Valparaiso (5-1) at Saint Louis (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 2, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chaifetz Arena (10,600)-- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: FSN-MW. Home Record: Valparaiso 4-0, SLU 2-1. Away Record: Valparaiso 1-1, SLU 0-1. Neutral Record: Valparaiso 0-0, SLU 1-1. Conference Record: Valparaiso 0-0, SLU 0-0. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 5-2.
GAME NOTES: The day after the death of the legendary Rich Majerus, the Saint Louis Billikens will host the Valparaiso Crusaders for a non-conference tilt at Chaifetz Arena.
Majerus coached the Billikens from 2007-12. In five seasons at SLU, the Billikens went 95-69. It was announced on August 24, 2012 that Majerus would not coach the 2012-13 season due to health issues.
Interim head coach Jim Crews has led the Billikens to a 3-3 record so far this season. The Billikens have alternated wins and losses through six games. They suffered a 66-61 setback at Washington their last time out. The team is 2-1 at home this season with wins over South Carolina Upstate and Southern Illinois and loss to Santa Clara. SLU is averaging 64.8 ppg on the offensive end, while limiting opponents to 62 ppg.
The Crusaders defeated Bethune-Cookman by 13 points last Saturday for their third win in a row. Valparaiso is now 5-1 on the season with a 1-1 mark in games away from home. Coach Bryce Drew is in his second season at the helm of the program after leading the Crusaders to the Horizon League regular season title in his first year as head coach. Drew's squad is outscoring its opponents by an average margin of 14.9 ppg this season.
This will be the eighth meeting in history and first since 1998 between these schools on the hardwood. Valpo owns a 5-2 edge in the all-time series.
Although they have been decent on the defensive end of the floor this season, that was not the case for the Billikens when they visited Washington on Friday. The Huskies managed to convert 51.1 percent of their field goal attempts including 6-of-10 from three-point range. Washington could have done more damage as well had it not missed 10 free throws. Saint Louis attempted only three foul shots and converted 43.9 percent of its shots from the floor in the loss. Senior forward Cody Ellis paced the team with 14 points off the bench and junior center Rob Loe contributed 13 points to lead the team. Forward Dwayne Evans leads the team with 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
In both of their last two outings, the Crusaders jumped out to big leads in the opening stages of the contest. Valpo led 10-0 over Chicago State just 4:51 into the game and led 15-3 over Bethune-Cookman only 5:40 into the game. The team's 3-point shooting ability was on display its last time out, as it hit 8- of-15 attempts from beyond the arc versus Bethune-Cookman. The Crusaders currently leads the Horizon League and rank 19th in the nation, hitting 41.4 percent of their 3-point attempts. Drew's first two seasons as a head coach have been made much easier by the team's dynamic one-two punch of Ryan Broekhoff (17 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Kevin Van Wijk (16 ppg, 5.5 rpg). Broekhoff led the team with 30 points in its last outing, while Van Wijk added 19 points and eight rebounds in the win.
The current members of the Saint Louis team were all brought in by Majerus. The Billikens have a tough opponent visiting as they try to produce a result that would make their former coach proud.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 67, Saint Louis 65
12/02 10:37:11 ET