 on the year, with last Saturday's win against Butler the highlight of the season so far.

Last time out: Valpo could do nothing to stop IPFW as they shot a blazing hot 61% for the game. Valpo shot well for the game at 51%, but it makes it difficult to stay in it when the opposition is hitting so frequently. The main difference was in 3 point shooting, where Valpo only shot 35% for the entire game. IPFW again was unstoppable behind the arc hitting 58% of their treys. The Crusaders still had a shot to win as they had a one point lead with 14 minutes left to play. But IPFW went on a run right after that, and Valpo never recovered. Ryan Broekhoff led the team in scoring with 20.

Game Preview: Bowling Green has beaten Detroit this year (67-61), a Horizon League foe Valpo will be very familiar with by the season's end. The only other regular season win for Bowling Green has come against Austin Peay. As mentioned before, BGSU has not won on the road yet this year, so the Crusaders should have a slight edge in that area. Especially considering the Crusaders are undefeated at 4-0 this season. BGSU averages 66 points per game, and the Crusaders are giving up about 67. BGSU is an offensively balanced team, with the scoring leader being Scott Thomas, a 6'7 senior forward. They are comparable to Valpo in depth, in terms of minutes played. BGSU has 6 players averaging 20 minutes of more, with the 7th man being just under. Valpo is the same, with Richie Edwards being the 7th man, and he is at 19.7 mpg. Overall, we can expect a very interesting competitive contest. Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk keep showing us why they are so valuable to the team by posting consistent number. Van Wijk had 15 points and 9 rebounds in the IPFW game. The player to watch, in my opinion, will be Richard Edwards. He played very well at Butler, especially down the stretch. He had 18 in that contest, but just 2 points against IPFW. Look for him to get back on track in this one.

Prediction: I have confidence the Crusaders will get back on track and stay undefeated at home. Valpo takes it 65-59.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A PPS Preview of Saturday

For anyone who has read this blog before you know that I like tracking something I'm calling the Player Productivity Score (PPS). Remember, PPS is figured using a formula takes into account only statistics that appear in a final box score. The final score should tell you how many positive things a player does per minute of game time that they play.  

I thought I'd take a look at the upcoming opponent and compare their scores with Valpo's scores.  Danny will have the regular game preview for you shortly.  For this study I'm looking only at players who have averaged more then 8 minutes per game on the season and have played in all (or in KVW's case just about all) of their team's games.  The order the players are listed in is the order in which they appear on their school's statistics website.

Bowling Green                                                      Valparaiso
S. Thomas   0.62389                                        R. Broekhoff   0.80690
A. Calhoun  0.42935                                        K. VanWijk      0.84729  
D. Brown     0.42640                                        R. Edwards    0.72034
J. Crawford 0.32955                                         J. Harris         0.57674
C. Sealy       0.43478                                        M. Kenney      0.47843
L. Kraus      0.20988                                        W. Bogan        0.38174
C. Black       0.30968                                        E. Buggs        0.27315
T. Oglesby  0.40678                                         T. Kurth         0.08197

From looking at each teams' schedule I'd say Valpo has played the tougher opponents so far.  Valpo has also played one more game (which could make the scores fluctuate a little bit in either direction this early in the year).  Out of the 16 players listed Valpo guys fill up 5 of the top 6 spots. Judging from the PPS scores Valpo should win this game.

IPFW wrapup

IPFW just played the game of their life. They seemingly didn't miss a shot shooting nearly 20% higher than their season average. Valpo couldn't hit a free throw and that spelled doom for the night nor did they seem to know how to play defense. IPFW continues to come up with victories against Valpo 3 out of the past 4 years.

Frank Gaines scored at will from the inside and out as he led the Mastodons with 24 pts who had 4 of their 5 starters in double figures. The Crusaders came out flat after a great game against Butler on Saturday. Valpo also had 4 starters in double figures led by Broekhoff with 20. The Crusaders were once again seemingly distracted by the 3 pt line chucking 22 shots and only making 8. They must look to get into the lane especially when playing an opponent such as IPFW.

Erik Buggs continues to struggle scoring only 2 pts, 2 assists, and 2 to's and he also fouled out of the game after he had Gaines as a defensive assignment. He has looked sluggish the last few games and it is a concern as the team can really only go as far as he is going to perform. The bench must also play better and shoot better than 4-17 from the field as that puts too much pressure on the starters to do everything and that will be trouble towards the end of the season as they get worn out and/or injured because of the extended minutes they are having to play.

Not too many positives on this night though Valpo did shoot 51% from the field with Ryan Broekhoff shooting 70% from the floor.

Valpo will only have a few days to work out the kinks and find their energy as they are home for the first time since November 20 playing Bowling Green St. Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7:05 CST.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Game Preview: IPFW

The Crusaders finish up a three game road trip with a visit to Fort Wayne in a contest against the IPFW Mastodons.  If you go back to our preseason predictions both Brent and I predict a Valpo Victory in this one.  Valpo is coming off an exciting team win in their conference opener at Butler on Saturday while the Mastodons will try to build off their victory at home over South Dakota.

