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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All Conference PPS 2012

Last summer I started tracking a stat for player productivity.  This all started with a discussion between Jack Sikma and myself about whether or not Jimmer was a great player or just a great scorer.  As the days have passed and as we've researched and followed more players and teams, I have come to the conclusion that a PPS of 0.7 is an all conference level player.  This seems to be holding true to both a mid major league like the Horizon as well as a major conference like the Big 10 (Jack is tracking).  A score of .9 or above represents a potential national player of the year and a guy who should certainly make hay in the NBA.  Since the Horizon has announced their first teamers I thought I'd share each guy's PPS. 

Ryan Broekhoff, G/F, Valpo Jr (HL Player of the Year) - 0.8118
Kevin Van Wijk, F, Valpo Jr - 0.8108
Kendrick Perry, G, Youngstown State So - 0.70154
Ray McCallum, G, Detroit So - 0.65822
Alec Brown, C, Green Bay So - 0.74627

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Predicting the HL tournament: PPS

I ran my PPS for each Horizon League team.  I will show you the results then try to predict the first two rounds of the tournament using the PPS.  Since, the semis require several teams to play on back to back nights I don't think I can put as much weight on PPS as a predictor.  Originally I wanted to just look at the stats from conference play, but that proved to be more work than I was interested in doing at this time.  So the following numbers are based on each team's entire season. I will list the team (where they finished in the league) and then their PPS.

1) Detroit (3)         0.527
2) Valpo (1)           0.500
3) YSU (6)              0.462
4) CSU  (2)             0.457
5) Green Bay (7)   0.449
6) Milwaukee (4)   0.428
7) Butler  (5)         0.416
8) UIC  (9)              0.378
9) Loyola (10)        0.369
10) WSU  (8)          0.342

Ok, lets give this a try. 
Round 1
Detroit vs. Loyola        Detroit wins by 16
YSU vs. Green Bay       YSU wins by 2
Milwaukee vs. UIC       Milwaukee wins by 5
Butler vs. WSU             Butler wins by 7

Round 2
Detroit vs. YSU            Detroit wins by 6
Butler vs. Milwaukee  Milwaukee wins by 1

So, I predict that the semis will feature Cleveland State vs. Detroit and Valpo vs. Milwaukee.  Like I said above, I don't think PPS can be used much since Detroit and Milwaukee will have had to play in back to back nights.  I like Valpo and Cleveland State to hold serve and face off in a heavyweight title match at the ARC on March 6th.  Let the madness begin!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

SectionEE's Post Season Awards

Here are my winners for this year's EE awards.  Agree, disagree, debate them all you want.  These guys have earned their coveted award and I'm sure they will display them proudly on their imaginary mantle.

Coach of the Year: Bryce Drew, Valparaiso
I don't think this one can even be debated. 20+ wins, Horizon League Champs, a sweep of Butler and Cleveland State.  No other coach lost as much and had as many new faces to get acclimated as first year head coach Bryce Drew.  Many thought this team was a year away, but he has proved his coaching ability is right up there with others who have beared his last name.

Player of the Year: Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso
Again, is this one really even debatable?  4th in points per game, 1st in rebounding, 9th in 3pt %, 8th in steals, and the unquestioned leader of the best team in the conference.

1st Team All Conference
Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso - see above

Kendrick Perry, YSU - top scorer in the league for the most improved team in the conference.  Perry was also tied for 3rd in the league in assists per game and 2nd in steals.

Kevin Van Wijk, Valparaiso - top field goal percentage, 5th in points per game, not sure anybody draws as many fouls and gets to the line as often as KVW

Ray McCallum, Detroit - number 3 in both scoring and assists also 5th in steals.  Keeps his dad employeed.

Alec Brown, Green Bay - 7th in scoring, 2nd in blocks, 2nd in rebounding.  Brown is a tough assignment for nearly every opponent and patrols the paint as well as anybody.

2nd Teamers
Kaylon Williams, Milwaukee - 1st in assists, 4th in steals.  He was kept out of the first team due to all his turnovers (and I just don't care for him).

