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Monday, December 31, 2012

Valpo Host Loyola & a contest

The end of the non conference portion of the schedule has come and gone with Valpo's victory at Murray State.  To start the
importantconference portion of the schedule Valpo will play host to Loyola.  The Ramblers have really played well early on and pose a real threat.  Valpo isn't the only team in this game coming off a big win, Loyola knocked off DePaul in their last game.  Here is a look at the PPS for what is sure to be a hotly contested conference opener at the ARC.


Valpo has the slightly higher team PPS and have surrender a slightly lower PPS to their opponents when compared to Loyola.  Both teams have been turnover plagued and both teams have decent depth on their bench.  I will give the edge to Valpo, their higher PPS plus their star power plus the home court advantage will carry Valpo to the win. I think this game will be closely contested until about the last 10 minutes of the second half.  Thats when Valpo will have Averkamp and Crisman in foul trouble and Rowdy and Company will finish the Ramblers off.  I'll say final score: Valpo 73 Loyola 66.

Contest time! Predict the final score by posting it our comments section along with an email so I can contact you if you win. Winner will be mailed a Bryce Drew rookie card.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Valpo knocks off Murray State

Valpo went on the road and finally won a game against a supposedly better opponent.  This was Murray’s first lost at home to a non conference team since the dinosaurs were roaming the Kentucky hills.  Here’s a look at each teams main players and their overall score as a unit.

Player School Minutes + - PPS
Ryan Broekhoff Valpo 35 1.03 0.31 0.72
Lavontae Dority Valpo 28 0.61 0.57 0.04
Kevin Van Wijk Valpo 22 1.09 0.55 0.54
Bobby Capobianco Valpo 18 1.00 0.22 0.78
Ben Boggs Valpo 23 0.61 0.22 0.39
Matt Kenney Valpo 22 0.64 0.18 0.46
Erik Buggs Valpo 22 0.59 0.41 0.18
Jordan Coleman Valpo 16 1.38 0.56 0.82
Will Bogan Valpo 14 0.21 0.14 0.07
Team Valpo 200 0.83 0.36 0.47 

Valpo dominated on the boards.  Jordan Coleman had a nice score, but his score is a bit inflated due to his lower (16) minutes.  Kevin had a nice + score, but his inability to stay out of foul trouble really hurt him. Lavonte Dority’s – score is so high because he missed 10 fg attempts.  As a team Valpo scored a bit under what they had averaged to this point, mainly due to their 10 assists vs. 17 turnovers and 66.7% ft%.

Murray State School Minutes + - PPS
Isaiah Canaan MSU 39 1.21 0.49 0.72
Ed Daniel MSU 24 1.25 0.38 0.87
Stacy Wilson MSU 31 0.55 0.39 0.16
Dexter Fields MSU 34 0.62 0.12 0.50
Brandon Garret MSU 22 0.36 0.36 0.00
Jeffrey Moss MSU 21 0.29 0.24 0.05
Team MSU 200 0.71 0.34 0.37

Valpo’s defense really came to play today.  They did a nice job contesting nearly every shot Canaan and company threw up there. They also managed to limit Daniel’s minutes (I called for that here, and really made him a non-factor on the defensive end. Valpo’s depth proved to be the difference and I suspect that opposing Horizon League teams will face a similar fate when they face off against the league’s top team.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Road Shooting Woes

It has been brought up many times that Valpo struggles to shoot the ball effectively on the road.  I'd like to look at why that might be.  First lets look at our shooting percentages throughout the first 13 games and see if there actually is a discrepancy. Road games are bolded.

