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How to watch Northwestern vs. Valparaiso: Preview, TV channel, streaming, radio

This one won’t be as easy.

NCAA Basketball: Chicago State at Northwestern Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After all the fun that was had in Monday night’s historic victory, Northwestern (6-4) faces a tougher test tonight against Valparaiso (8-2) at Allstate Arena.

If you take KenPom as the immaculate truth, a win over the Crusaders would be the Wildcats’ best win of the season. Valparaiso comes in at 86th in KenPom’s rankings, ahead of Illinois, who slots in at 92nd. Impressively enough, Matt Lottich’s squad opened the season 8-0, though their best win is over a 5-6 Utah State team. The month of December hasn’t been as kind to Valparaiso, as the Crusaders were throttled by Purdue in West Lafayette before falling 71-70 to Ball State on a last-second three-pointer to bring their record to 8-2.

While Valparaiso has benefitted from some weak competition, defense has been their calling card in 2017-18. The Crusaders are among the stingiest teams in the country at defending the three-point line, allowing only 27.1 percent of shots to hit. Poor competition aside, that number seems like a low expectation for the Wildcats after Northwestern canned 12 of 20 threes on Monday night. Valparaiso isn’t going to force a ton of turnovers, but Lottich likes to use his bench liberally and the Crusaders will be fresh and ready to defend all night.

Senior guard Tevonn Walker, Valpo’s top scorer, missed Saturday’s contest with Ball State after coming down with mono. After Scottie Lindsey’s bout with the illness last winter, Northwestern fans know this diagnosis too well and it’s safe to assume Walker will miss the game tonight.

Guards Bakari Evelyn and Joe Burton, both Power 5 conference transfers, will carry the scoring load for the Crusaders. Vic Law will likely draw the matchup on Burton, as the 6-foot-6 Oklahoma State transfer put up 36 combined points in Valpo’s last two games. Evelyn, a former Nebraska Cornhusker, is the top distributor (3.7 apg) and a competent three-point shooter (36 percent). Like Northwestern, the Crusaders also have somewhat of a celebrity on the team in 7-foot-2 center Derrik Smits, the son of former Indiana Pacers All-Star Rik Smits. The sophomore is prone to foul trouble but is solid around the rim and rebounds well.

Tonight’s game is going to be wildly different from Monday’s matchup against Chicago State. The Crusaders are going to be looking for a win in their final Power 5 matchup of the season. Facing high-caliber scoring talent and a deep bench, this isn’t going to be an easy matchup for the Wildcats. It is, however, a game that good teams need to win.

Adjusted ranks (KenPom)

Stat Northwestern rank Valparaiso rank
Stat Northwestern rank Valparaiso rank
Off. efficiency 53 180
Def. efficiency 70 38
Tempo 273 83

Broadcast Information:

Gametime: 7:00 p.m. CT


Streaming/Mobile: BTN2Go

Radio: ESPN 1000

KenPom prediction: 73-66 (75 percent chance to win)

Betting Line: Northwestern -9.5