By: Sammy Stava
An in-state rivalry tipped off the 2019 Missouri Valley Tournament between Valparaiso and Indiana State. The game also featured the MVC’s leading scorer Tyreke Key for the Sycamores. Key did play like the league’s leading scorer with a 20-point game, but the night belonged to Markus Golder and the Crusaders. Golder led the team with 18 points in a 77-55 victory.
It was the first-ever MVC Tournament win for head coach Matt Lottich and Valparaiso. “First I just want to say how nice and special this event is. This is a first-class tournament. It’s unbelievable coming in here. Feels like an NCAA Tournament game. Maybe that’s why the Valley has had a lot of success playing in NCAA Tournaments. It really has that feel. Proud to be in this league,” – Lottich said of his second year experiencing Arch Madness as Valpo’s head coach.
So, what’s next for Valparaiso after winning their first MVC Tournament game? As a reward, they’ll get to play No. 1 seed Loyola in the quarterfinals.
“Is that the same team that went to the Final Four last year?” – Lottich said of the Ramblers. Indeed it is, coach.
Valpo lost to Loyola twice this season, but as Indiana State learned Thursday night, it’s very hard to beat the same team three times in one year.
In his first ever MVC Tournament game, Valpo freshman Javon Freeman scored 17 points. What’s next for him? “I mean, it’s a very good and fun experience, but I know we came down here to win games. So just have to brush it off and play my game.”
It’ll have to take a little bit of history, as an 8/9 seed still has never beaten a No. 1 seed in MVC Tournament history.
Valparaiso will look to do that tomorrow at noon against Loyola in the first game of the quarterfinals on 550 KTRS.