- Who: LMU (6-3) @ Valpo (6-5)
- Where: Athletics-Recreation Center, Valparaiso, Indiana
- When: 12/14/13 at 2:05 PM ET
- Listen: 88.9 KXLU
- Watch: HorizonLeague.org
After last week’s blowout against Pitt, the LMU Lions are looking to pack up their things and hit the road, this time facing off against the Valparaiso Crusaders in Indiana. Valpo is a typical mediocre mid-major squad this season. They’re coming into this game 6-5, with a close loss to Saint Louis, but suffering bad losses at the hands of Mercer and Evansville.
LMU knows that they cannot afford a loss tonight. After a crushing defeat at the hands of an undefeated Pittsburgh team, LMU knows that nothing would mean more to the team and swing momentum into their favor than a win on their last game of this EXCRUCIATINGLY long road trip.
Valpo is, by no means, a bad team. They just aren’t a great one, either. They’re an okay team, one that I think LMU has a good shot at beating. One big attribute that Valpo holds is the fact that they are a quality team shooting-wise. This Crusaders team hits about 50% of all shots they take, which is the 18th-best field goal percentage in the nation, and one of the reasons that Valpo is one of the top 40 teams in the country in points per game, a stat that LMU also excels in. Valpo shoots so well, which is an area of the game that LMU does not perform nearly as well in. If LMU wants a shot in this game, they have to do one of two things defensively: turn Valpo over, and/or press relentlessly and force poor shots. The good news is that the Lions succeed in both of those categories.
Valpo is also a team that relies heavily on guard play, with two of their top scorers this season being guards (LaVonte Dority and Jordan Coleman). The matchup of those two against Anthony Ireland and Evan Payne is something I look forward to watching, as it’s an opportunity for Payne to get some playing experience against two quality senior guards who are similar to his teammate Anthony Ireland. Unfortunately for Valpo, their guards turn the ball over with much frequency, meaning that LMU could potentially have a field day playing against a team who is careless with the ball. LMU’s guards are quick and will not hesitate to snatch the ball away from the Valparaiso back court.
Overall, I think Valparaiso is a very beatable team, so long as LMU is able to shoot well and go toe-to-toe with the Crusaders scoring-wise. LMU has the ability to beat them, and a win here would go a long way as it would propel LMU into their home stand, as the Lions don’t play another away game until next year.
LMU 83, Valpo 80…I didn’t say it’d be easy, but LMU will get the job done and leave The Hoosier State with a record of 7-3, heading into Tuesday’s matchup against Cal Poly.