Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GRSHOF Tournament Preview




 GRSHOF Tournament
WhoHope (#17)
Cornerstone (NAIA II #4)
Aquinas (NAIAII)
WhereSturrus Center, Aquinas College
WhenFriday
Hope vs. Cornerstone 6:00 PM
Calvin vs. Aquinas 8:00 PM
Saturday
Consolation Game - 6:00 PM
Championship Game - 8:00 PM
RadioWFUR 102.9 FM
Web AudioStretch Internet
Web VideoNone
Live StatsNone
Tickets$8.00 Everyone
DirectionsClick Here


I just want to say right off the bat that I hate this tournament. It's difficult to attend if any sort of Thanksgiving travel is included in the family plans, I don't really care to see Calvin play a combination of Cornerstone and Aquinas three times in a season, and I definitely don't care to see a Calvin/Hope contest this early on in the year. I don't think anyone does.

I've heard mumblings and grumblings that this tournament might go away after this season, but that's nothing more than "he said, she said" at this point. We can only hope it's true. Maybe they'll at least change the format to guarantee the conference foes don't meet (and then hopefully Calvin can drop the second game against Aquinas they always seem to play). I'd much rather see Calvin mix in some more games, or a tournament, against some HCAC, NCAC, or OAC schools.

Hope versus Cornerstone
I think it's easy to say that Cornerstone is the heavy favorite to win this tournament going in. They're really the only team without question marks. They're 6-0, but the only team on their schedule that I'm familiar with is Grace Bible. Cornerstone won by three.

Hope didn't play their first game of the season until last night, an 81-67 loss to Davenport. The box score seems to suggest that the game wasn't even this close. I'm not really sure what to make of the result. Calvin found out that Davenport was quite good in their season opener, but the Knights were very much in that game the whole way. Maybe I underestimated how much the Dutchmen would struggle with Peter Bunn sidelined with an injury, maybe it was just the fact that it was their first game, and the Panthers had played seven already.

Calvin versus Aquinas
It seems to be a down year for the Aquinas Saints. Usually a good to very good NAIA II team, they sit at 3-4, but that does include a 13 point win over what should turn out to be a very good Olivet team. They're probably struggling with inconsistency just like Calvin, maybe even more. AQ lists seven true freshmen (and two more red shirt freshmen) on their 16-man roster. I'd say they're young.

Matchups

 Matchup Calvin      Aquinas    Adv.
Calvin eFG% vs. Aquinas DeFG%0.5140.442Aquinas
Calvin DeFG% vs. Aquinas eFG%0.4150.462Calvin
Calvin TOr vs. Aquinas DTOr0.2150.199Aquinas
Calvin DTOr vs. Aquinas TOr0.1790.266Calvin
Calvin ORb% vs. Aquinas DRb%0.3270.745Aquinas
Calvin DRb% vs. Aquinas ORb%0.6690.306even
Calvin FTr vs. Aquinas DFTr0.3670.470Calvin
Calvin DFTr vs. Aquinas FTr0.3200.387even
Calvin OEff vs. Aquinas DEff102.491.5Aquinas
Calvin DEff vs. Aquinas OEff94.888.9Calvin

The stats suggest a relatively even matchup, with both teams gaining the advantage on defense. It looks like Calvin should get to the free throw line a lot, as Aquinas has given up nearly a 50% free throw rate. Hopefully Schnyders et al. can take advantage of that.

It really struck me how poor Aquinas' offense rates. Only an 88.9 offensive efficiency rating (100 was average for MIAA teams last year), an eFG% of only .462, and a turnover rate of over 26%. Their only offensive number that's average or above for a team of the D3/NAIA II level is their free throw rate.

It is a home game for the Saints, though. Hopefully the new gym (now with lights!) will be kinder to the visiting Knights.

[EDIT:] Does anyone want the enviable task of picking me up a ticket for Saturday night in the event of a Calvin and Hope matchup? Send me an email if you're interested.

Sure To Be Wrong Prediction
Cornerstone over Hope by 10.
Calvin by 6.
Need to win level: low
Expected to win level: medium

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