The Valparaiso University men’s basketball program and head coach Matt Lottich have announced the program’s 2020-2021 nonconference schedule. The slate tips off on Friday, Nov. 27 with a trip to Vanderbilt.
The game in Nashville commences a nine-game nonleague slate that leads into Missouri Valley Conference play. The home portion of the season will begin on Sunday, Nov. 29 as Trinity International visits the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Judson (Dec. 6), SIUE (Dec. 9) and Eastern Michigan (Dec. 16) will account for the other three home games prior to Valley action. Lottich’s team will make trips to UIC (Dec. 1), Purdue (Dec. 4), Central Michigan (Dec. 12) and Toledo (Dec. 19) during the abridged nonconference slate.
Due to Porter County recently being changed to “red” on the state of Indiana’s coronavirus response metric map, spectator policies are still being finalized. Additional information will be communicated as soon as it becomes available.
Series Notes: Vanderbilt (Nov. 27, Nashville, Tenn.)
- This marks the third meeting between the two teams and first since Nov. 20, 2007, an 87-78 victory for the homestanding Commodores.
- Vanderbilt has won each of the first two matchups, but both have come by fewer than 10 points. The Commodores won 74-66 on Nov. 20, 1996, also in the Music City.
- The 1996 matchup was the season opener as part of the Preseason NIT, while the 2007 clash was a non-bracketed game as part of the South Padre Island Invitational.
Inside the Commodores
- Under the direction of Jerry Stackhouse, who is in his second season after previously serving as an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. Stackhouse played in the NBA for 18 seasons and was a two-time all-star with the Detroit Pistons (2000, 2001).
- Stackhouse and Valpo head coach Matt Lottich share the same predecessor in their current positions. Both took over for Valpo basketball legend and current Grand Canyon head coach Bryce Drew.
- Went 11-21 last season but won their final two regular-season games, topping SEC foes Alabama and South Carolina.
- Roster includes Scotty Pippen Jr., son of the six-time NBA champion.
Series Notes: Trinity International (Nov. 29, ARC)
- This marks the third meeting between the two teams with Valpo owning victories in each of the first two.
- Valpo prevailed 100-49 on Nov. 21, 1999 and won the most recent matchup 79-54 on Dec. 10, 2014. Tevonn Walker scored 15 points in 19 minutes to lead the way while Keith Carter posted 12 points and seven boards in the 2014 clash.
Scouting the Trojans
- Under the direction of Greg Miller, who was named head coach in June 2019.
- Had a five-overtime victory at Calumet College of St. Joseph last season, tying the NAIA Division-II record for most overtime periods.
- Graduated four players from last season, but have seven returnees.
Series Notes: UIC (Dec. 1, Chicago, Ill.)
- This will mark Valpo’s first game against a member of the Horizon League since departing the conference following the 2016-2017 season.
- Valpo owns a 17-game winning streak in the head-to-head series. The last time the Flames topped the Brown & Gold was on Feb. 15, 2009, 83-76 at the ARC.
- The final Horizon League matchup was a memorable one as Alec Peters became the program’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing the career mark previously held by Bryce Drew. Peters’ double-double of 30 points and 10 rebounds lifted Valpo to a 96-65 triumph on Jan. 22, 2017.
- Despite the recent success against UIC, Valpo holds a 26-29 record in the all-times series. Valpo was just 9-29 against UIC before the start of the current head-to-head winning streak.
Inside the Flames
- Under the direction of first-year head coach Luke Yaklich, who most recently served as the associate head coach under Shaka Smart at Texas.
- Roster includes Michigan City High School product and Gary native Rob Howard, a redshirt senior.
- Posted an 18-17 record last season including a 10-8 Horizon League mark. This matchup features a pair of teams that came within one win of the NCAA Tournament last season, as the Flames fell 71-62 to Northern Kentucky in the Horizon League title game.
- Picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll.
Series Notes: Judson (Dec. 6, ARC)
- First meeting between the two teams.
Inside the Eagles
- Also scheduled to play Missouri Valley Conference member Bradley this season (Dec. 1).
- Under the direction of first-year head coach Bruce Fields, who scored over 1,000 points during his playing days at Gardner Webb.
Series Notes: SIUE (Dec. 9, ARC)
- These two squads will face off for the fourth straight season after having never locked horns prior to the 2017-18 campaign.
