Valpo finally gets back on the court Wednesday night in Youngstown where they will face off against the Penguins. Valpo has won 6 in a row while YSU has been victorious in each of their last 3 games. With a win, Valpo will start to separate themselves from the rest of the Horizon League while a loss will create a bigger mess at the top of the standings.
YSU does several things pretty well. They are in the top 100 nationally in rebounding, points per game, and assists. They have several guys who live by the 3 point shot: Belin, Allen, and Perry. Valpo will need to put a hand in their face and make them hit a tough shot if they are going to shot from out there. While their 3 point shooting can be a strength, I watched them play the other day and after hitting a few 3's early on they started shooting them nearly every time down the court early in the shot clock.
The Penguins have several All Conference caliber players in Kendrick Perry and Damian Eargle. Perry is a scorer and will be hounded all night by Erik Buggs. The last spotlight match up featuring Erik Buggs he shut down Detroit's Ray McCallum, Jr. I like Erik's chances to repeat that defensive success Wednesday night. Eargle is their big guy. He is an excellent shot blocker, decent rebounder, and can score a little bit as well. He has had trouble in the past guarding the much more physical KVW. I really think Valpo will attack Eargle, more so with passes to the post than with drives to the hoop.
I'd look for KVW to get involved early and often which should open the outside for the Valpo shooters. While winning on the road during conference play is never a sure thing, I think the Crusaders will go in play their trademark solid defense and come away with a rather easy win. I'll predict a big night for KVW (at least 20 points) and the typical 18/10 night from Ryan Broekhoff.
Valpo victory: 76-68