Monday, March 16, 2015

News On The Horizon 3/16/2015

Selection Sunday morning: One projection of NCAA Tournament field--Hoopville
Wisconsin-Green Bay: If Miami is a candidate, what about the Phoenix, who won convincingly on the Hurricanes’ home floor? GB is 3-5 against the top 100 and has three sub-100 losses, so the chances are slim & none, but wouldn’t dismiss 100%.
Midwest Region packed with 5 Indiana schools--USA Today
Valparaiso (28-5), the No. 13 seed, opens play Friday against No. 4 Maryland on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

The Crusaders won both the Horizon League regular-season and tournament titles, giving the school its second NCAA berth in three years. But they have lost six straight tourney games since Bryce Drew led Valparaiso to its only Sweet 16 appearance in 1998, and Drew, now the coach, is hoping the least experienced team in his league can pull off another stunner this week.

If things work out, it could be an all-Indiana regional round.

"We do try to get as many teams as close to their natural region as possible," NCAA selection committee chairman Scott Barnes said. "It's quite a big jigsaw puzzle. That worked out well this year in that case."

Those who grew up playing high school and college basketball around the state, like Drew, love the concept.

And those who were imported from neighboring states are eager to see how they do, too.

"Almost half of the bracket is from Indiana, so I'd say there's a good chance one of those teams sneaks through," Valparaiso forward Alec Peters said. "Hopefully, it's us."
2015 NCAA tournament: Midwest region analysis and capsules--USA Today
13. Valparaiso

Nickname: Crusaders. Location: Valparaiso, Ind.

Record: 28-5, 13-3. Bid: Horizon champ.

Last appearance: 2013, lost to Michigan State in Round of 64.

Coach: Bryce Drew, 0-1 in one appearance.

Overview: Valparaiso struggled with injuries but till won the league regular-season title before fending off determined Green Bay in the conference. Now fully healthy and loaded with confidence, the Crusaders will be a favorite to become a Cinderella and pull off tournament magic reminiscent of when their coach was playing for Valpo.


Did you know? Valparaiso once boasted the "world's tallest basketball team." A group of men who were too tall to join the military during WWII came to play basketball at Valparaiso.

Starters: C Vashil Fernandez, 6-10, Sr. (6.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.0 bpg), F Alec Peters, 6-9, So. (16.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg), G Tevonn Walker, 6-1, Fr. (10.2 ppg), G E. Victor Nickerson, 6-8, Jr. (6.2 ppg), G Darien Walker, 6-3, Jr. (10.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
Bracket overview: Why in the world did Dayton get sent to Dayton?--CBS Sports
When the RPI doesn't matter: I lead with this category every Selection Sunday. It never disappoints. What you need to know is that no power-five school with a top-58 RPI was omitted this season, but eight non-power-five schools with top 58 RPIs were -- specifically Colorado State (28), Temple (34), Tulsa (45), Old Dominion (46), Iona (51), Green Bay (54), Richmond (56) and Louisiana Tech (58). This means the two best RPIs omitted belonged to non-power-five schools for the 11th straight year, which again shows that a good RPI can save you if you're from a power-five league, but it won't help much if you're not.
Four Round of 64 games I can't wait to watch: Butler-Texas, Wichita State-Indiana, Utah-Stephen F. Austin, Maryland-Valparaiso
Putting the bracket in order: Ranking the field 1-68--CBS Sports
53. Valparaiso: Valpo is good, but I hate its draw. Good news is this team is a mix of old and young, and Bryce Drew is a tremendous coach.

Free throws, turnovers key to MSU tourney run--The Detroit Free Press
Know your role

Izzo has talked all season about each player doing his job, and Michigan State has been at its best when the support players are doing just that. Junior Bryn Forbes is one of the conference's best 3-pointer shooters and scored a season-high 21 points in a loss at Wisconsin while freshman point guard Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn is 8-3 as a starter. Sophomore Alvin Ellis and freshman Marvin Clark were huge in the win over Indiana as Ellis scored a career-high 16 and Clark added 14 points. And over the last several games, junior center Matt Costello has been playing his best basketball, recording 11 blocks in the last five games and averaging 8.4 points in his last seven games.
Niyo: Spartans hit Dance floor with spring in step--The Detroit Free Press
Saturday, it was Marvin Clark Jr. and Matt Costello providing the spark. Sunday, it was Costello again, with eight points, four rebounds and two blocks on Kaminsky, who might be the national player of the year. It was also Bryn Forbes shaking off a 4-for-22 shooting slump with big first-half minutes (seven points, three assists) and even some solid help defense.
Cleveland State's Grady, Lewis and Lee earn All-Horizon League honors--Cleveland State Hoops
Cleveland State accepts bid into CIT for second straight year--Cleveland State Hoops
Cleveland State to play at Western Michigan in CIT tourney--Cleveland State Hoops
CSU to Play at Western Michigan in CIT First

Oakland to open CIT by hosting Eastern Illinois--The Detroit Free Press


Phoenix men draw Illinois State in NIT opener--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay will face Illinois State in the NIT--Phear The Phoenix
Horizon League expansion "probable"--Phear The Phoenix
Green Bay Earns At-Large Selection into the

UWGB women earn NCAA berth with OT win--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay Wins Overtime Thriller to Claim NCAA

Six names to watch in DePaul's coaching search--Chicago Tribune
Forde Minutes: Big Dance Edition--Yahoo Sports

Teams from outside the brand-name leagues that can do some March damage:
Valparaiso (18). Champion of the Horizon League brings a tall, tough, disciplined team into the Dance that has won 10 of its past 11 and has held six of its past seven opponents to 55 points or fewer. Methodical bunch that doesn't figure to be fazed by a big-name opponent.
Ranking the Most Likely Cinderellas in the 2015 NCAA Tournament--Bleacher Report
Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Overview--College Sports Madness
Upset Alert!

Maryland got a four seed, which is great, but their first round matchup against the vastly underrated Valparaiso Crusaders is not one they should take for granted. Valparaiso or “Valpo” are the number one overall seed from the Horizon League. The Horizon League may not boast the same competition as the Big East or ACC, but it does play host to some solid programs including Green Bay, Oakland, and of course: Valparaiso. The Crusaders are a bit one dimensional on the offensive end, constantly playing through versatile forward Alec Peters. Peters can do it all for the Crusaders. He can shoot outside at an elite level (46.2% three point percentage), draw pressure inside (16.7 ppg), and is a force to be reckoned with on the glass (6.8 rebounds per game). Considering Valparaiso lost only five games on the season (four of those were on the road), the Terps would be foolish to look over the Crusaders.
Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Midwest Round of 64 Game Breakdowns--College Sports Madness
#4 Maryland vs. #13 Valparaiso (Columbus, Ohio)

Maryland has had a great year, but now it is time to see how far this team can go with such a young roster. Melo Trimble leads a trio of freshmen guards who have had a huge impact for this team. Trimble leads the squad with 17.3 points per game and also dishes out 3.1 assists per game. The potential trouble for the Terrapins against Valparaiso is that Trimble and Dez Wells score a lot of points by attacking the basket. Valpo has shot blocking specialist Vashil Fernandez standing in the paint. He has blocked three shots per game this year and will alter countless others. The Crusaders do have quite a few scoring options, most notably forward Alec Peters and guards Darien Walker and Tevon Walker, but they will struggle to keep up with Maryland.
Area grads are difference makers for NCAA-bound teams--The Post-Tribune
Sowing RPI seeds

In spite of Valparaiso's 28-5 record it could not hope for anything higher than an 11th or 12th seed in the Big Dance because of strength of schedule issues.

The Crusaders carried an RPI rating of 51 — six ahead of Indiana — as of Saturday, but is saddled with the weakest SOS of any Horizon League team. Among the top 100 RPI listings by Saturday only North Dakota State, Sam Houston State, UC-Davis and Murray State were worse than VU's 223 rating. Compare that to Indiana's 23 or Purdue's 73.

Early double-digit losses to Missouri and New Mexico also weakened VU's case, especially since the 8-23 Tigers were saddled with their worst record in years while the visiting Lobos (15-16) dealt VU its only home loss.

Scheduling is an inexact science, which Coach Bryce Drew considers the toughest part of his job. Predicting RPIs can be tricky in that respect.

"You can have a bad year when it doesn't work out," he said. "You're trying to get a balance. You don't want your kids to be traveling too much in November and December. It's a fine line, but I'm sure (SOS) does factor into it."
Valparaiso surprised by nearby matchup with Maryland--The Post-Tribune
Indiana teams await Selection Sunday fate--The NWI Times
Opponent the single biggest recipe for success in NCAA tournament--The NWI Times
Valparaiso draws Maryland to open NCAA tournament--The NWI Times
Valparaiso gets familiar NCAA foe in Maryland--The NWI Times
Crusaders Heading to Columbus, Play Maryland to Open 2015 NCAA
Crusaders, Terrapins to Face Off at 3:45 p.m. CT on
Ticket Information for NCAA

Raiders fall in Horizon League title game--Dayton Daily News
Women’s basketball: Raiders force overtime, fall in title game--The Guardian
Women’s basketball: Raiders’ title hopes fall short in overtime--The Guardian

Youngstown State Women's Basketball 2015 NIT Tournament Capsule--College Sports Madness

Valparaiso to Face Maryland in NCAA Tournament--Horizon League Network
Green Bay Receives At-Large Selection in NIT--Horizon League Network

Green Bay Punches Ticket to NCAA Tournament--Horizon League Network

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