Valparaiso made a little bit more history on Monday night. The Crusaders dropped 96 points on Youngstown State, the most they've scored in a conference game since joining the Horizon League in 2007. The Crusaders also matched their largest margin of victory in a conference game with Monday's 31-point victory.
With a third of the conference season in the rear view mirror, it's probably still too early to question whether Valparaiso can run the table. That said, the Crusaders have done something over the first six games of the conference season that has never been matched in the Horizon League this century.
Monday's victory was Valparaiso's sixth straight conference win by double figures. On Sunday Valparaiso's media relations director Aaron Leavitt noted that in records dating back to the 1940's, the Crusaders had never won five straight conference games by 10+ before. After Valpo's 96-65 win over Youngstown State on Monday, it got me wondering where that stood with the best teams the Horizon League has had to offer. It turns out Monday's win was historic in more ways than one.
Valparaiso became the first team in Horizon League history to win six straight games by double figures.
Milwaukee (2003-04) and Butler (2006-07) each won five straight games by 10+ points which had been the previous record in the Horizon League dating back to at least the conference's rebranding efforts in 2001.
The only other Horizon League team to win more than three straight by 10+ was the famed 2009-10 Butler team that advanced to the national title game against Duke. The Bulldogs won four straight games by double figures en route to their perfect 18-0 conference season.
How does this current Valparaiso team compare to that Butler squad? The Bulldogs outscored their 18 conference opponents by an average of 14.2 points over the course of the season and outscored their first six opponents by 12.6 points while the Crusaders are currently outscoring their six opponents by an average of 20.16 points.
Valparaiso's hot start is made even more impressive when you consider who the opponents have been over the first six games. The Crusaders beat preseason No. 2 Oakland and No. 4 Detroit on the road by an average of 17.5 points. They beat No. 3 Milwaukee and then second-place Green Bay by an average of 18.5 points at home.
During a season where every game seems like its a bigger part of something historic, the Crusaders keep going about their business. The next step could be the toughest yet as Valparaiso will face a tough Wright State team on the road. Win that one by double figures and all bets are off as to how far this team could go.