Conference: Horizon League
How They Qualified: Horizon League Tournament Champions
For the first time since 2004, the Valparaiso Crusaders are dancing by way of a Horizon League Tournament championship. Aided by a 62-54 victory over a pesky, Wright State squad in the title contest, the Crusaders progress forward into the NCAA Tournament as a disciplined and talented squad.
The Crusaders will be entering the Big Dance having won six consecutive games and ten of their last 11 contests overall. Valparaiso is hot and clicking at the right time after a great run through league play. A balanced attack, led by Ryan Broekhoff could be a cause for concern for some team in the Round of 64.
What You Need to Win:
Leading Scorer: Ryan Broekhoff (16.2 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Ryan Broekhoff (7.4 rpg)
Leading Passer: Erik Buggs (3.8 apg)
Bad Losses: Oakland, Youngstown State, Loyola (IL)
Good Wins: Murray State, Detroit, Wright State (twice)
As you can tell from the above stats, Broekhoff is the team’s catalyst, but don’t lose sight of Kevin Van Wijk. Both can light it out at times and convert on clutch shots. Valparaiso used a game-winning buzzer beater in the semifinal round of the Horizon League Tournament, so they are nothing new to providing excitement and isn’t that what the early stages of the tournament is all about?
Don’t lose sight of Valparaiso in your bracket because depending on their match-up, they might just be a Cinderella selection.
The Valparaiso Crusaders are dancing!
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS