Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Game Preview: Oakland vs. Valparaiso

Game 14: Oakland (7-6) vs Valparaiso (8-4)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 7:30pm at the O'rena
Watch: OU All-Access ($) | Radio: WXOU-FM (88.3)

After beating Rochester College on Monday night, the Golden Grizzlies will take on Valparaiso in the final of the Lou Henson Holiday Tournament. Valparaiso beat Eastern Michigan in the first round on Monday in a game where the Crusaders held the lead throughout despite some sloppiness from both teams. Homer Drew's squad was weak from deep but was able to get to the line much more than the Eagles while forcing their fair share of turnovers as well. Oakland shot lights out, especially from deep, and used its inside advantage to handily win the rebound battle against Rochester College. Both Oakland and Valpo have just one non-conference game left after their battle on Tuesday night, so each school will be looking to pick up a win here with opportunities for good non-conference wins dwindling.

More On The Game
Our regular preview format will return for the Ohio State contest, but we can't talk about Tuesday's game without bringing up a bit of the history between these two schools. For new or young fans, Valparaiso was a staple in the upper-echelon of the then Mid-Continent Conference during the late 1990s, at one point going to five straight NCAA Tournaments. The program's continued success earned it enough of a reputation to garner attention from the Horizon League, the conference it has been in since 2007-2008.

Prior to the move, Oakland had built a three game win streak against the Crusaders. However, Oakland had lost every prior meeting with Valparaiso dating back to the 1998-1999 season. This game represents a chance for the Golden Grizzlies to chip into that all-time lead just a bit more. In the here and now, Valparaiso has a team expected to do well in the Horizon League this season. The team has taken care of business against teams a top-four Horizon team should beat, sans a letdown to a struggling Toledo team. They also handily beat IPFW on Saturday by a score of 63-47. While the match-up will appeal to the long-time Grizzlies fans, it should also be respected by newer fans as it represents yet another opportunity for Oakland to show what it can do against a team from the venerable Horizon League.

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