Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Calvin Season Preview

Realistic. Hopeful, but realistic.

Let's not kid ourselves here. This is a very very young team. They're talented, sure, but they're young. In fact, they're the second youngest team in the MIAA based upon average player class. Add to that the fact that they're returning the lowest percentage of 2010 points scored (league games only) of any team in the MIAA, and we're potentially talking about a very long year. Not necessarily long by average MIAA standards, but long for a team that's won at least 19 games in six of the last seven years. Could they win they're third league title in a row? Sure. Will they? Absolutely not.

I suspect this will be the theme for the year: Could they? Yes. Will they? No.

That's not to say that this team isn't very talented by most D3 standards, and it isn't to say that they won't be one of the top teams in the MIAA. They're certainly full of potential, and I think this year will start a journey up a mountain with a very high peak, but they won't climb the whole way this season. Could they? Yes. Will they? No.

But anyway, this section is supposed to be about the roster.

Depth Chart By Class:


This is the type of youth that lends its self to half court layups, backdoor cuts, wide open three pointers, and Grace Bible losses. I'm not predicting any of those things, I'm just saying is all.

Salo’s injured, but will likely return in December. Rietema is out of the country until January; he’ll do a lot of towel waving upon his return. Coach KVS has said that Vallie and Greene will have to play their way into the rotation (coachspeak for they’re not currently in the rotation). I’ll go out on a big limb and say this is also true for Fabiyi. All of this means we have a pretty good idea of who the top ten or eleven guys will be.

Depth Chart by Depth (estimated):


Guys listed under columns '1', '2', and '3' are the one's that I think will see the floor in the normal rotation, at least early on in the year. Maybe one of those '4' guys will see action as well, I'm not sure. Of course, this is all just the feeling I've gotten after watching a couple of scrimmages and hearing the coach talk twice.

It's tough.

As coach has said, this isn't the Grace Bible team of ten years ago (I'll even say two or three years ago). They were as good as, or better than, any Grand Rapids area college team a year ago, and they took (NAIA II #11) Davenport down to the wire on Saturday. They're still good.

Potential games against Heidelberg and Ohio Wesleyan are winnable, but also losable. Maybe Calvin should lose the game against Grace on purpose to play the weaker of the two Great Lakes Region teams making a second day (regional) win easier to come by? OK, maybe not.

The GRSHOF Tournament is always a tough one. Aquinas and Cornerstone aren't maybe as good as they've been in 'up' years, but they're both probably at least as good as Calvin is. 0-2 is a definite possibility over Thanksgiving weekend. Pray for no Calvin-Hope matchup. Seriously. Those are lame.

There will be no rest for the weary on the other side of the lake for the MIAA-CCIW challenge. Carthage looks to be a top five team nationally, and Wheaton's always tough. 1-1 here would be just fine with me.

Single games against Trinity and Aquinas are both potentially winnable. Trinity was absolutely terrible last year, and Aquinas looks like a much friendlier matchup when played at Van Noord.

The trip to Elmhurst will likely yeild a 1-1 record for Calvin. They probably should beat Benedictine on the first day setting up a matchup with DePauw, who beat D-I Evansville in an exhibition game this year. Even if they lose to Benedictine, they should be able to defeat host Elmhurst. They struggled mightily last year. Either way, the second day's game will be in-region, so maybe playing Elmhurst wouldn't be so bad (assuming DePauw is not a winnable game. Could they? Yes. Will they? No.)

Finally we get to the conference season. I'm seeing nine or ten wins here. Maybe they split with Hope and Olivet, and lose two or three other games. This will all be much easier (or so we think) to figure out once the non-con season wraps up.

Read this, this, this, this, and this.

I'll say 15 or 16 wins. Five wins in the non-conference. Nine or ten in league play, and one in the MIAA tournament. Yes, I'm also predicting that Calvin misses the MIAA Tournament Championship Game for the first time since I've followed the team. I'm hoping for more, but I think this is a fair prediction. Am I being too pessimistic?

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