Ben Averkamp, Loyola - 2nd in scoring, 4th in rebounding, 8th in blocks..he is the best player on the worst team in the league.

Julius Mays, Wright State - 6th in scoring, 5th in steals, 7th in 3pt %, he is really the only big scoring threat on WSU but did manage to lead his team to a couple upset conference wins.

Ronald Nored, Butler - 2nd in assists, 3rd in steals, the heart and soul of the team with the biggest target on their back in the league this year.  He was also an Academic All American.  Nored is also one of the toughest players in the league after suffering that nasty injury to his mouth and returning to play later that game.

Trey Harmon, Cleveland State - felt like I needed to pick someone from CSU.  Harmon was top 10 in points, 3pt %, and steals.

Now what make the EE's special is the obscure categories we award. 

Nastiest Injury
Ronald Nored, Butler - In a home game he goes to the floor after a loose ball only to bang his face, bust a tooth and split his lip.  He would return to action later in the game.

Filthiest Dunk
Doug Anderson, Detroit - In a game at Valpo, Anderson would take a feed from McCallum and go up and over KVW earning himself the top play on ESPN that night. Want to see it again?

Nerdiest Coach
Billy Donlon, Wright State - this was a close category, but Coach Donlon wins the nerdy.  No other coach in the league has his lunch money taken from him as often as Donlon (I assume).  Runner up was Brad Stevens, but his 2 final fours pretty much took him out of the running for first place.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Game Wrap Up: Sending a Message

The Crusaders wrapped up their 2011-2012 regular season tonight with a 12 point victory over Butler.  The win completed the regular season sweep and extended Valpo's win streak to 3 in games against Butler.  The victory also gave Valpo a 13-2 home record this season.

KVW played out of his mind, scoring nearly every time he got the ball inside.  He would eventually foul out but not before scoring 18 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.  Will Bogan scored 14 and Ben Boggs chipped in 11, mostly at the line.  Ryan Broekhoff was kept quiet offensively scoring only 6 but he grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. 

The ARC was electric tonight, although slightly below capacity.  The students really showed up in force tonight and got quite loud on occassion drowning out the Butler faithful who came North for tonight's game.  As the game was winding down and Coach Drew had answered the chants for Shelton the only question was whether the students would rush the court or not.  Well, that question was answered with the Event Staff roping off the court.  After the trophy ceremony, the team rushed the student section!  Fantastic moment.

Now the waiting begins.  Tomorrow's games will wrap up the seeding.  Valpo will have 8 days to rest up and prepare.  Horizon League teams take notice, Valpo is 13-2 at home this year with losses coming at the end of games to Milwaukee and Oakland.  Whatever happens, next week is going to be a fun ride!

Player of the Game: Kevin VanWijk - 18 points 5 rebounds, proved he is 100% tonight

POTG Runner Up: Will Bogan - he has been shooting it well.  14 points 3-5 from behind the ARC

Up Next: Valpo will play the second semi final game next Saturday night in the HL tournament.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

1 vs. 2 to end the season

The number 2 Horizon League team comes to Valpo in a rematch of the first game of the league season. Butler is riding high on a 5 game win streak while Valpo is trying to find some momentum before the conference tournament begins.

It will be interesting to see how Valpo reacts to 1) being the Horizon League target now that they have won the league and 2) how will they play knowing that they really have nothing to play for other than they need to show some improvement over a few lackluster games. Meanwhile Butler has something to play for as they are trying to lock up a bye and the #2 seed for the game.

The only key that matters in this game is for Valpo to get out of the game healthy and ready for the tournament. However, it would send a signal to the rest of the league if Valpo holds home court and sends a clear message that the Crusaders will not be beat at home.

It will be senior night for the Crusaders so look for Nick Shelton and Nathan Stegelmann to get honorary starts as the only seniors on the team. We certainly hope coach Drew can find some playing time in honor of their time and commitment to the team and university. We here at Section EE wish you both the best.

