- Veteran team? Check. Valpo returns 10 of 11 letterwinners from last season’s 28-6 squad, including 98.3 percent of its minutes played and 98.8 percent of its scoring.
- Been there before? Yup. The Crusaders had a chance to upset Maryland (as a No. 13 seed) late in last year’s NCAA Tournament before eventually falling, 65-62. It was Valpo’s ninth trip to the NCAAs since 1996.
- Star player? How about 6’9” junior Alec Peters, who was 13th nationally in three-point percentage (46.7%) last season and finished in the top 100 nationally in scoring, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-pointers per game (and finished sixth in the Horizon League in rebounding).
Valparaiso’s Q-rating is also helped by the fact that mere mention of the school’s name sends the casual fan’s brain back to 1998, when current Valpo coach Bryce Drew — then coached by his father — hit one of the most memorable shots in NCAA Tournament history, beating Mississippi on “The Shot” (it ended up winning an ESPY for Play of the Year). Drew has been asked approximately 125,342 times about that March 1998 afternoon, and has smiled when responding to each and every query. He even hopes that number dramatically rises in the next few months because it would mean the Crusaders are winning big games. Read the rest of this entry »