- Valpo will look to remain unbeaten against SIUE after winning each of the first three matchups, most recently 89-76 on Nov. 12, 2019 in Edwardsville. Valpo trailed that game by 10 with 13 minutes remaining in the opening half, but flipped the script for a double-figure victory.
- The only prior meeting that occurred in the Hoosier State required overtime to determine a victor with Valpo winning 75-70 on Nov. 21, 2018.
Inside the Cougars
- Went 8-23 overall and 5-13 in the Ohio Valley Conference last season.
- Under the direction of head coach Brian Barone, who is in his second season after capturing the program’s first-ever win at Belmont among five OVC victories a year ago.
Series Notes: Central Michigan (Dec. 12, Mount Pleasant, Mich.)
- These two teams renewed this matchup on Dec. 8, 2019, with Valpo running away with a 77-55 victory at the Athletics-Recreation Center. It was Homer Drew Day at the ARC as the Valpo coaching legend was recognized for his induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Valpo held a CMU team that entered the day leading the nation in scoring at 93.9 points per game to a season-low 55 points.
- That leveled the all-time series at four wins apiece. The two teams have traded wins since the first face-off, which occurred during the 1925-26 season in Valpo.
- This will mark Valpo’s first voyage to Mount Pleasant since a 68-55 setback on Nov. 23, 2004.
- Home teams have won seven straight in the all-time series, a trend the Brown & Gold will hope to buck. The Chippewas are a perfect 3-0 when hosting Valpo.
Inside the Chippewas
- Central Michigan went 14-18 last season including a 7-11 MAC record.
- The team features seven newcomers and just one returning starter.
- Head coach Keno Davis is in his ninth season at the helm.
Series Notes: Eastern Michigan (Dec. 16, ARC)
- This marks the fifth overall meeting and the second consecutive season these two teams have faced off.
- The two teams have split the first four meetings including Eastern Michigan’s 85-79 win in Ypsilanti on Dec. 3, 2019. Valpo trailed by as many as 12 and rallied to take a late six-point lead, but could not hold on to complete the comeback victory.
- This will represent Eastern Michigan’s first visit to the ARC since Jan. 2, 1988. Valpo garnered a 59-57 victory in the final season under Tom Smith, the predecessor to Homer Drew.
Inside the Eagles
- The Eagles went 16-16 last season including a 6-12 Mid-American Conference mark. They were tough to beat at home, going 11-4, but owned a 3-12 road record.
- Eastern Michigan fifth-year senior James Love III and Valpo redshirt sophomore Goodnews Kpegeol were teammates at Kansas State in 2018-2019.
- Head coach Rob Murphy is in his 10th season leading the Eagles.
Series Notes: Toledo (Dec. 19, Toledo, Ohio)
- Valpo opened the 2019-20 season with a dramatic 79-77 victory over Toledo that came on a go-ahead 15-footer with four seconds remaining in regulation.
- Valpo erased a 14-point deficit to win, which proved to be a sign of things to come during a 2019-20 season that was filled with comebacks. At the time, that marked Valpo’s largest rally against a Division-I opponent since January 2013.
- The all-time series is tied at six wins each, but Valpo has prevailed in five of the last six matchups. The only setback in that stretch came during the program’s most recent trip to Toledo as the Rockets triumphed 75-72 in overtime on Dec. 11, 2010.
- The series also featured a 1995 matchup in Hilo, Hawaii that Valpo won 84-65 as part of the Big Island Invitational.
- Head coach Tod Kowalczyk garnered his first victory as Toledo head coach against the Brown & Gold on Dec. 11, 2010.
Inside the Rockets
- Marreon Jackson is back after earning second team All-MAC honors last season, averaging 18.8 points per game and setting a school record with 99 made 3s. Spencer Littleson also returns after averaging 10.5 points per game and will be joined in the backcourt by 2019-20 All-MAC Freshman Team member Keshaun Saunders.
- The team battled numerous injuries last year but still finished 17-15, winning five of its last six games.
- Head coach Tod Kowalczyk also coached against Valpo seven times during his stint as the head coach at Green Bay, which lasted from 2002-2010.
- Toledo is also scheduled to play Missouri Valley Conference member Bradley this season.