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Updated: Monday, December 30, 2002 11:10 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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Valparaiso (5-5) at No. 16 Missouri (6-1)
VALPARAISO CRUSADERS
Valparaiso Crusaders
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MISSOURI TIGERS
Missouri Tigers
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COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- No. 16 Missouri returns to the comfort of the Hearnes Center on Monday night when it hosts Valparaiso.

Missouri (6-1) faced a ranked opponent for the first time on December 21 and suffered a humbling 85-70 loss to Illinois in St. Louis in the "Braggin Rights" game. Rickey Paulding scored 17 points and Ricky Clemons added 16.

The Tigers shot only 38 percent (20-of-53) and were hammered on the boards, 38-27. Travon Bryant grabbed six rebounds and Paulding added five as Missouri's interior work was deficient on both end of the court.

The Tigers are 5-0 at home this season, winning by an average of 14.8 points.

Valparaiso (5-5) has seen its play drop since coach Homer Drew stepped down and handed the team over to his son, Scott. The Crusaders are 0-5 on the road after an 87-55 loss at Purdue on Saturday.

Raitis Grafs led Valparaiso with 15 points - Grafs leads the Crusaders in scoring at 18.9 points per game.

The Crusaders have lost their five road games by an average of 21 points per game.


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