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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekend Preview: Welcome Home

The Crusaders finally return home after spending the last couple of weeks on the road.  After their road trip, the Crusaders return home in second place and in a perfect spot to make a push for not only one of the coveted double byes, but also for the top seed.  This week, Valpo will host Detroit on Thursday and seek revenge for an earlier loss at Wright State on Saturday.

If you are in the ARC for either game stop by Section EE and say high.  I shouldn't be too hard to find.

Detroit - Thursday, February 2, 6:30pm tipoff
Detroit is a tough team to figure out.  They are clearly the most athletic team in the conference and boast some of the most talented individual players in the entire league.  The question will be whether or not they can play a team style of play for an entire game, and are they willing to play a defensive game if that is what the pace dictates.

In their first matchup at Detroit, Valpo won in thrilling fashion as Erik Buggs drove the length of the court to hit a buzzer beating layup to send Valpo to a 2 point victory.  In that game, Will Bogan went off from three point land hitting 7/8 and leading the Crusaders with 23 point.  KVW chipped in a solid 17 points (he did foul out and only play 23 minutes) and Rowdy finished the night in double figures with 14.  For the Titans, Eli Holman proved nearly too much for our bigs to handle as he hit 8/12 from the field and scored 17 points while Ray McCallum went to the free throw line 13 times and finished the game with 22 points.

The Crusaders have won all three meetings with this group of Titans dating back to last year.  In order to keep that streak alive, Valpo will need to slow down Holman and try to keep McCallum from getting double digit free throw attempts.  Chase Simon and McCallum are going to get their points, just make them throw up a lot of shots (they were both at the top of the FG missed stats at the midpoint) to get those points and limit the offensive rebound/tip dunks.  Note: Detroit has only a 2-6 road record.

Prediction: Valpo wins 77-73.

Wright State - Saturday, February 4, 7pm tipoff
Saturday is a big night at the ARC.  Valparaiso University will induct it's newest class of Athletic Hall Of Famers including Homer Drew. The team will also be trying to get revenge for a disasterous performace a few weeks ago when they got run out of the Nutter Center, 73-55.

In that first matchup, Ryan led the way with a double double (18/14) and KVW had 13.  Everybody else (minus Kenney who had 8) forgot to play on the offensive end that night.  The Raiders were lead by Armond Battle's 23 point performance and Julius Mays added 21.  Mays is having an All Conference caliber season, but has been a bit knicked up lately.  Containing him is essential for a Crusader victory.  WSU outrebounded Valpo in that game and was +7 on the turnover battle. 

I have little doubt that Valpo will get their revenge and maintain their grip on the two seed with a weekend sweep.  Lets just hope they don't start looking ahead to the big road trip through Ohio next week against the other two teams atop the league standings.

Prediction: Valpo wins 73-61.  Here is a shot of WSU's best looking fan.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up: Wisconsin Split

After the debacle on Thursday night at Green Bay, the Crusaders rebounded nicely with a huge win over reigning league champion Milwaukee.  Valpo got solid production from nearly everyone that played today and those who only scored 3 points (Buggs and Bogan) scored those points at huge points in the game.

The beginning of the game had a strange feel to it: lots of offensive fouls, technical fouls, and even an ejection.  Richie Edwards played only four minutes before getting the boot, but it was a productive four minutes.  He manage to score five points and move high up the public enemy list to the Milwaukee fans.  Things settled down about midway through the first half and the game turned into a real defensive struggle.

The two teams shot a combined 35/105 from the field which equates to a 35% clip.  It is known that Milwaukee is not a good offensive team, but what really surprised me was how well the Valpo defense played.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the play of Jay Harris.  He really stepped up and attacked when Valpo needed a spark.  He, Matt Kenney, and Ben Boggs all had nice games and provided other options for Crusader coach Bryce Drew.

I'm not sure what was most impressive in this game.  Valpo was out shot percentage wise, out shot from behind the arc (6 to 5), out rebounded (26 to 33), and out free throwed and still managed to win.  The Valpo defense was outstanding in the second half, holding the Panthers to only 17 points.  Quite a contrast to the defense we have been used to seeing.

