2015 NCAA Tournament Preview: Valparaiso Crusaders

The Valparaiso Crusaders are in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years after winning the Horizon League over Green Bay, and are hoping to record their first victory in the Big Dance since their magical 1998 run to the Sweet 16.


Record – 28-5 (13-3 in Horizon)

RPI – 61

Strength of Schedule – 296

Starting Lineup:

G Tevonn Walker (Fr.) – 10.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg

G Victor Nickerson (Jr.) – 6.0 ppg, 2.0 apg

G Darien Walker (Jr.) – 11.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg

F Vashil Fernandez (Sr.) – 6.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg

F Alec Peters (So.) – 17.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Key Player:

Alec Peters

Peters is the go-to guy for the Crusaders on the offensive end, and he's the only one they can rely on to consistently knock down shots. He shoots 50 percent from the floor, and has range that stretches all the way out to the three-point line, where he shoots 48 percent.

Biggest Strength:


Valpo doesn't force a lot of turnovers, but their defense is suffocating nonetheless. They allow just over 59 points per game (19th in the country) because they're solid in their rotations and adjust their strategy to take away what their opponent does well.

Biggest Weakness:

Ball Movement

While defense comes easy, offense is much more of a struggle for the Crusaders. Their offense is often stagnant without much ball movement, which makes it easy for a defense to guard them. They've been able to get by against lesser competition, but that won't be the case against a good team unless they make some changes.


Valpo's defense will give them a chance against anyone, and if their offense is efficient, they have the potential to pull off an upset in the first round. However, I don't see that happening.

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