Valpo vs Purdue Preview and Prediction
Valpo vs Purdue Preview
An in-state rivalry has been reborn as Valparaiso travels 90 miles to West Lafayette to take on the No. 21 Boilermakers at Mackey Arena.
Valparaiso (8-0) has had a week to prepare. In their last game, the Crusaders defeated Utah State 72-65 behind Tevonn Walker’s 25 points and nine rebounds.
“The story of the game was on the defensive end,” Valparaiso coach Matt Lottich told the Northwest Times of Indiana. “Overall, I was pleased with the effort. It just took us a while, I don’t know that we ever really found a rhythm on the offensive end, but defensively I thought we were locked in all night.”
Purdue is 15-1 all-time against Valparaiso and has won 10 straight in the series. But this year’s edition might be the best Crusaders team the Boilermakers will have played.
After 10 years in the Horizon League, the Crusaders are making their mark on defense in the first year in the Missouri Valley Conference.
They’re a team that will “give you fits,” Purdue coach Matt Painter told reporters.
Purdue has reeled off four straight wins, having defeated Arizona, Louisville, Maryland and Northwestern. Painter’s squad is getting the job done in all facets of the game.
The matchup of the 7-footers
Purdue heads into almost every game with a size advantage as they sport two seven-footers, Isaac Haas and Matt Harms–but that will not be the case tonight as Valpo sports two of their own seven-footers Jaume Sorolla is a 7-foot sophomore from Spain who averages 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds. Derrik Smits, the 7-2 son of longtime Indiana Pacers center Rik Smits, is averaging 7.4 and 4.4.
The Boilermakers haven’t had as much time as the Crusaders to prepare. Purdue opened its Big Ten season with close wins over Maryland and Sunday against Northwestern.
Haas put up 47 points, 14 boards and four blocks in those two games. “He’s taught whenever he’s one-on-one he’s got to score the ball, and that’s exactly what he did” against Northwestern Purdue guard Ryan Cline said.
Northwestern tried to guard him without rotating any help, and Haas’ eyes lit up.
“I’m thinking, it’s time to eat,” he told the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier after scoring a career-high 26 points.
The trip to Purdue is the first of six road games for the Crusaders, who will not play a home game for 32 days.
“Scheduling has always been difficult,” Lottich told the Lafayette newspaper. “We like it on the road. We’re ‘Road Warriors.’ We like our backs against the wall. We’re going to take it as a challenge.
“Yes, it’s not ideal, but the reality is we can’t really control the schedule we put together. No excuses.”
During this game we could see four seven-foot players on the court at the same time. Purdue’s big men are more talented than Valpo’s but it will be Vince and Carsen Edwards for the Boilermakers that will do enough to beat this talented Crusaders squad. The LINE currently stands at -16.5 for Purdue, and I like Valpo’s chances to lose the game, but cover the points.
Purdue 80 Valpo 68