#62 Valparaiso Crusaders: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Butler’s departure from the Horizon League opens the door for the Valparaiso Crusaders to emerge as the top program in the conference.  Despite losing a pair of valuable contributors to transfer, Bryce Drew returns a veteran core that should lead Valpo to the NCAA Tournament.

VALPARAISO CRUSADERS
Last Season: T-1st, 14-4 in Horizon, 22-12 overall
Predicted Horizon Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Kevin Van Wijk (Sr)/Bobby Capobianco (Jr)
F: Ryan Broekhoff (Sr)/Vashil Fernandez (Fr)
SG: Matt Kenney (Sr)/Ben Boggs (Sr)
SG: Will Bogan (Sr)/Jordan Coleman (Jr)/Tommy Kurth (Jr)
PG: Erik Buggs (Sr)/Lavonte Dority (Jr)

Gone: F-Richie Edwards (transfer-Arizona State), G-Jay Harris (transfer-Wagner), PF-Hrvoje Vucic (trasfer-Walsh)

2012-2013 Outlook:
Drew will lean heavily on his six seniors led by reigning Horizon League Player of the Year, Ryan Broekhoff.  He is an inside/outside threat who can stretch defenses with his three-point shooting.  Fellow returning starter Kevin Van Wijk averaged about 14 points and 5 rebounds despite playing just 23 minutes per game.  With an expanded role due to the transfer of Richie Edwards, Van Wijk’s production should be even greater this year.

Indiana transfer Bobby Capobianco becomes eligible after sitting out last season and will bring a physical presence off the bench.  Jamaica native Vashil Fernandez adds some athleticism and length to the frontcourt which gives them a different dimension from the three aforementioned post players.

Four seniors will once again jockey for playing time as Valpo should pretty much exclusively utilize a three guard set.  With Jay Harris also transferring from the program, Will Bogan and Matt Kenney bring the most skill to the backcourt.  Bogan is a lights out three-point shooter while Kenney brings more versatility to the floor.  Erik Buggs retains his role as the starting point guard though South Florida transfer Lavonte Dority will push him for playing time once he becomes eligible after the first semester.  Former Virginia Tech transfer Ben Boggs is another weapon off the bench while junior college transfer Jordan Coleman provides some needed athleticism if he can crack the rotation right away.

The influx of transfers continues with the addition of Rice’s David Chadwick and Alex Rossi from Cal.  Both players must sit out this season per NCAA eligibility rules but will be immediate contributors next year to help replace the six current seniors on the roster.

Since no real opponent will come to Valpo to play during the non-conference slate, the Crusaders hit the road for seven challenging road games that should more than prepare them for the Horizon League schedule.  Earning the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament will be Valparaiso’s to lose but it will come down to who cuts down the nets at the league tournament.

Player to Watch: Ryan Broekhoff
The 6’6 swingman nearly made the Australian Olympic team this summer but was one of the final players cut from the final 12-man roster.  Still, that type of experience can be invaluable for a college player.  Broekhoff obviously had a terrific junior year but should be bound for even greater accomplishments this year.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 at Nebraska
11/18 at Kent State
12/2 at St. Louis
12/8 at New Mexico
12/15 at Missouri State
12/17 at Oakland
12/29 at Murray State
2/23 vs. TBA (ESPN Bracketbusters)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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