Good luck Crusaders! I cannot wait until we host our first tournament as HORIZON LEAGUE CHAMPS!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why the HL Loves Valpo

Valparaiso is a beautiful small city in Northwest Indiana.  In another week this small city will host the Horizon League tournament semi finals (and possibly the finals).  Six teams, their coaches/players/cheerleaders/bands, their students, alumni, and media members will all ascend upon on our quiet town for at minimum a weekend of basketball mayhem.

The Horizon League has to be excited about the tourney coming to Valpo.  As Mark Lazerus reported last week the league will lose out on some ticket sales, practice space will be tricky, and the locker rooms in the ARC might not be ideal for basketball teams.  The ARC can fit only about half of what Butler and Milwaukee can seat in their home gyms.  The Wolstein Center in Cleveland holds three times what the ARC holds.  What Valpo lacks in numbers it makes up for in energy.  When the ARC is full the enthusiasm and electricity is like no other gym in the league.

The number of convienently located hotels and restraunts will make everyones' stay in Valpo a plesant one (even if your team doesn't win).  Heck, you could even take the 15 minute drive to Chesterton and get a haircut from Valpo fan Matthew Carter at Cuts and Shaves.  There has been some concern about parking, but with the students gone there should be a lot more open spaces, although you may have to huff it a few blocks.

I think one of the other reasons the HL bigwigs are excited to be coming to Valpo has been overlooked, safety.  Using this site I researched the crime rates of Valpo, Indy, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.  These other three citties are much larger then Valpo, but the numbers don't lie.  The crime indices range 1-10. A higher number corresponds with more crime. These crime rates are based on FBI data.

Valpo: Violent Crime: 5   Property Crime: 4
Indy: Violent Crime: 9   Property Crime: 8
Cleveland: Violent Crime: 9   Property Crime: 8
Milwaukee: Violent Crime: 9   Property Crime: 8

So, come to Valpo next weekend.  Enjoy the good eats at our local restraunts, peruse our local shops (stop by rTrail and see my wife's art exhibit in March), and spend your tourism dollars in our small quiet town.  Cheer on your teams and feel safe doing it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Game Wrap Up: Feels good to be #1

It wasn't pretty, it wasn't efficient, but tonight with all the Drews in the house Valpo captured it's first ever Horizon League regular season crown in basketball.  It took five extra minutes, but the wait was worth it (although unnecessary since CSU lost). With tonight's win, Valpo will host the HL tournament, get a double bye (which they already had locked up) and can do no worse then an NIT postseason birth.

Valpo played catch up much of the night, thanks to Loyola taking advantage of our switching defense.  Averkamp would set the pick everytime to draw a switch by either Buggs or Bogan. He'd then simply post them up and score or find the open man when the double team arrived.  But, thanks to some timely 3pt shooting and some tough defense in the OT the Crusaders prevailed.

I don't want to get into specifics, it is late, but I do want to comment on Erik Buggs.  Buggs has been playing fantastic as of late.  He has been limiting his turnovers and staying out of foul trouble (yes, he fouled out late in OT).  His last three games he has dished out 14 assist to only 5 turnovers while playing 88 minutes.  Great job Erik!

We got our guy Danny down on the court for the post game celebration.  Here is what he captured.

Player of the Game: Ryan Broekhoff - another double double for your HLPOY, 17 points (on an off shooting night), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, team high 41 minutes

POTG Runner Up: Will Bogan - 16 points, started and finished off hot for Valpo, 2 assists

Locker room video!

Up Next: Valpo will close out the regular season hosting Butler on Senior Night at the ARC.  Get there early as the place is going to be packed!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Game Preview: Loyola

Tuesday is another "biggest game of the year" game against Loyola.  Last year, in similar circumstances, Loyola came into the ARC and wiped the floor with the Crusaders in a 20 point drubbing.  Will things be different this time around?

Loyola has been the league bottom dweller all year, winning only one game against UIC.  The Ramblers have struggled this year, but do have a couple of bright spots on their roster.  Walt Gibler has had an outstanding year, but will probably not play due to a shoulder injury.  Ben Averkamp has also been playing well all year averaging 14.5ppg. Local product Joe Crisman averages nearly 9 a game, and Jordan Hicks (who led the scoring attack against Valpo last time) is scoring 8 a game.  As a team the Ramblers only average 55.6 ppg.  They played at Butler last Tuesday and kept the game close before falling by 6. 

