Loyola-Chicago looks to extend streak vs Valpo

Valparaiso (12-12, 5-6) vs. Loyola of Chicago (15-9, 7-4)

Joseph J. Gentile Center, Chicago; Sunday, 4 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Loyola of Chicago looks for its seventh straight win in the head-to-head series over Valparaiso. In its last six wins against the Crusaders, Loyola of Chicago has won by an average of 11 points. Valparaiso’s last win in the series came on Feb. 19, 2013, an 85-76 victory.

TEAM LEADERSHIP: This game represents an Illinois homecoming for Crusaders sophomore Javon Freeman-Liberty, who’s averaging 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals this season. He’s been complemented nicely by Donovan Clay, who’s recording 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. On the other bench, Cameron Krutwig has averaged 15 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists while Tate Hall has put up 13.1 points.

DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Ramblers have allowed just 57.9 points per game to conference opponents so far, an improvement from the 63.4 per game they allowed in non-conference play.

KEY CONTRIBUTOR: Krutwig has been directly responsible for 51 percent of all Loyola of Chicago field goals over the last five games. The junior big man has 33 field goals and 24 assists in those games.

WINLESS WHEN: Valparaiso is 0-6 when scoring fewer than 63 points and 12-6 when scoring at least 63.

TWO STREAKS: Valparaiso has dropped its last four road games, scoring 64.3 points and allowing 74.5 points during those contests. Loyola of Chicago has won its last five home games, scoring an average of 68.2 points while giving up 51.2.

DID YOU KNOW: The tough Loyola of Chicago defense has held opponents to 60.7 points per game, the 13th-lowest mark in Division I. Valparaiso has allowed an average of 72.3 points through 24 games (ranking the Crusaders 231st).