College Basketball Betting: Green Bay at Valparaiso

College Basketball Betting: Green Bay at Valparaiso

The 2014-15 Horizon League Championship will be decided Tuesday night between the conference’s top two seeds when Green Bay travels to Valparaiso. Winner automatically advances to the Field of 68, while the loser will have to cross their fingers for an NIT invite. This will be a rubber match for the Phoenix and Crusaders after they split two regular season tussles. The former haven’t gone dancing since 1996, and the latter’s last trip came in 2013. Two of the league’s best players will go head-to-head in Green Bay senior guard Keifer Sykes and Valpo sophomore forward Alec Peters. Neither team has a victory against Top 25 competition, but the Phoenix did visit Big Ten power Wisconsin way back on November 19th, losing by 24. Here’s a preview and prediction.


The aforementioned Keifer Sykes posted his worst game of the season in the February 13th defeat at Valpo. He finished with 7 points on 2-13 shooting, but has averaged 25.6 points in his last five starts since the defeat. The two-time Horizon Player of the Year holds the distinct honor of being the only one in the history of the league to total 2000 points, 500 assists, and 400 rebounds. The Phoenix also got destroyed on the glass 45-30, which has been a problem at times for their undersized roster. On a positive note, they did record nine steals and 11 blocks, including five from senior forward Greg Mays. Depth is a concern for head coach Brian Wardle, but his seven-man rotation is experienced and athletic. Mays and junior Jordan Fouse are guys to watch; both are excellent defenders and rebounders. But the key is Sykes, who is a lethal scorer when he finds his touch early.

Valparaiso claimed the regular season title by one game over Green Bay. They boast one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, ranking 23rd overall. Do-it-all forward Alec Peters leads the team in scoring, rebounding, three-point shooting, and free-throw percentage. He was stymied in the first meeting on January 23rd, netting only 9 points and three boards. However, he was much improved in the rematch, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds, one of his six double-doubles on the year. Guard Darien Walker has been hot of late, averaging 15.6 points and hitting 11-24 from beyond the arc in his last five. Big man Vashil Fernandez’s ability to protect the rim is one of the main reasons the Crusaders are so effective on defense; he averages nearly three blocks per game and totaled seven in the first two meetings versus the Phoenix.

Five points separated these two during the regular season. Both are similarly built and each relies on defense to control the pace. Green Bay is 1-4 ATS in its last five on the road. Valpo is 9-6 ATS at home. Tough to go against the home chalk, but Sykes is motivated to finally see the Big Dance.

Bet Green Bay +2.5