Gameday Preview: OSU vs. Valparaiso Crusaders

By Chris Lauderback on December 2, 2006 at 9:29a
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Ron Lewis

Where: Value City Arena

When: 4pm EST

Records: OSU 6-1 ; Valpo 2-3

Opponent: Out of the Mid-Continent Conference, Valparaiso comes in riding a 3-game losing streak including the last two against ranked opponents. The Crusaders lost 60-47 to #18 Butler Wednesday night in a game that saw Valpo struggle from both behind the arc (3-17) and the free throw line (8-19) as the squad appeared hungover following a near upset of #8 Marquette (65-62) two days prior. In that game, Valpo went 8-10 on 3’s in the second half to keep it close but couldn’t close the deal.

Key Players: Valpo is led by 6-6 Jr. Shawn Huff who comes in averaging 14pts and 4reb per game. Huff leads the team in 3-pt FG’s made (10), 3-pt FG% (50%), and FT% (82%). Sophomore Urule Igbavgoa has stepped up so far chipping in 11pts and 8reb per contest and fellow sophomore Brandon McPherson comes in 8pts and 4ast per game from the point guard spot. Valpo has eight players averaging at least 13min a game including Sophomore guard Jake Diebler, the older brother of OSU recruit Jon Diebler. Jake leads Valpo with 7 steals.

Notes: The Crusaders lead the all-time series 1-0 winning the previous matchup 67-64 in 2000. That game saw Brian Brown and Zach Williams each score 16 in defeat…Valpo comes in hitting only 62% from the stripe...The starting lineup goes 6-9, 6-8, 6-6 along the front line and 7-1 Calum MacLeod will also see action…Brandon McPherson played at the same high school as Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden – Lawrence North HS in Indianapolis...Valpo is picked to finish 4th in the conference while Oral Roberts is the predicted conference champ.

Buckeye Breakdown: Ohio State looks to bounce back from their first defeat of the season, a 98-89 thriller in Chapel Hill Wednesday night. OSU comes in averaging 87 points per game, shooting 52% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc. Coach Matta will likely employ full or 3-quarter-court pressure early to create an up tempo affair that should see OSU cruise to victory.

Key Players: Mike Conley Jr. comes in leading the Big11Ten in steals (19) and turnover/assist ratio (+2.88) and is 2nd in assists at 6.57 per contest. Daequan Cook is 5th in scoring (17.3) and 6th in rebounding (7.3) while Ron Lewis moved to 3rd in scoring (18.9) following his 30 point outburst in Chapel Hill. Key reserve Ivan Harris is now OSU's third leading scorer with an average of 12.1 per game and he is now 2nd on the team in 3PT FG's made with 18. Ivan is hitting 50% of his 3PT attempts and stands at 4reb per contest.

Notes: OSU is 36-3 at home under Matta including 21-0 against teams out of conference…OSU is 27-6 in games Jamar Butler has at least 4 assists…Matta became the 3rd fastest OSU coach to reach 50 wins (68 games) following the win at Eastern Kentucky...The Bucks are averaging a gaudy 18 assists and 9 steals per contest however the squad still needs to cut down on the turnovers as the team is making 15 miscues per contest through 7 games.

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