The Valparaiso University Crusaders Men's Basketball TEAM ended the regular season tonight with a Win against the Penguins of Youngstown State 67 to 59, in which 2 seniors also finished their careers at the ARC. Seniors Urule Igbavoda and Jake Diebler both ended their 4 years with a Win. They also were privileged to play during their four years the Number 1 Teams in the Country. They played North Carolina 2 times, plus Duke and Ohio State.
This season has been a trying and growing experience for the Crusaders and I have noticed one thing, this team is gelling! I have seen freshman Cameron Witt develop into a solid center. Freshman guard Erik Buggs finally got it all back together tonight. Michael Rodgers has now had seven (7) straight games of a double-double and Howard Little continues to show his leadership on the court every game. Little has been the cement to this team and with him returning next year I am anticipating a very good year.
So...lets look at next year. It is an early prediction, but here is my year in advance outlook. The Crusaders have an incredible recruiting class coming in! Also they have a 7 foot transfer from UNLV that will be eligible in December, a pure shooting guard! Of course Brandon McPherson, a seasoned player, red-shirted and returning for one more year! So here it is... The Crusaders will finish in the Top 3... and possibly, if everyone stays healthy, they could win the Horizon League outright!
So now it is on to Wright State University to face the Raiders in the first round of the Horizon League Tourney. IF the Crusaders can put together a solid 40 minutes of play, there is the chance we may see the March Madness begin early with a major upset. It will take every player to play well! Think about this, no one is expecting the Crusaders to walk into to Wright State's home floor and win. The pressure is on Wright State. So play loose - play smart - play hard - and play for all 40 minutes and hopefully Tuesday night the Crusaders will leave victorious!
editorial by Jeff Safrin
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