The game will be televised nationally by espn2 with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Brad Daugherty (color) calling the action. Tipoff is set for 9:05 PM.
This will mark the first time that Duke and Valparaiso will meet in basketball. This is also Duke's first game against a Mid-Continent Conference team.
Meet the Crusaders:
Probable Starting Lineup: Roberto Nieves (6-4, 195, G, Sr.) – 6.8 ppg, 1.3 apg, 3.2 rpg Miquel Ali Berdiel (6-6, 210, G, Jr.) – 11.5 ppg, 6.3 apg Oumar Sylla (6-7, 195, F, Fr.) – 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg Dan Oppland (6-8, 225, F, So.) – 15.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg Joaquim Gomes (6-8, 223, C, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg Key Reserves: Seth Colclasure (6-2, 175, G, So.) – 3.0 ppg Ron Howard (6-5, 187, F, So.) – 7.3 ppg Kenny Harris (6-10, 310, C, Fr.) – 4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg Greg Tonagel (6-3, 190, G, Sr.) – 6.3 ppg, 2.7 apg Jimmie Miles (6-2, 185, G, Fr.) – 6.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
The Crusaders enter the game with a 13-11 mark on the year, including a 10-5 record in the Mid-Continent Conference. The Valpo offense begins in the paint where a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards are having the best seasons of their careers. The ‘center' position is manned by 6-foot-8 Joaquim Gomes, a versatile big guy who does a little bit of everything. Gomes can step out and knock down the three, take his man off the dribble, and he's a very good rebounder.
Lining up beside Gomes will be 6-foot-8 Dan Oppland, who's leading the team in scoring and is probably the best pure talent on the Crusaders' roster. Despite being a forward, Oppland has been known to check other guards.
The Valpo wings have been very good at times this year, and then non existent at others. The defensive stopper has been Oumar Sylia, who is working to become more consistent on the offensive end. The other wing is Roberto Nieves, who loves to shoot the three and will either knock them down during long hot stretches, or he'll fire up a string of air balls, with not a lot in between.
The point guard position is interesting as Valpo brings 6-foot-6 Miquel Ali Berdiel to the table. The long and lanky guard has good court vision and uses his long arms to get into passing lanes and frustrate smaller defenders. Despite running the team very efficiently this season, he sometimes tries to take on too much of the scoring load and can get into trouble. His season high has been 28 points against Oral Roberts.
The Valpo bench is very deep with four guards coming off the bench, including a pair of very productive freshmen in Greg Tonagel and Jimmie Miles, both of whom are hitting from around seven points per game. There's also Kenny Harris, who's built like Shaq (6-10, 310 pounds), but has major problems with stamina at times, which limits his effectiveness. Still, he's a terrific passer for a big guy and has had a few stretches where he's logged double figure points a few times this season.
Thanks to Duke Sports Information for much of this information, and the AP for use of the photo.