Game Place 2pt % 3pt% FT% RESULT
Georgia S. ARC 52.90 54.20 85.70 W
Northern Ill. ARC 52.10 54.20 66.70 W
Nebraska NEB 34.00 13.30 66.70 L
Kent St. Kent 58.10 33.30 82.90 W
Chicago St ARC 39.70 28.60 78.60 W
Bethune ARC 54.80 53.30 74.20 W
St. Louis StL 32.60 23.80 70.00 L
IPFW ARC 40.80 29.40 72.00 W
New Mex NM 48.60 44.40 61.50 L
Missouri St MS 40.50 33.30 69.40 W
Oakland Oak 50.90 30.40 70.00 L
IUPUI ARC 50.00 19.00 80.80 W
Purdue Cal ARC 54.90 40.00 60.00 W

I think it is painfully clear that our shooting is much worse when the guys are on the road versus when they are in the comfortable confines of the Athletics Recreation Center.  Shooting only 50% or better in 2 of the 6 road games compared to 5 of the 7 home games, shooting at best 33% twice on the road compared to shooting above 40% at home 4 times, and finally hitting at least 70% of the free throws only twice on the road compared with hitting better then 70% 5 times at home. Some people will say we are playing tougher opponents on the road which is true, but watching the games Valpo gets plenty of good looks that just aren't falling as frequently on the road. Why does this keep happening? There is a great video done by ESPN Sports Science on this topic.

The first thing the Sports Science crew talks about is noise.  The ARC can be one of the loudest buildings in the conference due to its small size.  I don't think the players are affected by the noise level in these other arenas.  The second aspect the crew mentions is site.  I think this is where we run into some of our problems.  The ARC is fairly dark when you move away from the court.  The darker the back drop the easier it is to focus on the rim and use those visual cues to hit those jump shots. I haven't been to many of the road games but I'd be willing to wager that many of the venues the team goes to are more brightly lit.  The final aspect that I feel also figures into our poor shooting is space.  It is no secret that the ARC is very small. Everything in the ARC is right on top of the court, the fans, the ceiling, and the the scoreboard.  Many of these other venues have higher ceilings and every single fan is not right on top of the court.

I think when Valpo does upgrade to a new facility in the near(?!) future they should take in account the dimensions of the other arenas that the team frequently plays at.  Feeling more at home when the team is on the road will help lead to higher shooting percentages and higher winning percentages!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to Beat Murray State

Many people, yes even some Valpo fans, aren’t giving the Crusaders much of a chance on the road at Murray State this Saturday.  After running the PPS for each team, each team’s core players, as well as each teams’ opponents this year I have come to the conclusion that not only can Valpo win but they will in fact get that big road win they have been seeking.

Minutes + - PPS
Valparaiso Valpo 2625 0.82 0.32 0.50
Opponents Valpo 2625 0.70 0.36 0.34

Murray State MSU 2200 0.90 0.34 0.56
Opponents MSU 2200 0.80 0.37 0.43

Murray appears to be slightly better at taking advantage of their possessions.  Valpo, appears to play the better defense as you can see by their much lower PPS allowed statistic.  Has Valpo played a weaker schedule, probably, but they have also managed to maintain their higher level of defensive play for more games.  Many people think the key to beating Murray State is to stop Isaiah Canaan.  Yes, he is an All American.  Yes, he is their top scorer.  But, having watched them play on television several times, it appears that from my couch they follow the emotional leader Ed Daniel.  Canaan is going to get his points. Crusaders fan need to hope that whoever draws the assignment of slowing him down can at least get a hand in his face and make his shots as difficult as possible.  When Valpo is on offense whoever Canaan is guarding should be running him into screens every time down the court. Lets take a look at Murray State’s individual PPS and you’ll see why I’m targeting Daniel as the key.