The big question for Valpo is the health of KVW's knee.  He stayed home from the bracket buster trip to get some extra treatment and I think he his ready to go all out.  With or without a 100% healthy KVW there is no reason/excuse for Valpo to lose this game.  The Crusadesr have too many weapons offensively to be held down by an undermanned Loyola team.  Lets get to the predictions.

Looking at team wide PPS:
Valpo: 0.501115
Loyola: 0.360398

Using the PPS Valpo is clearly the more productive team.  Valpo should win this game by at least 14 points.  I'll go a little over that with my official prediction and say Valpo wins the game and the Horizon League regular season title, 66-50.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Game Preview: Bracket Buster

Friday night the Crusaders will be visiting Los Angelos in a Bracket  Buster matchup against Loyola Marymount.  Valpo left star forward Kevin VanWijk at home to rest and rehad his knee in an effort to get him back to full strength for next week's big conference games.  The Lions have knocked off two top 25 teams this year in UCLA and Saint Louis, both back in November.  They are 17-10 overall and 10-4 in the West Coast Conference.

Looking at their seasons stats, they are barely a .500 team at home at 8-7.  They have four players averaging double figures led by Drew Viney (16.3) and Anthony Ireland (15.4).  They have been outrebounded on the year by their opponents and turn the ball over more then they dish out assists.

It doesn't really matter to me whether Valpo wins or losses this game.  As long as they get out healthy and don't throw up a stinker I'll be satisfied.  With that said, even without KVW I think Valpo can make this a good game.  Erik Buggs will need to have a stellar outing defending Ireland and the Valpo double team will be the key to slowing down Viney. 

Prediction: I think Valpo will be looking ahead to the games coming up on Tuesday and Friday this next week.  I hope the guys have a nice relaxing time in LA and play well enough to not lose the rythm they found in the second half against UIC.  I think this will be a high scoring game with both teams averaging just over 70 points per game.  With KVW sidelined and Valpo's depth at the big positions limited I'll give the advantage to Loyola, 72-63.  Hopefully the guys won't be too distracted by th LMU swim team.

We will have a special post from someone from Valpo who has flown out to LA to take in the game.  Look for that Saturday night!

Some factoids about LMU....famous alumni include Carson Daly, Colin Hanks, and numerous other actors and actresses.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Game Wrap Up: One more to go

With the win over UIC Tuesday night, the Crusaders have earned themselves at least the 2 seed and one of the coveted double byes for the Horizon League tournament.  It was a tale of two halves, as Valpo struggled to find any kind of rythm in the first and couldn't miss in the second.  Richie Edwards and Matt Kenney both had real nice games leading the scoring effort coming off the bench while KVW posted an 11 point effort in his first game back from injury.  My two favorite plays both occurred near the end of the game.  1 - when we called timeout and everyone in the gym knew Valpo going with the HR ball to Kenney and he finished it off with a layup, and 2 - when Matt stuffed the UIC players three pointer right into the floor.

Here are the PPS numbers from the game.  I ran the guys that played major minutes for Valpo plus the team score and ran only the team score for UIC.

UIC: 0.43

Valpo: 0.57
Broekhoff: 0.54839
KVW:  0.27273
Buggs: 0.14286
Bogan: 0.41379
Edwards: 1.38889
Boggs: 0.2381
Harris: 0.3913
Kenney: 1.25

Player of the Game: Richie Edwards - 19 points in 18 minutes.  This guy's improvement is the reason this team is contending like they are.

POTG Honorable Mention: Matt Kenney - 14 points, nearly perfect shooting night, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks

Up Next: Valpo will travel across the country to compete in the Bracket Buster against Loyola Marymount.  We will a special guest blogger who will be at the game making a post that I'm really looking forward too.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Road Ahead

This weekends game has created quite a cluster a top the Horizon League standings.  There are 6 teams that could finish their year with at least 12 wins.  Following, we'll take a look at each of those 6 teams remaining conference games and take a crack at predicting who will come out where.  I have no idea who holds tie breakers over who (except Valpo over CSU) but you can go to and Jim Squire will have that information for you.  Teams are listed in how they currently sit in the league standings.  We'll list team: vs./at opponent (win/loss), final conference record, and then a thought or two about the schedule.

