Fans are beginning to file into the UIC Pavilion on Chicago’s Near West Side tonight as the Illinois-Chicago Flames play host to long-time nemesis Valparaiso.
The Flames come into this one losing four out of their last five. At the moment they are 10-5 (1-1 Horizon League), and they are not looking to repeat the same mistakes of the past.
UIC is lead by Senior guards Gary Talton and Daniel Barnes. They have been the back bone for this Flames team all season. Head coach Howard Moore is trying to bring a winning culture back to UIC. A win over the Crusaders tonight will push them in that direction.
The only problem is that playing Valpo is never easy. In 2013, the Crusaders are still led by the Drew Family Dynasty. Former Crusaders and Chicago Bulls point guard Bryce Drew has been the coach for the last couple seasons.
His father Homer Drew was Valpo’s coach for many years followed by Bryce’s older brother Scott. But now Bryce is now in control of a basketball program that put Northwest Indiana on the map.
The Crusaders sport an 11-5 overall record but just like the Flames they are 1-1 in Horizon League play. This will be a hard fought game from start to finish.
The keys to victory for UIC are simple:
1. Prevent Valpo from hitting too many outside jump shots.
2. Get Gary Talton and Daniel Barnes started early and scoring often.
3. Use their size advantage to dominate the Crusaders in the paint.
4. Don’t make the same mistakes that have caused their last five losses.
If the Flames can stick to these keys they will pick up their second conference victory.
You can follow me during the game on Twitter @GabeSalgado82 #Q101Sports