I'll probably take some heat for this but that is ok.  I'm not at all impressed by Milwaukee guard Kaylon Williams.  I heard the announcers say that no other team needs their point guard as much as Milwaukee and I'm sure that is true.  I'm just not sold that he is as good as everyone makes him out to be.  He leads the league in assist, he also leads the league in turnovers. He kind of reminds me of Jay Harris, one minute you are gawking at a stellar pass or long three point shot and the next you are scratching your head wondering what he is thinking making that pass (or in Jay's case chucking up a shot). His team's biggest game of the year to date and he scores 5 points on 1-8 shooting and turns it over 5 times.  Granted his one make was a big three pointer and he did chip in 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Kaylon is a nice player, but at this point I don't think he is deserving of the all conference tag a lot of people want to give him.  And what is with the way the guy walks?  Always with that limp.

Player of the Game: Ryan Broekhoff - 11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals

POTG Runner Up: Jay Harris - 7 points, 3 assists, some huge plays when Valpo needed them most.  This was hard to pick.

The win, combined with the win in this evening by Cleveland State leaves Valpo in second place but still in control of their own destiny.  This coming weekend Valpo will welcome in Wright State and Detroit.  Valpo will also induct a new class of athletic Hall of Famers including the legendary Homer Drew.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hall of Fame Homer

 The game against Wright State on February 4th at the ARC will undoubtedly be important.  Valpo will be seeking revenge for an earlier loss and trying to stay a top the league standings.  Also on this night, legendary former head coach Dr. Homer Drew will be inducted in the Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame (I guess his own bobble head just didn't do him enough justice)!

Coach Drew patrolled the sidelines of Valparaiso University for over two decades amassing 371 victories during his reign.  Homer led the Crusaders to nine postseason tournaments including seven trips to the NCAA tournament.  These postseason runs were of course highlighted by the teams Sweet 16
appearance in 1998.

Shortly after he retired I was able to have a brief phone interview with the man who's name graces the court in the ARC.  You can read that interview here.  During that interview we reminissed on the previous year, some of the historical games he coached in, his lasting legacy on the university and community, and the joy of coaching alongside his sons. 

All three Drew's have helped make their family name synonomyous with success in college basketball.  Bryce is leading his alma-mater to a winning record and another shot at the conference title.  Scott is the head man at Baylor who was one of the last teams to lose a game this year and are looking to make a deep run in the postseason.  So what about Homer?  Homer has taken on a new position at the university helping raise money.  He is also spreading cancer awareness for prostate and bladder cancer.

SectionEE wants to congratulate all the Drews on this great achievement and wish Homer and Janet the best in their battles with cancer. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Game Preview: Valpo at Green Bay

Thursday night kicks off the annual Wisconsin road trip for the Crusaders in Horizon League play. As this is being written, Valpo is tied for first in the Horizon at 7-2. Last year they had the same record through 9 conference games, but are hoping to see the winning continue and not collapse like last year. Let's get to it.

Last time out: Valpo downed UIC 60-55 in Chicago, capping off a successful road trip there. Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk competed with each other in who had the best game. This time it was Van Wijk, who is flying is flying a little under the radar considering his recent dominance. The Junior from the Netherlands ended up with 20 points and 6 rebounds - quite a nice stat line. Sophmore Jay Harris also found himself getting back on track by scoring 13 points on 5-12 shooting. Valpo mostly controlled the game, but UIC made a run in the 2nd half. This was answered by a 10-0 Valpo run that put the Crusaders up for good.

Looking to Green Bay: The Wisconsin trip is always challenging for the Crusaders, and considering the position they sit in right now (1st in the league), this is going to be an important couple of games. Green Bay is having a bit of a down year, but let us not forget how quickly they got back into the game when Valpo hosted them at the ARC. Alec Brown is really beginning to blossom into a sensational big man in the Horizon, and honestly, I don't think Kevin Van Wijk matches up with him very well defensively. After all, it is not everyday you draw a defensive assignment against a 7 footer who can step back and hit jump shots, has good quickness and footwork, and can block shots like he's swatting flies. Nevertheless, Green Bay is not a team that is loaded with talent, and I feel Valpo has much greater depth. Any given night can be a night where a player like Jay Harris, or Matt Kenney, or Will Bogan, etc. steps up big on the offensive end. I'm looking for Valpo to continue to stay consistent offensively, but it may be possible they encounter some shooting woes again. Broekhoff will be the man, as usual, and Van Wijk will get his. It is going to come down to the effort of the role players, like Richie Edwards (especially if Van Wijk gets in foul trouble).

Prediction: Horizon League games are more often battles than shootouts, and like Hank mentioned before, I rarely (if ever) pick against Valpo.

VU wins 66-60

Monday, January 23, 2012

Halfway Home HL Stat Leaders

Well we have arrived at the midpoint of the conference season.  Some teams are thrilled with the results of the first nine games (Milwaukee, Valpo, Cleveland State, Youngstown State) while others might be filling a bit of disappointment (Detroit).  At the same time, we are getting a good idea of who the top players are.  Some of these names were expected (McCallum, Broekhoff, Brown) and some are surprising (Van Wijk, Kamczyc, Gibler).  The league has had so many close games so far and I suspect we will see even more great finishes the rest of the way.

The following shos the top 5 guys statistically in each category for league play only.  I'm not tracking everybody, just the guys who have been key contributors in all games.  I've done my best to look at every box score and have manually punched in all the numbers (so there may be a mistake or two) for the nearly 40 guys I'm tracking.

PPS - production per minute of playing time
1) Van Wijk   Valpo   0.94366
2) Broekhoff Valpo   0.83849
3) Holman     Det      0.83333
4) McCallum Det      0.72078
5) Brown       GB       0.71672

Minutes                       Points                             Rebounds
1) Allen/YSU/327              1) Van Wijk/Valpo/153          1) Broekhoff/Valpo/78
2) McCallum/Det/308       2) McCallum/Det/143           2) Brown/GB/73

3) Williams/MWK/307       3) Ward/YSU/132                  3) Eargle/YSU/70
4) Talton/UIC/304             4) Broekhoff/Valpo/131       4) Woods/But/55
5) Perry/YSU/301              5) Mays/WSU/126                 5) Gibler/Loy/54

Assists                           Steals                            Blocks
1) Williams/UWM/52         1) Williams/MKW/18             1) Brown/GB/35
2) Nored/But/46               2) Brown/CSU/17                  1) Eargle/YSU/35
3) Perry/YSU/42                3) Perry/YSU/16                   3) Lowe/Det/20
4) Buggs/Valpo/35           4) Broekhoff/Valpo/14          4) Woods/But/12
5) McCallum/Det/33         5) 3 tied with 13                   5) Averkamp/Loy/11

FG Made                       FT Made                         Turnovers
1) Van Wijk/Valpo/56        1) Mays/WSU/43                  1) Williams/MWK/35
2) McCallum/Det/50         2) Gibler/Loy/42                   2) Simon/Det/28
3) Broekhoff/Valpo/46      3) Nored/But/41                  3) Montgomery/CSU/26
4) Ward/YSU/44                4) Van Wijk/Valpo/40          4)  Nored/But/25
5) Simon/Det/43               5) Brown/GB/34                   5) VanWijk and Harris 21

Fouls                            FG Missed                       FT Missed
1) Van Wijk/Valpo/35       1) Simon/Det/72                   1) Nored/But/23
2) Jones/But/29                2) Talton/UIC/67                  2) Van Wijk/Valpo/21
3) Simon/Det/28               3) Averkamp/Loy/64           2) Marshall/But/21
3) Smith/But/28               4) McCallum/Det/62            4) Gibler/Loy/17
5) 2 tied with 27             5) Brown/GB/59                   5) 2 tied with 16

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mid Conference Play Horizon League Awards

It has been a wild first half of conference play this year, but it is time to hand out some awards. A big factor for giving these out is that their team is actually in contention or has prospects for a better second half. There is no doubt my picks will cause some discussion, but that's what we're here for. Have a beef? Leave it on the comments!

Surprise Team: Youngstown State 10-8 (5-3)
I expected YSU to improve over last year, but with wins over Milwaukee and Cleveland St. they have clearly outdone themselves. Regardless of how they finish the season they will be the team nobody wants to see come tournament time.

Disappointing Team: Detroit 10-11 (4-5)
Not having Eli Holman for the first half of the season hurt this team, but even with him back they have been their usual unpredictable selves. All of their conference loses have been close with the exception of the Milwaukee loss. This suggests luck has to turn in their favor at some point to pull off some of those close games. However, many quietly (including me) expected them to win the conference this year without much fuss.

Coach of The Year: Rob Jeter, University of Milwaukee
He has done an incredible job of melding new players into the current team after some significant subtractions after last year. All the while he has kept UWM at the top of the Horizon League.
Also i
n the hunt: Bryce Drew, Valparaiso and Jerry Slocum, Youngstown State

Defensive Player of the
Year: D'Aundrey Brown, Cleveland State
D'Aundrey leads the league in Steals (2.6 pg) and he also has the second best +/- average in the league. He has been one of the biggest reasons CSU has continued their success this season.
Also in the hunt:
Kaylon Williams, UWM, Damian Eargle, YSU, Ronald Nored, Butler, and Alec Brown, GB

Man: Jay Harris, Valparaiso
Jay averages 10.8 ppg, 2.8 ast, and shoots 87.2% from the free throw line which means he is in at the end of games. Sixth men are all about providing a shot of energy on the offensive end and Jay does just that.
In the hunt: Tony Meier, UWM

Best Freshman: Anton Grady, Cleveland State
He has been a stat stuffer off the bench and a real asset for CSU. He is averaging 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, and 1.3 bpg. And oh yeah he's shooting 55.3% for the Vikings which means he's taking good shots.
In the hunt: Joe Crismon, Loyola, Reggie Arceneaux, WSU, Marc Brown, UIC, Roosevelt Jones, Butler, and Keifer Sykes, GB

Most Valuable Player: Rya
n Broekhoff, Valparaiso
Ryan goes for 14.9 ppg (3rd in the league), 8.9 rbg (1st), and shoots 50% from the field (10th). He has been Mr. Everything for the Crusaders this year and he is actually battling teammate Kevin Van Wijk who is first in points and field goal percentage in the league and has been a real bear down low for opponents this season.
In the hunt: Kevin Van Wijk, Valparaiso, Ray McCallum, Detroit, Kaylon Williams, UWM, and D'Aundrey Brown, CSU

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Road Warriors?!?! (Let's hope so!)

The weekend excursion to Chicago should be a good one for the Crusaders provided they do not pull a famous flop at an unexpected time. They have momentum after a huge weekend beating Youngstown St. and Cleveland St. at home last weekend. Valpo takes on Loyola Thursday night and Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.

Valparaiso 12-7 (5-2) vs. Loyola 5-12 (0-7) Thursday 7 cst
Loyola is having the season many expected and have yet to beat a Horizon League foe. They have lost 5 out of 7 conference games by 10 or more points, but did manage to take Youngstown St. to overtime (@YSU). Forwards Ben Averkamp and Walt Gibler provide the only real offense for the Ramblers at just under 15 ppg each. Loyola holds opponents to 60 pts a game, but that is more a cause of the slower pace the team prefers because they only score an average of 56 points a game. They are however, 3rd in the league at free throw shooting at 72% so we will need to keep them off the charity stripe.

The Crusaders are going to look to get out and run and get Loyola behind early to put the game away. If they can get up early this would be a good game to get some lesser players into the game to see what we have sitting at the end of the bench. However, the Crusaders should not overlook the Ramblers as they have nothing to lose and will be looking for that first victory. Kevin Van Wijk and Ryan Broekhoff should not have much of a problem getting theirs and should really be able to dominate this game. To avoid the upset the team needs to settle in and look for good shots and not settle for 3's time after time. If Valpo wants to contend for a league title they cannot lose games they are supposed to win and I don't believe they will lose, but this does seem to be a bit of a trap game.

Valparaiso vs. UIC 6-11 (2-5) Saturday 3 cst
Valparaiso caps the weekend roadtrip by playing at UIC. Their two league wins include one over crosstown rival Loyola and enigmatic Detroit. They also took UWM and WSU to overtime so this is a team that could just as easily be 4-3 in the conference and they present the biggest challenge for the Crusaders on the weekend. The Flames are led by the trio of Daniel Barnes, Gary Talton, and Darrin Williams. This is a team that is light on defense and very streaky offensively. They have the ability to battle UWM one night and get blown out by YSU the next. This is a dangerous team that goes for the homerun and if they are on it's out of the park, if they are not then it's ugly. They will also take advantage of freebies and get after rebounds for second chance points.

