The Horizon League is no stranger to NCAA Basketball success. Butler made it to two consecutive National Championship games while playing in the conference, and brought the mid-major schools into the forefront of collegiate sports.
Butler has since left the Horizon League for the Big East. And while the Horizon’s most successful team departed, there is still plenty of talent residing within the conference.
One such team that wants to become the next Butler is Valparaiso.
Bryce Drew is on the frontline of the Valpo movement. Mostly known for his playing days, he hit one of the most heroic buzzer-beaters in NCAA Tournament history. Now, Drew is the head coach of his alma mater, and in five years has taken turned them into one of the most feared mid-major’s of the collegiate world.
The Crusaders are led by junior, Alec Peters, who is a consensus All-Conference talent.
On the young season, Peters averages 17 points and 5.8 rebounds, leading Valparaiso in both categories.
“Alec is such a competitor,” Drew said. “He wants the ball in all situations, especially at the end of the game.”
The Crusaders already have three quality wins on their resume, beating Iona, Rhode Island and Oregon State. All three victories will go a long way in factoring into the teams NCAA Tournament hopes.
CBS Sports, Jon Rothstein stated that he believes Valpo could garner an at-large bid to the Tournament. That’s assuming they don’t claim the Horizon League’s automatic bid, which is a likely scenario.
Led by the coaching of Drew and the play of Peters, Valpo is indeed one of the NCAA’s most underrated squads. They might not be a Final Four contender, but a Cinderella run in March isn’t out of the question.