A game Dec. 20 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. against likely preseason #1 North Carolina highlights the Valparaiso men’s basketball schedule for the 2008-2009 campaign, as released today by Crusader head coach Homer Drew.
The game against the Tar Heels, which will be televised nationally on ESPNU, represents the third time in the last seven seasons that Valpo has played a game at the United Center. The Crusaders took on #6 Notre Dame at Chicago’s premier facility on Jan. 4, 2003, and hosted #10 Duke at the United Center on Dec. 4, 2004.
The Crusaders kick off the regular season at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday, Nov. 15 against Marian, and follow three days later with a home contest against Conference USA foe UCF. Valpo then travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam Nov. 21-24, where they will play three games in four days. The Crusaders will face San Diego, which advanced to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, in the opener, with either Iona or Wisconsin waiting for the second game. The other side of the tournament bracket is comprised of UConn, LaSalle, Miami (Fla.) and Southern Miss.
The Horizon League schedule again opens with a pair of games in early December. The Crusaders will get their longest road trip of the league slate out of the way immediately, traveling to Cleveland State Dec. 2 and facing Youngstown State Dec. 4. Valpo returns home for a Dec. 10 game against IPFW before heading back on the road to play Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 13.
A return game at UCF is scheduled for Dec. 22, to be followed six days later by a game at Purdue, which won its first round NCAA Tournament game last year. The 2008 calendar closes with a game at the ARC Dec. 30 versus North Park.
The league’s double round robin slate picks up in 2009, as the Crusaders host Butler on Jan. 3 at the ARC. The regular season will close with three straight home games, with Youngstown State coming to town on Saturday, Feb. 28 on Senior Night. The Horizon League Championships will be held March 3-10 on campus sites, and the champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.