The key for the Crusaders is going to be to get on Daniel Barnes early and pressure him into turnovers and feed Kevin Van Wijk to get Darrin Williams on the bench with early foul trouble. He is also their tallest player at 6-9 so we must use that height advantage on the boards and in the lane. This is another game that Valpo cannot afford to lose if they are going to compete for a conference title.

If Valpo can get these two road wins that will set them up nicely for a Wisconsin road trip next weekend that will go a long way to deciding who will win the Horizon League. If they lose they will hand Milwaukee a stranglehold on the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament and the right to host that tournament for a second straight year. Even though the Conference schedule is only about half over these next four road games will determine the rest of the season.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Valpo Earns shoutout in weekly watch

Andy Katz gives Valpo some due for their big weekend. Check out the More Teams that Impressed us section under shout outs. That is some great recognition for the Crusaders after a great weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Updated HL PPS and Other Stat Leaders

Next weekend should be the halfway point for conference play.  So far here are your statistical leaders. We'll do the top 5 in each category.  I'm tracking many more categories and I'll post all the top 5's in every category after next weekend's games.

Player Productivity Score - how productive the player is per minute of game time
1) Broekhoff   Valpo   0.91775
2) Van Wijk     Valpo   0.91716
3) Holman         Det    0.89855
4) Brown           GB     0.75833
5) Gibler           Loy     0.74026

Minutes                                  Points                          Rebounds
1) McCallum  Det   278        1) McCallum   Det     130    1) Broekhoff  Valpo 65
2) Simon        Det   272        2) Mays           WSU   126     2) Brown       GB      62
3) Mays         WSU  267        3) Van Wijk    Valpo  119     3) Eargle       YSU    52
4) Allen          YSU  263        4) Gibler          Loy    110     4) Gibler        Loy    49
5) Williams   UWM  245        5) Ward          YSU    106     5) Woods       But    48

FG Attempted                    FT Attempted               Turnovers
1) McCallum  Det   102       1) Mays            WSU   51     1) Williams    UWM   28
2) Simon         Det  101       1) Van Wijk      Valpo  51     2) Simon        Det      25
3) Averkamp  Loy   90        3) Gibler            Loy    50     3) Nored        But      23
4) Brown         GB   83        3) Nored           But     50     4) Montgomery CSU 19
4) Mays          WSU 83        5) Brown           GB      41     5) Averkamp  Loy     18

KVW is right up there in points despite playing only 169 minutes so far.  Broekhoff was 6th in points scored at 105.

Game Wrap Up; Too big, too strong....

KVW and the Crusaders proved to be too much for the Vikings this afternoon at the ARC as Valpo took care of the HL front runners 72-66 in front of the biggest crowd of the season.  I thought the key to victory today was the steller defense Valpo and the rebounding.  Not allowing CSU to get set up in their zone press defense was crucial.  When they did get to set up the Crusaders had a hard time advancing the ball, 16 turnovers.

The real story of the day was Kevin Van Wijk.  KVW posted a game high 23 points and played some huge minutes with 4 fouls late in the game.  He flat out dominated the paint on both ends (3 blocked shots).  Outside of Eli Holman for Detroit I'm not sure there is another big guy in the league who can bang with Kevin.

Ryan Broekhoff, Jay Harris, and the birthday boy Matt Kenney also chipped in double figure scoring efforts.  This was another great team win as they collected another 19 assists after posting 20 assists on Friday night.  Valpo will get a few days of rest before they have to head on the road for the next four games.

Player Of The Game: Kevin Van Wijk - 23 points on 10-13 from the field, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocked shots

POTG Runner Up: Ryan Broekhoff - 14 points on only 8 fg attempts, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal

Up Next: Valpo takes to the road for the Chicago trip.  Their first stop will be against winless Loyola Thursday night.  Watch for updated HL stats tomorrow!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Game Wrap Up: Back to the basics

Valpo went back to the strategy that lead to their early season success...get the ball inside!  KVW and Richie Edwards played extremely well on the inside taking at and through Penguin big man, and Horizon League shot block leader, Damian Eargle all night.