Valparaiso: vs. UIC (win), vs. Loyola (win), vs. Butler (win) 14-4
- Valpo has probably the easiest remaining schedule for the league leaders.  Hosting their final three games including the two bottom dwelling Chicago teams and then rival game against Butler on Senior night. A loss to Butler is possible but with 13 wins Valpo should be hosting the tournament.

Cleveland State: at Milwaukee (loss), at Green Bay (win), vs. Detroit (loss), vs. Wright State (win) 12-6
- While Valpo has the easiest route, I think CSU may have the toughest.  Milwaukee is no slouch and GB can be tough at home (especially if Brown is still out for CSU).  Their final two games are at home which I think they split.

Youngstown State: at Green Bay (win), vs. Wright State (win), vs. Detroit (win) 12-6
YSU gets to host 2 of their final 3 games.  YSU is a team nobody really wants to play, especially with how Kendrick Perry has been playing lately.  I think they run the table in these final three games and finish at 12-6.

Butler: vs. Loyola (win), vs. UIC (win), at Valpo (loss) 11-7
- Butler has the same schedule as Valpo with the exception that they go on the road to end the season. The two home games are gimmies for Butler while the road game at Valpo could probably go either way. Butler, again, is playing some of their best ball at the right time of the year.

Milwaukee: at Wright State (win)vs. Cleveland State (win), at UIC (win), at Loyola (win) 12-6

- I think Milwaukee wins out their final four games with the toughest matchup being that home game vs. CSU (who should still be without Brown). 

Detroit: vs. Green  Bay (win), at Wright State (win), at Cleveland State (win), at Youngstown State (loss) 11-7

- The results of the last two games could flip flop, but I do think that Detroit is talented enough and is playing well at the right time of the year.  They will win 3/4 and finish with a decent (but still underachieving) 11 wins. 

I suppose this doesn't clear up much, trying to predict how this league will wind up is anyone's guess. These last two weeks are sure to be exciting/frustrating.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A PPS Preview: YSU vs. Valpo

I don't have the time today to look at each team's roster, so instead lets just take a quick look at the season PPS for the teams as a whole along with a couple key statistical categories.

Valparaiso: .512344        Youngstown State: .458556

So, like the preview of CSU, Valpo again holds a small advantage in productivity.  Looking at some stats, Valpo players have played quite a few more minutes, turned the ball over a whole lot more, and have made a lot more FG and FT.  The biggest factor for YSU's low score is their shooting percentage.  They have missed 776 FG attempts, compared to 689 for Valpo.  The Penguins also don't shoot a lot of free throws.

Going just by the PPS I'd say Valpo should win the game by 6 or 7.  However, with the unknown status of KVW and Ben Boggs things could be much different.  With the way Richie Edwards and Ryan Broekhoff  have been playing I'll go ahead and stick with the 6 or 7 point advantage.

Prediction: 73-67 Valpo wins and takes advantage of an earlier Butler victory over Cleveland State to stake themselves to essentially a two game lead over CSU.

Valpo vs. Cleveland State PPS results

Below are the PPS results from Thursday's game against CSU.  I only took the guys who played major minutes so you will not see KVW nor Brown from CSU.  The scores are pretty low which is indicative of a defensive struggle.  Both teams as a whole scored out as a unit below their season averages as well.  I'll get a PPS preview for tomorrow's game up later this afternoon.

Crusaders: 0.43
Broekhoff: 1.1212
Edwards: 0.8214
Buggs: 0.5333
Boggs: 0.2
Kenney: 0.1481
Harris: 0.0385
Bogan: 0.0345

Vikings: 0.245
Montgomery: 0.4211
Kamczyc: 0.3947
Grady: 0.3571
Mason: 0.3333
Harmon: 0.1
Pogue: 0.0625
Lee: -0.1667

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crusaders Conquer Vikings

This game was over early as Valpo jumped to an early 17-4 lead and Cleveland State did not manage to get any closer than 12 the rest of the way. Valpo is now in sole possession of the conference lead and they hold the tie breaker over the Vikings by virtue of the season sweep. This also marks the first time that Valpo has ever swept the Vikings in Horizon League play. The biggest story of the night however, is the injury to Kevin Van Wijk in the 1st half that is being reported as a minor knee sprain. He was able to put a little weight on the leg at the end of the game to join a huddle which is a good sign.