The Opposition
The IPFW Mastodons are 3-3 on the year with victories over Judson, Nebraska Omaha, and South Dakota.  Their losses have come at the hands of a highly ranked Xavier team, at Iowa, and at home to UMKC.  The Mastodons are led by Frank Gaines and Trey McCorkle.  Gaines is the leading scorer averaging over 23 points per game, is a threat from the outside (10-31), and a turnover waiting to happen (18 on the year).  McCorkle is averaging a respectable 13.5 points per game and nearly 8 rebounds.  IPFW is not a real good shooting team (just over 30% from outside and 44% overall) but they appear to be a decent rebounding squad (outrebounding their opponents by an average of 9 per game).

Factoids about IPFW and Mastodons
IPFW is the 5th largest school in Indiana and the largest in the Northeast part of our state. Notable Alumni include US Congressman Mark Souder, a lady named Jennifer Bosk, and a fella named Tony Laux.

The Mastodon is much more interesting then the university.  Mastodons loved cold weather, had yellow/brown fur, and lived during the ice age.   They had both small ears and tails to help maintain body heat. The mastodon weighed anywhere from 10-15,000 pounds and would eat up to 300 pounds of vegetation a day. The mastodon should not be confused with the mammoth.

Keys to a Valpo Victory
* Rebound on the defensive end.  The 22 offensive rebounds surrendered against Butler is unacceptable.  Valpo won't win if they don't fix this.
* Valpo needs to continue to attack the rim and pound the ball inside.  They have great success doing this all year.  I would like to see the ball come back out once in a while, but I can't argue with the results so far.
* Valpo can't look ahead to Saturday's game with Bowling Green.  If they can keep their focus on IPFW this should be a victory.

I went with a 6 point win in my prediction and I'm going to up it just a bit.  I'll say its a Valpo victory 74-63.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Horizon League Player Productivity Score

The PPS has been revamped a bit since I last posted anything on it.  To see the old formula click here.  PPS is calculated using only the information on the box scores. Throughout this season I will be tracking some of the main guys from each HL team, and a few extra players from Valpo.  After the first weekend of games here it how the top ten stack up.  Please remember, all teams have played two games except for Butler and Valpo.  Listed is their rank, name, position, school, and PPS.  A couple more notes, all forwards and centers are listed as F to make my life easier later on. I also am noticing that I only have it set to go two decimal places. This will be adjusted later on as well.

1) K. Williams  G  Mil   0.84
2) R. Edwards F Valpo 0.83
3) R. Allen  G  Mil  0.79
4) R. McCallum G  Det  0.79
5) W. Gibler  F  Loy  0.77
6) K. Kelm  F  Mil  0.75
7) D. Brooks  F  YSU  0.75
8) D. Anderson  F  Det  0.75
9) A. Brown  F  GB  0.69
10) R. Broekhoff  F  Valpo  0.69

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Game Wrap Up: Victory at Hinkle

The Valparaiso Crusaders snapped a long winless streak at Hinkle Fieldhouse with an overtime victory over the Bulldogs 77-71!  Hopefully the live blog thing worked out for anyone following, this was my first effort at a live blog while using my IPod.  Lets get to some of my thoughts from the game at Butler, plus a little something extra after the game.

Hinkle Fieldhouse was nice.  This was my first experience there.  Butler is just like other Indy sports team turning up the volume to make it sound louder then it really was.  I do believe there must have been a microphone down by the student section as well....lame.

The Alumni Event
The event was nice.  The food was so so.  The hosts (Butler) were quite rude.  They are fully aware of what the program was for our event and as soon as Homer begins his talk the band starts playing and they get loud.  What does Homer do...he leads us in a Lets Go Valpo chant!  That was fantastic!  Homer spoke to the crowd of 90 or so about the importance of giving to the university, getting checked for cancer, and gave us some players to watch from both teams.

The Game
For my semi play by play of the game you can click here.  The Crusaders were able to grab a 7 point lead at the half.  We watched that lead disappear and saw Butler take a 7 point lead.  The game went back and forth the rest of the way.   Valpo put 5 guys in double figures (Edwards 18, Broekhoff and Buggs both had 13, Bogan 11, and KVW scored 10).  The Bulldogs had three finish with double digit points (Nored 17, Smith and Jones both with 10).

I thought Valpo did a nice job forcing the ball inside to KVW and Richie Edwards.  Those guys do a nice job attacking the basket, but I would still like to see them kick it back out when the double teams come.  I'd also be just fine if Richie decides not to shoot anymore 3's!  I thought Will Bogan played a nice game offensively and I was also impressed with how often Buggs was attacking the lane.

