Team preview: Valparaiso

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Valparaiso assistant Matt Bowen sounded an alarm for the program last summer.

"We're not very deep," Bowen said. "If our point guard or center goes down, we're hurting."

Alas, Bowen's grim assessment came to pass.
Point guard Ali Berdiel suffered a foot injury and played only two games. Center Kenny Harris was limited to 21 games (11 starts) because of back trouble.

With the blueprint for success no longer in existence, the season turned out to be a "disaster," Bowen said.

The Crusaders dippped to third in the conference. Even more disheartening was their quarterfinal exit in the conference tournament.

"That was a tremendous letdown," Bowen said about the loss to Chicago State. "We just ran out of gas. We were up and then we couldn't contain them. It was a microcosm of our year. There was just nothing left in the tank."

This downward spiral began with the injury to Berdiel, who is still a question mark for this season after red-shirting because of plantar fasciatis.

"When Ali went down, it changed the entire dynamics of the team," Bowen said. "Our leadership, style of play, everything."