If anyone still has doubts that Ryan Broekhoff is the favorite to win Horizon League MVP they need only look at tonight's performance and the way he put the team on his back. Just check this stat line: 24 points, 10 rbs, and 6-9 behind the arc. He had 11 points in the first 5 minutes of the game when Cleveland State only managed 4. Richie Edwards was a nice complement tonight scoring 20, 6 rbs, and shooting 4-7 behind the arc. Valpo did commit 16 TO's to Cleveland State's 10 which would have been a death blow had Valpo's D not been so good.

For the Vikings Jeremy Montgomery scored 15 and had 6 rbs on 5-17 shooting. Most of his points came after the outcome was decided. Cleveland State just looked out of sorts all night. It appeared to be a mix of poor shooting on their part as they missed a lot of easy put ins at the basket and also the Valpo D did a nice job making the Vikings shoot bad shots. They shot 25% from the field to Valpo's 42% which is the stat of the game. This is going to be a team we will see again come league tournament time and to beat them for a 3rd time will be a tall order as this team is much better than they played on this night.

Hrvoje Vucic had better be ready to step up if Van Wijk has to miss anytime. The prognoses post game is that they do not believe he did any damage to his ACL, but they are going to evaluate him. Good thing Richie Edwards is hitting his three's because that will allow us to spread the floor out so the guards can penetrate the lane.

Dinks and Dunks... Rowdy had a nice jam in the closing minutes of the game... Valpo seemed to relax at the end of both halves which allowed CSU to make a run, however Coach Drew seemed to learn from his first half mistake and put the Crusaders back on the attack at the 5 minute mark in the second half... This is CSU's lowest game total since March 2, 2004 when they scored 36 against Detroit.

Next up is Youngstown State on Saturday at 7 pm EST.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A PPS Statistical Preview for Thursday

This is as unbiased as it gets here.  I've used my PPS formula on the major players for both teams in this Thursday's game and also calculated both teams' PPS (Player Productivity Score) for the whole season.  Here are the results.

Valparaiso                              Cleveland State
VanWijk     0.85370                        Grady            0.73134
Broekhoff  0.83146                        Brown           0.59184
Edwards    0.60597                        Kamczyc        0.50212
Harris        0.51000                        Harmon         0.46647
Kenney      0.44134                        Montgomery 0.42922
Bogan        0.30781                        Pogue           0.40123
Boggs        0.23373                        Lee                0.22955
Buggs        0.23214

Valpo Team 0.51562                      Cleveland State Team  0.46458

Here is what I see based on the statistics.  Valpo is the more efficient team as a whole.  VU plays more guys on a regular basis.  However, three of Valpo's starters are scoring out at less then 0.31.  Based on these numbers Valpo should win a close one, however, I wonder what effect the fact of the low scores for Valpo starters will play. 

Obviously the major key to a Valpo Victory will be how they handle the full court pressure from the Vikings.  If Valpo can keep their turnovers at or under 15 hereby limiting the number of extra shot attempts for CSU they should have a real chance of pulling this one off. 

Prediction: I think the fact that Brown is injured and will probably be limited at best is greatly beneficial for Valpo.  If Valpo keeps those turnovers under 15 and gets the averages from KVW and Rowdy they win.  I can't pick against Valpo in the biggest game of the year.  Valpo wins a dousy 76-74.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Game Wrap Up: Bench mob

Valpo only played 8 guys tonight, only got a combined 8 shot attempts for star players KVW and Rowdy, were a minus 6 on the offensive boards and turned it over a whopping 23 times.  All of these things and Valpo still managed to come out victorious.  It was a pretty boring game, but I'll take a boring win over an exciting loss anyday.

