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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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College Basketball Tuesday Horzon League Tournament Finals Detroit at Valparaiso Start Time, Free Pick

Tuesday Night in CBB we will see the Detroit Titans travel to Indiana to take on the Valparaiso Crusaders in the Finals of the Horizon League Tournament. The game is scheduled for an 9:00 pm tipoff and will be televised live on ESPN.  Currently Valparaiso is favored by 2 points with the total being set at 137 for the game. Playing in their first ever title game in the Horizon League Tournament, the Crusaders of Valparaiso have the homecourt advantage tonight as they clash with the Detroit Titans at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

Free Analysis: Valpo, which had a record of 8-2 in title games as a member of the Mid- Continent Conference before making the move to the Horizon prior to the 2007-08 season, earned a spot in this title tilt by crushing the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday in a 65-46 final. Early in the season Valparaiso didn't look like an NCAA tournament contender, early on, as they just were 6-5 in non-conference play, dropping games to IPFW and IUPUI -- and it's never a good sign when you're losing to schools with that many initials in their name. But Valpo turned things around, going 15-4 against a deep field in the Horizon League. In their win over Butler on Saturday Ryan Broekhoff had one of his best games of the season as he logged 19 points, 16 rebounds, handed out a couple of assists and made a pair of blocks. Broekhoff, named the Horizon League Player of the Year, leads the group in both scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg), the latter a bit surprising given that he is also the most productive three-point shooter for the program with 63 conversions. If Valpo is to win tonight, they'll likely have to do it by making shots from the perimeter. Detroit's tandem of Holman and fellow big man Demarcus Lowe are two of the toughest interior defenders and rebounders in the Horizon, and should stop Valparaiso from finding much room in the paint. Against Detroit in the two regular-season matchups, Valpo connected on a combined 20-of-42 out on the perimeter. Detroit ran into some bad luck with injuries early in the season, and was without its top big man, Eli Holman, due to a suspension. The Titans began the season by losing seven of 11 games in a tough non-conference schedule, dropped their first two Horizon League games, and what was expected to be a breakout year for the program began looking like a big disappointment. But to the credit of Detroit coach Ray McCallum, the team held its focus, got most of its roster back on the floor, and has won 12 of its last 14 games to find itself on the brink of its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999, when the Titans upset UCLA in the first round. Against Cleveland State the Titans trailed by as many as six points in the first half but the tide turned towards the end of the period and it was Detroit that led by six at the break before going on to the five-point win. Ray McCallum had a huge game for Detroit with a game-high 26 points, adding six rebounds and five assists, followed by Jason Calliste with 13 points and seven boards. With the loss of Nick Minnerath, McCallum has picked up the slack however, scoring 15.5 ppg, pulling down 4.5 rpg and handing out about four assists per game. Chase Simon shoots just 37.9 percent from the field, yet the Titans are still confident when he has the ball in his hands as he averages 13.7 ppg. Despite posting just six points and six rebounds in the last game, Eli Holman has been huge off the bench of late, generating 11.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. The Crusaders lead the all-time series by a count of 11-7, sweeping this year's season series in order to run their win streak over Detroit to five in a row. Last year, not only did Valpo take both regular-season matchups, it posted an 88-78 win in the conference tournament quarterfinals as well.

Free Pick: Gonna look to the OVER in this one. 7 of the last 8 in this series has gone Over the total and both meetings this year hit at least 144 points. Detroit played a low scoring game vs Cleveland State, but at least 141 points have been scored in their previous 5 games, with an average of 152.6 ppg being scored in those games. Detroit comes in averaging 77 ppg in their last 8 games and while Valpo has allowed 58.6 ppg in their last 5 games, none of those games were vs a team that can score like the Titans, plus Valpo has allowed 65.6 ppg at home on the year and 72 ppg in the two games vs Detroit. Detroit is normally a solid defensive squad, but this year they have allowed 68.5 ppg overall and 71 ppg in their last 6 games overall, while Valpo has averaged 72.7 ppg on their home floor this year. Both teams can certainly put points on the board, while both defenses are shaky at best. This should be afaced paced game that should easily end up in the 140's.

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