#851 Valaparaiso University Crusadersvs.#852 Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Written by Chris Kubala
Valparaiso Crusaders (21-5 SU, 13-10 ATS, 11-12 O/U) vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (19-7 SU, 11-12 ATS, 7-15-1 O/U)
NCAAB: Friday, February 17, 2017, Athletics Center O’rena, Rochester, Michigan, 7 pm ET
Spread: Oakland -1, Over/Under: 143.5
It’s a battle of the top two teams in the Horizon League up in the Great Lakes State. The Valparaiso Crusaders are on the road as they take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies Friday night. Valparaiso won their second straight with an 82-72 home win over Youngstown State last Saturday. Oakland won their fourth in a row as they downed Detroit Mercy 89-80 on the road last Friday night. The teams have split the last ten meetings with Oakland winning the first matchup this season 78-66 on the road January 6.
Valparaiso knocked off Youngstown State rather handily to put together back to back wins. The Crusaders are 11-2 in the Horizon League, two games ahead of Oakland. A win here would give them a three game edge with four games to play, virtually locking up the Horizon League regular season crown. Valparaiso took a 10 point halftime edge and traded buckets the rest of the way to get the win. The Crusaders shot 48.2 percent from the field in the game and went 8 of 19 from three point range in the game. Valparaiso limited the Penguins to 34.8 percent shooting in the game. Shane Hammink led the Crusaders with 23 points plus seven rebounds in the win.
The Crusaders are currently tied for 109th in scoring offense as they put up 76.3 points per game. The team is 29th in the nation in rebounding as they pull down 39.6 boards a night while coming in tied for 206th in the nation in assists with 13.2 dimes a night. The Crusaders are tied for 86th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 68.7 points per game this season. The Crusaders are shooting 44.5 percent from the floor as a team. Valparaiso is knocking down 6.4 threes per game but they hit only 32.4 percent of their three point attempts. Alec Peters leads the team with 23.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Shane Hammink puts up 15.5 points plus 2.8 assists while Tevonn Walker contributes 11.4 points plus 5.6 rebounds a night. Jubril Adekoya, Lexus Williams, Jaume Sorolla and Max Joseph each average at least 4.8 points a game for the Crusaders.
Oakland reeled off a fourth straight win to keep themselves within striking distance of the top spot in the Horizon League. The Golden Grizzlies are 9-3 in the conference, two games behind Valparaiso. A win here would give Oakland a solid chance at stealing the top spot as they’d be within one game with a sweep of Valparaiso. The Golden Grizzlies ran to an 18 point halftime lead and weathered the storm in the second half to get the win. Oakland shot 53.6 percent from the field and went 6 of 15 from three point range in the game. Jalen Hayes and Sherron Dorsey-Walker each finished with 22 points in the win for Oakland.
The Golden Grizzlies are 82nd in the nation in scoring offense as they average 77.7 points per game. The team is tied for 36th in rebounding by collecting 39.1 boards per contest. Oakland is 20th in the nation with 16.7 assists per game. The Golden Grizzlies are solid on the defensive end as they are 115th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 69.9 points per game. The Golden Grizzlies shoot 44.7 percent from the floor as a team. Oakland is connecting on 6.8 three point field goals per game while shooting 31.7 percent from beyond the arc. Martez Walker leads the team with 16.7 points per game. Jalen Hayes averages 15.8 points plus 7.6 rebounds per contest while Sherron Dorsey-Walker contributes 12.7 points, 5.3 boards and 3.6 assists a night. Stevie Clark, Isaiah Brock, Nick Daniels and Xavier Hill-Mais each contribute more than five points a night for the Golden Grizzlies.
This one should be a highly entertaining contest between a pair of tough teams in the Horizon League. Oakland has won four straight and owns a win over Valparaiso this season. The Crusaders have a two game edge in the standings but can’t take a loss here if they want to pretty much lock up the regular season title. I think Valparaiso exacts their revenge by taking down the Golden Grizzlies here. Take the point and the Crusaders.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.