Murray State
Minutes + - PPS
Isaiah Canaan MSU 381 1.16 0.39 0.77
Ed Daniel MSU 322 1.45 0.39 1.06
Stacy Wilson MSU 333 1.04 0.47 0.57
Dexter Fields MSU 312 0.63 0.26 0.37
Brandon Garret MSU 279 0.74 0.27 0.47
Jeffrey Moss MSU 159 0.45 0.25 0.20
Erik McCree MSU 117 0.56 0.37 0.19
CJ Ford MSU 110 0.47 0.30 0.17  

Daniel is the key
Daniel’s PPS rivals a certain big man from IU. He is a monster on the boards, gets to the line a ton, and hits a decent percentage of his shots. His biggest weakness is he can get into foul trouble.  He leads the teams in personal fouls and foul outs and will most likely draw Crusader big man Kevin Van Wijk who has to be one of the best in the country at drawing fouls.  This is where Valpo can win this game.  KVW plays big and gets  Daniel in foul trouble, forces them to go to the bench, and he gets to the line this will be a great game. If KVW gets into the foul trouble then Valpo will have to lean heavily on Bobby Capobianco.  I’m calilng for Coach Drew to get the ball in the post to Kevin as much as possible Saturday afternoon, and for Valpo to resist the urge to throw up 3′s every time down the court.  I think Valpo will be able to pull this off and get the upset, 79-74.  You can find Valpo’s PPS, not including the game against PUC,

Watch the game on Saturday afternoon or on the ESPN app on your X-Box.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Our numbers, just like our play, have slowly been improving throughout the season.

Erik put up one of his highest PPS ever last game when he played closer to 20 minutes instead of being on the court closer to 30 minutes. Dority's numbers have gone down every game so far.  Hopefully he gets comfortable and finds his stroke.  KVW and Rowdy are playing at a higher level then last year.  I like what I'm seeing, and I'm happy to see the numbers slowly creeping higher as we get closer to conference play.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wrapping up IUPUI

IUPUI gave Valpo all they wanted in the first half.  The Jags shot very well throughout the night hitting on 50% of their 3s and all 14 of their free throws.  But, it was their inability to rebound and defend the Crusaders in the paint that led to the Valpo victory.  

Many will accuse the Crusaders and Coach Drew of slowing down the offense when they got up by 21 points.  I did not see it this way.  IUPUI went to a zone defense to help get them back to within 10.  Valpo tried time and again to get the ball in the paint, patiently passing around the perimeter looking for an entry point.  When one couldn't be found they wound up with open looks from outside.  Those three point attempts just weren't falling (4-21).  In no way was this reminiscent to what we saw happen at Oakland the other night.  

Here are the PPS for tonights game for the Crusaders who, despite their poor outside shooting, had their highest scores of the season.  

Ryan Broekhoff
Kevin Van Wijk
Lavontae Dority
Erik Buggs
Ben Boggs
Will Bogan
Bobby Capobianco
Matt Kenney

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

11 Game Wrap Up

With the first 1/3 or so of the season behind us I thought now would be a good time to break down some statistics.  The team's 7-4 record is not bad, but many fans (and probably players and coaches) were expecting a little more.  The Crusaders should be favored in 2 or their final 3 non conference games before beginning conference play on January 3rd leading to at least a 9-5 record heading into that first conference game against Loyola. 

On to the numbers.  The Crusaders' play has not been anywhere near what we were hoping for.  Only Kenney (30 assist/27 turnovers) and Buggs (46 assist/32 turnovers) have more assists then turnovers.  In fact, the assist/turnover ratio of .76 is the biggest factor in the team not having more success.  The high rate of turnovers as well as the high amount of fouls the team is committing is what is keeping the team's PPS lower then it should be.

Player School PPS-O PPS-D PPS
Lavontae Dority Valpo 1.2222 0.5000 0.7222
Ryan Broekhoff Valpo 1.1633 0.2865 0.8768
Kevin Van Wijk Valpo 1.2451 0.4047 0.8405
Bobby Capobianco Valpo 0.9664 0.4706 0.4958
Ben Boggs Valpo 0.5598 0.2819 0.2780
Jordan Coleman Valpo 0.6991 0.2963 0.4028
Matt Kenney Valpo 0.6598 0.3527 0.3071
Erik Buggs Valpo 0.5710 0.3218 0.2492
Will Bogan Valpo 0.3420 0.2305 0.1115
Alex Rossi Valpo 0.7097 0.2581 0.4516
Vashil Fernandez Valpo 0.4159 0.2832 0.1327

Dority, Capobianco, and KVW's PPS-D (this is the bad stuff they do on the court) are all way to high for guys expected to play big roles.  If they can cut down on fouling (KVW/Capo) and turnovers (all) those PPS-D will drop and the team will see more success.  I think with Dority's addition we will see Kenney's turnovers drop, Bogan's shooting % rise, and the overall efficiency and success of the team improve.  These last three games need to be used to get a normal rotation set, and to get Dority and everyone else comfortable with their roles.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

PPS Preview: Oakland

Our PPS hit it right on the head with the Valpo/Missouri State game.  Scores held true and Valpo held on for a nice road win.  Lets take a look at PPS for tomorrow nights game at Oakland.

Valparaiso Valpo 0.7654 0.3195 0.4459
Opponents Valpo 0.6874 0.3541 0.3333

Oakland OAK 0.8207 0.3620 0.4588
Opponents OAK 0.8899 0.3481 0.5417

These teams have played the exact same amount of minutes to date.  Looking at the PPS for tomorrow's game, I'd again give the edge to Valpo even though this is a road game.  The home court advantage should be minimal as the student body is gone for Christmas break.  Valpo and Oakland are averaging nearly the same PPS, however Oakland's opponents are scoring at a much higher rate then Valpo's.  Oakland has been out rebounded and out shot (% wise) by their opponents on the year.  Valpo has done a great job winning the rebounding battle night in and night out.  I'll say Valpo controls the rebounding and uses their size to win this game by 5-8 points.

Valpo is finally playing at full strength with the addition of Lavontae Dority (LVD).  LVD went off in his first game as a Crusader, leading the team in scoring and PPS Saturday night against Missouri State.  Here are the PPS for the team through the first 10 games of the season. Remember a .7 and above is an all conference player and a .85 and up is an NBA level talent.

Player School PPS-O PPS-D PPS
Lavontae Dority Valpo 1.6250 0.4583 1.1667
Ryan Broekhoff Valpo 1.1956 0.2902 0.9054
Kevin Van Wijk Valpo 1.2735 0.4017 0.8718
Bobby Capobianco Valpo 0.9583 0.5104 0.4479
Matt Kenney Valpo 0.6864 0.3591 0.3273
Ben Boggs Valpo 0.5401 0.2954 0.2447
Jordan Coleman Valpo 0.6750 0.2800 0.3950
Erik Buggs Valpo 0.5704 0.3230 0.2474
Will Bogan Valpo 0.3487 0.2337 0.1149
Alex Rossi Valpo 0.7097 0.2581 0.4516
Vashil Fernandez Valpo 0.4298 0.2895 0.1404

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PPS Preview of Missouri State

Here is a look at the PPS for Missouri State and what they have allowed to their opponents this season.

Missouri State MSU 0.7036 0.3764 0.3271
Opponents MSU 0.7748 0.3348 0.4400

They have really struggled at rebounding, keeping teams off the free throw line, and defending the paint.  Valpo really thrives at rebounding and KVW and Broekhoff are pretty good about drawing fouls and getting to the line.  Next we'll look at Valpo's PPS and what they have allowed so far this season to their opponents.

Valparaiso Valpo 0.7633 0.3145 0.4488
Opponents Valpo 0.6970 0.3523 0.3447

I thought it was pretty neat how close the teams' scores are in relation to what they have given up this season.  Neither of the scores are where a league contender should be scoring at, some of that has to do with poor play while another part might be due to the teams they have faced so far.  To get an idea of what the Big Ten teams are scoring out at right now click here.  Valpo only scores higher then Nebraska (who we lost to earlier in the fall) and Penn State.

