Valparaiso Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Valparaiso Crusaders
Horizon (28-5, 13-3)


A young Valparaiso squad was supposed to need a year or two before competing for a Horizon League title. They didn’t need near that much time. The Crusaders made a statement to the conference way back in November and December when they beat quality teams like Murray State and Eastern Kentucky. By the time Horizon action rolled around, Valpo was even tougher to beat and they only lost three conference games during the regular season.

Big Wins: 11/29 vs Murray State (93-58), 12/29 at James Madison (79-52), 2/13 Green Bay (63-59)
Bad Losses: 12/6 New Mexico (46-63), 1/2 at Oakland (75-89), 2/25 at Detroit (60-63)
Coach: Bryce Drew

Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Bryce Drew’s squad has big players who can compete with major conference teams. It starts with sophomore forward Alec Peters. The 6-9, 225 pound Washington, Illinois native is averaging a team high 16.7 points and 6.8 rebounds. Peters can battle in the paint, but he is also the stretch four on this team and has connected on an impressive 46.2 percent of his 171 three-point attempts. There are not many opposing power forwards who will be comfortable defending a 6-9 forward who can shoot like that. Vashil Fernandez is the more traditional post player. Fernandez is not much of a scorer, but he is a strong rebounder and a great shot blocker. Wing E.Victor Nickerson has brought even more size to the team after transferring in from Charlotte. He has not been particularly productive, yet his 6-8 frame is at least nice to have defensively on the wing.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The Crusaders backcourt has some good scorers, most notably Darien Walker and Tevon Walker. Darien Walker is the more dangerous outside shooter, while Tevonn does most of his damage attacking the basket. With Keith Carter usually coming off of the bench, Valpo does have scoring options on the perimeter. But this is a pretty young team and turnovers are a problem. Against a team that outmatches them physically, Valpo cannot afford to lose possessions in the turnover battle.

Probable Starters:
Darien Walker, Junior, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 4.5 rpg
Tevon Walker, Freshman, Guard, 10.2 ppg, 1.7 apg
E. Victor Nickerson, Junior, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Alec Peters, Sophomore, Forward, 16.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Vashil Fernandez, Senior, Center, 6.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.0 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jubril Adekoya, Sophomore, Forward, 4.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Keith Carter, Junior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 3.7 apg
David Skara, Freshman, Forward, 5.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.3 (96th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.8 (23, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.1 (59, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.3 (13, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (118, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.1 (50, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.6 (233, 8)
Rebound Margin: 7.6 (10, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (124, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (182, 6)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    CIT    First Round loss to Columbia
2013    NCAA    Second Round loss to Michigan State
2012    NIT    First Round loss to Miami
2011    CIT    First Round loss to Iona
2008    CBI    First Round win over Washington
2008    CBI    Second Round loss to Houston
2004    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Gonzaga
2003    NIT    Opening round loss to Iowa
2002    NCAA    Round of 64 loss Kentucky

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules