Drake (12-4, 2-1) vs. Valparaiso (8-8, 1-2)
Athletics-Recreation Center, Valparaiso, Indiana; Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Two guards will be on display as Roman Penn and Drake will face Javon Freeman-Liberty and Valparaiso. The junior Penn is averaging 13.2 points and 7.8 assists over the last five games. Freeman-Liberty, a sophomore, has scored 28 percent of the team’s points this season and is averaging 18.8 over his last five games.
SQUAD LEADERSHIP: The electric Freeman-Liberty is putting up 20.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals to lead the way for the Crusaders. Nick Robinson has complemented Freeman-Liberty and is putting up 7.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs have been led by Penn, who is averaging 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Crusaders have given up only 69.3 points per game across three conference games. That’s an improvement from the 73.7 per game they allowed in non-conference play.
FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Penn has been directly responsible for 47 percent of all Drake field goals over the last three games. Penn has 10 field goals and 28 assists in those games.
WINLESS WHEN: Valparaiso is 0-6 this year when it scores 70 points or fewer and 8-2 when it scores at least 71.
PASSING FOR POINTS: The Bulldogs have recently created baskets via assists more often than the Crusaders. Valparaiso has an assist on 45 of 73 field goals (61.6 percent) across its past three contests while Drake has assists on 59 of 81 field goals (72.8 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: Valparaiso is ranked first in the MVC with an average of 72.7 possessions per game.
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