Valpo shook off a slow start to finish off YSU 76-62.  The Crusaders got double digit effort games from KVW, Ryan Broekhoff, Richie Edwards, and Will Bogan. Erik Buggs and Jay Harris were the waiters tonight dishing out a combined 11 assists while only turning it over 1 time.  Valpo was outstanding at the line (15/18), adequate from behind the arc (7/20) and outstanding protecting the ball (20 assists/7 turnovers).  YSU had nice games from Eargle, Allen, Perry and Ward but nothing from anybody else.

Damian Eargle got his tonight, double digit points and another 6 blocks. However, he was no match for the strength of KVW and the creativity of Edwards.  His block shots came mostly from helping teammates who had been beat by their assignment.  Eargle did help the Crusaders out tonight though by taking those 17 foot jump shots that never had a chance of going in.

Player of the game: Valpo's Power Forward Position - KVW (23 points 7 boards in 23 minutes) and Richie Edwards (12 points 2 rebounds 18 minutes)

POTG Runner Up: Ryan Broekhoff - 14 points and 8 rebounds

Up Next: Horizon League front runner Cleveland States comes to the ARC Sunday afternoon in what should be a real barn burner.

Side Note: The students came out in good numbers tonight. They were loud and into the game.  But, come on guys and gals those balloons are for WAVING NOT FOR HATS!!!  But, now I'm just getting picky.  Come back out Sunday and give it CSU!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A pivotal weekend ahead

This weekend Valpo will welcome in HL coleaders Youngstown State and Cleveland State Universities to the ARC.  YSU has been the surprise of the conference so far and Valpo will have to play a very solid game to come out on top Friday evening.  The Penguins have recieved solid productivity from Eargle and Ward (currently ranked 3rd and 9th in PPS).  Perry and Allen are in the top 5 in assist while Eargle is the top block man in the league.

CSU has not skipped a beat despite losing conference player of the year Norris Cole to the Miami Heat.  While statistically they don't have anyone at the top of any major categories, they have some nice players in Montgomery, Brown and Kamczyc. Those guys share the scoring load pretty evenly. Montgomery does rank in the top 5 of the league in turnovers.

For Valpo to win either of these games they need to decide who is going to be the third scoring option.  If it is going to be Bogan they need to get him more shots (1 in the last game after he hit 8/9 in the game before that).  If it is going to be Kenney then they need him to provide that punch off the bench. I think it is also imparative that Valpo gets more shots for Ryan.  Whether it is him driving to the basket, posting up, or coming off screens for three pointers our best player needs more attempts!  The team also needs to be better on the defensive end and play without fouling.  Erik has done an excellent job of late of staying out of foul trouble.  I do not think these are must win games.  It is important to protect home court, but I do believe that 4, 5 or maybe even 6 losses will be challenging for those coveted top two spots for the league tournament.

Friday night: Valpo wins 75-70 over YSU

Sunday afternoon:  Valpo wins in OT 86-83 over CSU

Monday, January 9, 2012

Horizon League PPS and other Stat Leaders

Another exciting weekend of Horizon League play has come and gone.  I've updated my stat sheets for conference play only and here are the results:

Player Productivity Score Top 10
HL PPS leader Ryan Broekhoff
1) Broekhoff   Valpo   0.95808
2) Holman        Det     0.84946
3) Eargle         YSU     0.79085
4) Brown          GB      0.75581
5) Mays           WSU     0.73913
6) VanWijk      Valpo   0.71074
7) McCallum    Det      0.68900
8) Gibler          Loy      0.67788
9) Ward           YSU     0.65217
10) Talton        UIC     0.62887

Other stat categories will show top 5

Points Scored                 Assists                       FT Made
1) Mays          WSU   108      1) Williams  UMW  26      1) Mays         WSU  39
2) McCallum  Det      91       2) Perry        YSU   25      2) Gibler        Loy  31          
3) Gibler        Loy      89       3) McCallum Det    22      3) McCallum  Det  26
4) Talton       UIC       86       4) Talton       UIC   21      4) Brown        GB   25
5) Averkamp  Loy      84       5) Allen         YSU  17      5) VanWijk    Valpo 23
                                              5) Buggs     Valpo 17

Turnovers                       Fouls                         FT Missed
1) Williams       UMW  20      1) VanWijk    Valpo  22  1) Nored      But    14
1) Nored             But  20       2) Averkamp  Loy    21  2) VanWijk  Valpo 12
1) Simon             Det  20       3) Humes       UIC    19   2) Gibler      Loy    12
4) Montgomery CSU  17       4) Simon        Det    18   2) Marshall  But   12
4) Averkamp      Loy   17      5) Buggs       Valpo 18   5) Perry        YSU  10

