Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moving in the Right Direction

Calvin 87, Ohio Wesleyan 60

I think we all needed to see Calvin win this game big. First, it's an NCAA in-region game, so It's really the first game that has much potential for tournament bid implications (it's never too early to think about a Pool C bid). Secondly, we're not at all used to seeing Calvin start the year 0-2.

I think we all knew that Davenport and Grace are good teams, but playing tough and "getting better" against worthy opponents only gets you so far. You have to eventually convert the 'W', and Calvin certainly did that in convincing fashion this afternoon.

I won't pretend that Ohio Wesleyan is a strong team -- I think they're destined for the bottom half of the NCAC -- but it was nice to see Calvin put them away and keep them away. They never allowed OWU to get into the game in the second half.

That's what good teams need to do, and that's what Calvin couldn't do to Grace last night. The fear for me was that, with such a young team, Calvin might end up playing down to the level of their opponent. There are few upperclassmen on the squad, and even fewer upperclassmen that are go-to scorers. The young players are the team now. They need to learn how to depend on themselves, and not someone else, to carry the team to victory.

Now, we are all to become huge OWU fans. Every (in-region) game they win will help Calvin out tremendously in the strength of schedule component of the NCAA selection criteria.

Offense
There's no stats sheets out yet, so I guess that'll be a separate post, but I think the Knights did a good job of spreading the ball around. They still need to become more comfortable with the offensive system, but I think it will allow each player to play to their strengths. Should be enough passing to get guys like Schuster, Rodts, Brink, and Powell open looks from beyond the arc and they should spread the floor enough to allow Snikkers and Schnyders to drive and cut to the hoop. They have the potential to be one of the higher scoring Calvin teams of the last few years.

Defense
I'm not sure if Ohio Wesleyan just plain shot the ball poorly or if Calvin played great defense (probably somewhere in the middle), but OWU could only convert on 27% of their shots.

I liked individual activity level. Several players came up with steals by getting their hands into the passing lane. Rebounding looked strong. I was pretty concerned about the defense after the Davenport game on Tuesday, but I'm actually very happy with where the team defense is at right now.

I'll follow up later with some stats and some comments on individual performances once I get an opportunity to see a box score.

Great game from the Knights today.

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