The bench guys came in and really carried the team with a combined 30 points.  Richie Edwards seems to have found his grove offensively.  He led four Crusaders in double figuers with 16.  KVW managed 13 and from what I heard puked on the bench (do managers clean that up?).  Matt Kenney scored 11 and Ryan managed to get into double figures with 10 by converting free throws at the end of the game.

Richie has played very well these last two games and four minutes.  He is hitting some three pointers, making good shot decisions, rebounding better, and playing physical defense with some of the biggest fellas in the league.  His improved play could prove huge these last few weeks of the season.  Valpo shot the ball well, when they got shots.  They hit 8-17 from behind the arc and only missed two shots from inside the three point line.  This solid shooting percentage combined with some real good defense on WSU (29.6% from the field) is what allowed Valpo to win this game.

I'm very encouraged by the defensive play the last few games.  I thought Valpo did a nice job against an offensively challenged Milwaukee team, played about as well as you can against Detroit in that second half, and just locked down the Raiders.  Valpo hasn't been known this season for their defense, but they have really improved in that area lately.  Besides the defense and the improved play from Edwards, the fact that the team didn't have to rely on Kevin or Ryan tonight to carry the load was nice to see.  I know Wright State is not a world beater by any means, but to win without Ryan or Kevin meeting their averages is great.  What isn't great was the turnovers, 23 on the night.  You can't this and win very often.  Erik Buggs has stepped on the sideline/baseline three times now in the last two games.  He is better then this and will need to play like he is capable this next weekend.  For Wright State, Julius Mays continued his All HL campaign with 20 points.

Player of the Game: Richie Edwards - 16 points, 6-7 from the field, 2-2 from three point range, 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots

POTG Runner Up: Matt Kenney - 11 points, 2 big threes, 4 assists

Up Next: Valpo goes on the road for the last and biggest road trip of the conference year.  The first stop is against league co-leader Cleveland State on Thursday night. 

Please be sure to click the Cuts and Shaves link and check out Valpo fan Matthew Carter's barber shop.  If you are in the area stop by for a cut, shave, and some VU hoops talk.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Game Wrap Up: No Hustle Detroit

Hustle, hustle, hustle.  Run back on defense, get those lose balls, dive on the floor....these are the things that won Valpo the game, well these plus another poor coaching performace by Coach McCallum. I think the turning point of the game occurred when Ray McCallum missed a layup then walked back while Rowdy finished on the other end.  I'm not even sure McCallum made it to half court before Ryan scored.

The first half was filled with highlight real dunk after highlight real dunk by Detroit.  The most impressive was this Doug Anderson posterization of KVW.  Valpo found themselves down nine in a high scoring first half 36-45.  The second half started similar with a Ray McCallum alley oop jam.  From there on out, Valpo locked down in their zone defense and proved that team work and hustle will win out over one on one play and walking on defense.  Detroit managed to put 5 guys in double figures McCallum, Simon, and Holman all had 14 while Anderson had 12 and Calliste finished with 10.

Detroit did not change much after the half and made no obvious adjustments during the second half.  The Crusaders were hot from behind the arc draining an impressive 12-22.  Ryan Broekhoff led the way with a career high 26 points (including 6-6 from three), 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Will Bogan picked up right where he left off against Detroit hitting his first three attempts from outside.  He is 10-13 against the Titans from outside.  Richie Edwards had a real solid game posting 16 points and played real physical defensively inside against Holman.  KVW chipped in 10 points, converting some big free throws with just under a minute to play after a dumb foul by Holman.

This win, combined with YSU's loss at UIC puts Valpo in a virtual tie a top the league standings in a great position to grab up one of those double byes. 

Player of the game: Ryan Broekhoff - 26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and at least a handful of hustle plays that made the difference in this matchup.  This may be the game that seals his HLPOY status.

POFG Runner Up: Richie Edwards - 16 points, 5 rebounds, and a great decision making and defensive effort on Holman.

Up Next: The Crusader will seek revenge on Wright State on Saturday night at 7pm.  Be there for the game and the HOF inductions!