Section EE tackles Valpo’s schedule

While we’re just getting started with our predictions for Milwaukee’s schedule, Valparaiso’s fan blog Section EE has already gotten through half of their schedule.  Brent and Hank seem to think that their Crusaders are going to be scary good, better than they were through their first ten games last year, indeed better than they have been since their first year in the conference, when they chowed down on 5 sub-200 RPI teams and non D-I Grace to push off to a 10-2 record to begin the 2007-08 season.

After that 07-08 season, the Crusaders have seen an upward trend from the 08-09 basement of 3-9, going 5-7 and 8-4 in subsequent seasons’ first 12 games.  Despite losing Brandon Wood and Cory Johnson, a lack of proven bodies on the front line and losing 3 of their top 4 scorers overall, both Brent and Hank see the Crusaders getting even better in 2011-12.

Their only difference of opinion seems to hinge on the conference opener at Butler.  Both believe it will be a very tight game, while Brent sees a victory and Hank sees another loss at Hinkle.  Otherwise, both Crusader fans see the VU Crew going 9-2 in their other games, with Brent going 10-2 over the first 12 and Hank going 9-3.

Both records are better than last year’s senior-laden team that fell out of first place in the second-to-last week of the season.  It’s even better when you see that VU only plays one non D-I game this season as opposed to the two they played last year.  Brent and Hank see tough double-digit losses at Arizona to open the season and an embarrassing loss at Ohio State, but otherwise see Bryce Drew captaining a seamless transition from his father Homer, a head coaching veteran of 34 years who ended his career with 640 victories, one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history.

Sorry guys, but if you couldn’t pick it up, I was trying to lay down some thick sarcasm.  I just can’t see a team without a proven front court player – Kevin Van Wijk needs to be on the court more than 15 mpg, something I have major doubts he can do with that back – lose its wily veteran head coach and two beastly leading scorers actually get better than the year before.  The recruiting class is grim – Richie Edwards is a ho-hum recruit, someone who was decently rated coming out of high school but has lost luster after two years in JUCO.  That isn’t to say he hasn’t done anything, but the Florida JUCO scene isn’t Iowa, Illinois, Missouri or Kansas’ JUCO.  James Eayrs didn’t come into the H-League and average 25 and 10 like he did in JUCO.  Before I get blasted by Valpo for having two incoming JUCO’s of our own, let me point out that Paris Gulley and Demetrius Harris have reached lists of the top 50 JUCO players incoming in 2011-12, and James Haarsma is on the list of top 75 transfers for the coming season.  Add into that ESPN’s higher rated recruiting class of Shaq Boga and JJ Panoske as well as the (now regretted redshirt) freshman Evan Richard and Milwaukee is countering the loss of Hill and Boyle with more, and more, and more.

I’m all for being a fan, but I’m hard pressed to believe that Valpo, in the beginning of a transition, is going to do better with a more difficult schedule in the first 12 games than they did a season ago.  If they do, awesome, because we need the RPI boost.

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