I do think Valpo was lucky (probably not the right word but I'm going to use it) to get out of Indy with a win.  The perimeter defense was terrible.  Anytime Butler ran their three guards in a weave at the top they wound up with an easy lay in or an open jumper.  Fortunately, they didn't run this offensive set real often.  Butler also managed to pull down 22 offensive rebounds.  That is a rediculous amount.   I'm excited to see how both teams improve between now and the end of February when they meet again at the ARC.

Player of the Game
Ryan Broekhoff - 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 42 minutes played

Honorable Mention
Richie Edwards - 18 points, 3 rebounds, 6-8 free throws, and one quiet down jesture to the Butler student section

Ryan gets the nod over Richie in my opinion.  Ryans minutes played, a couple key three points, and all his rebounds gave him the edge.  Richie did a nice job filling in for the foul plagued KVW.  He did miss some easy lay ins and threw some pretty ugly jumpers but Valpo doesn't win this one without his inside play.

After Party
After the game my wife and I drove back to Valpo and had dinner at Gelsosomos Pizza.  When heading up to pay for our meal there was the coach himself Bryce Drew.  He had quite a carry out and seemed genuinely interested in striking up a conversation with us for the few minutes we stood there together.  He said it was a fun bus ride back north!  Great first Horizon League win for the team!

Valpo vs blog!

12:27 got a few butler guys warming up. Time to head down to the alumni event.

1:12 that was an expensive burger...just got a visit from our ad and we are waiting to hear from Homer!

Game time

I am pretty sure they just turn up the speakers for intros...typical Indy team

17 to go down 1...rowdy a big 3

First break 8 - 5 butler

Valpo up 1 at the 13:15...Ryan has 7

Under 12 break has this one all even. Buffs has 2 fouls early.

Kenney picks up his second...gotta start hitting free throws

8:51 down 3...two bad defensive trips in a row leads to a valpo timeout

Hopkins hurt...VU needs a score and a rebound!

Under 8...24-19 butler... Harris playing bad defense

Nice run by valpo led by KVW and buggy ties the game at 24

Under 4..valpo up 2. Edwards with an airball three after he told the butler to quiet down.

Biggs 3rd foul...uh oh

Another nice run and good d puts valpo up 7 at the break!

2nd half here we go! Time finish!

VU hosed on an out of bounds call...that was bad. Lead down to 4 valpo time out. 17:22 to go

A couple homer calls and the lead is at 4 for valpo...16 to go

14:31 valpo lead is 1 after a Stovall 3

12 to go butler by a point... KVW has 4 fouled

11 to go a rowdy three and defensive stop has valpo in a good place!

8 to go valpo still up a pair. Edwards can't buy a jumper.

Just awful d on the perimeter and butler has the lead by 3

KVW fouls out 6:51 down 3

3:15 to play valpo is chasing 3 Edwards with 2 freebies coming. Smith has fouled out.

2 to play down 2 Kenney to the, in!

A three from bogan gives the valpo the lead a foul puts butler at the line...miss! In

Bogan blows, a layup butler to the line valpo. Should get a shot to win it 20 seconds left ...miss rebound butler time out...ugh

Turnover 1 second ... Time for ... The play!

Kenney hits it, just after the buzzer. On to it!

Teams trade scores to start the it, bugss to the line: swish, swish

Marshall hits 1/2 valpo by 1

Bogan scores on the drive!

2 free throws has valpos lead to 1

Buggs goes 1/2

T.o. Butler and Edwards scores lead to 4

Buggs fouls out on a bizarre play, 2 shots for nored: 2/2

Minute to go valpo by 2 with the ball

Kenney with the and 1!

Just a matter of time now!

Valpo wins! 77-71 safe travels home!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Horizon League Opener!

We are still about a month away from Conference action dominating the schedule, but the Crusaders get a taste of how they and Butler will be. These teams have a history of playing some thrillers and the fact that Valpo won their first match against Butler as conference foes last time out means the Crusaders have equal footing mentally.

Butler (4-3) has had a rough early season losing their opener to Evansville and struggling against a Gardner-Webb team that was struggling themselves. The game should feature a good inside battle between Andrew Smith and Kevin Van Wijk as both are a key for their teams. On the outside Ronald Nored guarding Erik Buggs will be the other key area for both teams.

Keys to the Game for the Crusaders:
They must make their 3's
KVW has to rebound from his disaster of an outing against Ohio St.
Must continue rebounding edge.
They must keep pushing the pace.
Force fouls and get to the line.

Force Nored to make some shots
Put Smith on the bench
Speed up the tempo with pressure
No second chance points
Out hustle the hustlers

All in all it's going to be a close contest that is going to come down to free throws and hustle plays. Valpo must knock Butler down and keep them down because this is a team that has experience and will make comebacks if they are not kept down.

Hank and I will both be at the game and the Alumni event beforehand, don't be afraid to stop by and say hello!