I'm interested to see how the addition of Lavontae Dority helps move the other players to their normal position will affect the team and individual PPS.

Monday, December 10, 2012

VU vs. Milwaukee Fan Bus

Valparaiso University will be offering a fan bus to the game in Milwaukee on January 12. Come join me and a bunch of other Crusader alumni!

YOU'RE INVITED... The Valpo Club of Milwaukee invites you to... VALPO VS. UW-MILWAUKEE MEN'S BASKETBALL

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 8 a.m. – Ride to the game with us! Chartered bus departs from the Valpo Athletics and Recreation Center The cost is $30 per person and the bus will arrive back in Valpo by 8 p.m. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Alumni and Fan Gathering, Hosted by Andy Nunemaker 2221 N. Terrace Ave Milwaukee, WI 53202 Join Valpo alumni and friends before the game for a buffet lunch and beverages. Also, a dessert reception will be offered following the game.

A complimentary shuttle will transport fans from the Nunemaker residence and back. The cost is $30 per person and includes lunch and a chairback game ticket. 1 p.m. Tip-off Klotsche Center 3406 N. Downer Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53211 5 p.m.

Bus departs for Valpo Register online at, or contact the Valparaiso University Office of Alumni Relations at 800.833.6792, ext. 23. The deadline to register is Friday, Dec. 21st. No refunds will be given after this date.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Game Wrap Up: New Mexico

Valpo traveled to New Mexico to take on the #18 Lobos Saturday night.  Unfortunately, Ryan Broekhoff was the only Crusader who came ready to play.  Broekhoff filled the stat sheet with 24 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover.  I mention the turnover only because that was the Crusaders undoing on this night.  A season high 22 turnovers helped in the Lobos knocking off Valpo 65-52 (didn't even cover the 10 point spread).

The Crusader defense played well it sounded like.  The Lobos shot under 43% from the field.  While the shot defense was good, the Crusaders only managed to force 10 turnovers and sent New Mexico to the line 30 times (this could be inflated a bit since it was a semi close game).

Valpo has played through a tough non-conference schedule this year and currently sits at 6-3 with the only questionable loss coming at Nebraska.  Lavontae Dority will see his first action next Saturday when the Crusaders visit Missouri State.  We are all excited to see what he can bring to the point guard position as he will start off as Buggs' backup.

Tonights PPS - I only took our guys that played 10 minutes or more, and did their starters plus 1.  Note, I forgot to plug in the rebounds when I figured our PPS for the first 8 games.  Check that post for updated numbers.

Broekhoff 1.08571428571429
KVW 0.0909090909090909
Buggs 0.114285714285714
Boggs -0.411764705882353
Coleman 0.285714285714286
Kenney -0.0952380952380952
Capo 0.285714285714286
Bogan 0.269230769230769

New Mexico
Adams 0.5
Kirk 0.708333333333333
Snell 0.172413793103448
Greenwood 0.5
Walker 0.666666666666667
Williams 0.388888888888889

Thursday, December 6, 2012

PPS - 1st 8 Games

Lets see if I remember how to do this.  PPS is a statistical breakdown of how effective a player is while on the court. We look only at the numbers in categories that appear in a box score: points, rebounds, assists, fts, fgs, steals, turnovers, blocked shots, missed fts, missed fgs, fouls, and minutes played.
Here are the scores of last years 1st Team All Horizon League players:

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

Here is where our guys sit after the first 8 games:

Broekhoff 0.8857
KVW 0.9839
Kenney 0.3809
Boggs 0.2959
Coleman 0.4216
Buggs 0.3127
Capo 0.5272
Bogan 0.1194
Rossi 0.4516
Fernandez 0.2038

I'm Back

I'm back baby!

I'm back, but won't be quite as active as before. My wife's persistence and a twitter battle has brought me back to this. It is also getting darker earlier now so our outside activities are just about nonexistent and we can only play so much kinect. First real post coming up later this evening.