When looking at these stats remember that not all the teams have played the same number of conference games.  If you are interested in other statistical leaders or where your favorite player (assuming he is playing/performing enough for me to follow him) just leave a note in the comment section and I'll get back to you asap.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Game Preview: Detroit

It will be uber-athleticism vs. team work when Valpo heads north to take on underachieving Detroit on Friday night.  Valpo will have their hands full with the talent of Ray McCallum, Chase Simon, Lamarcus Lowe, Doug Anderson, and Eli Holman.   Valpo has had success against the Titans recently and if they can pull out a road victory here that will help ease the uncertainity some of us might be feeling about this team.  Be sure to tune into on your computers or on the greatest home entertainment system available, the XBox 360.

The following couple of paragraphs were taken from the email preview from Mr. Leavitt in the media relations department.  Sorry for the lack of effort on this post on my end, it's been a busy week.

Series Notes: Valpo owns a narrow 9-7 edge in the all-time series over Detroit, but has held a significant advantage since joining the Horizon League, going 7-3 against the Titans over the last four seasons.  Included in those seven wins were three victories last season, as the Crusaders downed Detroit in both regular season meetings before completing the season sweep with an 88-78 win in HL Quarterfinal action on March 4, 2011.  Valpo set a HL Championship record with 15 3-pointers and was led by a 30-point effort from Brandon Wood.

The Road Ahead: This Horizon League weekend concludes for the Crusaders Sunday afternoon at Wright State at 2 p.m.  Valpo then returns home for its only home games this month, hosting Youngstown State on Friday evening and Cleveland State on Sunday afternoon.

Scouting Detroit: The Titans enter Friday night’s clash at 7-9 overall and 1-3 in Horizon League play, having earned their first league victory of the year last time out with a 65-54 win at Loyola.  An up-tempo team, Detroit averages 73 points per game, but also surrenders 68.8 points per contest.  Three regulars average in double digits, led by 15.7 ppg from Chase Simon.  Ray McCallum posts 14.6 ppg, while Doug Anderson adds 10.4 ppg.  Eli Holman, who missed the season’s first 10 games, averages 12.0 ppg and 6.7 rpg as well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

HL PPS (and various other stat) Leaders

After this weekend of Horizon League action I'm crunched some stats and calculated the Player Productivity Scores for the major players on each team.  This weekend I was able to eliminate some guys who's minutes and productivity made them non factors in this experiment of mine.  I hope you enjoy these stats as much as I do calculating them.  To view the previous top 5 in PPS click here.  CSU, Valpo, YSU, and Butler have played 3 games while the other schools have 4 games under their belts.

R. Broekhoff   Valpo  1.031578
E. Holman         Det   0.84906
G. Talton           UIC   0.83088
D. Eargle          YSU   0.80952
A. Brown            GB   0.75912
D. Brooks          YSU  0.73077
K. VanWijk      Valpo  0.7013
W. Gibler          Loy    0.7
R. McCallum     Det   0.64493

* Edwards from Valpo would make the top 10 but he has played not even half the minutes of the others on the list.

Some other stat leaders (top 5) in conference play, these are totals not averages:

Points Scored                                           Rebounds
Talton  UIC   74                                                  Brown           GB     33
Brown  GB    65                                                  Broekhoff   Valpo   31
Mayes  WSU  63                                                 Gibler           Loy     30
Brooks YSU  58                                                  McCallum     Det     29
Simon  Det   58                                                  Averkamp     Loy     26

Assists                                                      Free Throws Made
Williams   UWM   19                                          Gibler           Loy      23
Talton      UIC      17                                          Brown           GB       23
Jones        But      15                                          Mayes           WSU     21
Perry        YSU     15                                          Talton           UIC      19
McCallum Det     13                                          Simon            Det      16

Turnovers                                                 Field Goals Missed
Brito         Loy      14                                         McCallum     Det       33
Williams   UWM   13                                          Brown           GB        33
Talton      UIC       12                                         Simon            Det       32
Nored       But      12                                         Averkamp      Loy       32
3 tied at 11                                                        Barnes           UIC       29