Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tip-Off Tournament Preview

 Calvin Tip-Off Tournament
WhoGrace Bible (NCCAA II)
Heidelberg (OAC)
Ohio Wesleyan (NCAC)
WhereVan Noord Arena
Heidelberg vs. OWU - 5:30 PM
Calvin vs. Grace - 7:30 PM
Consolation Game - 1:00 PM
Championship Game - 3:30 PM
RadioWFUR 102.9 FM
Web AudioStretch Internet
Web VideoStretch Internet
Live StatsCalvin Scoreboard
Tickets$5.00, $3.00 at Door and Online

Game One
This will be Heidelberg's season opener, so we don't have any numbers on them yet, but let's try to piece something together anyway. The OAC coaches voted Heidelberg to finish sixth in the preseason coaches poll, but they did pick up one first place vote.

The Student Princes finished sixth (out of ten) in the Ohio Athletic Conference last season with a conference record of 9-9 (15-13 overall). But don't let the .500 record fool you, they were still a pretty good team. They upset conference champion John Carroll in the OAC Tournament semi-finals, but missed out on an NCAA bid with a loss to Wilmington in the championship game. The OAC, as a league, is much deeper than the MIAA.

Ohio Wesleyan has one game under their belt, a 66-57 home loss to Albion. The NCAC coaches predicted the Battling Bishops would finish third in the league this season, but a home loss to what looks to be a pretty mediocre Albion team doesn't bode well for them.

Game Two
We all remember what happened last year. I don't really want to talk about it.

Grace apparently doesn’t maintain a statistics page on their athletics website, nor do they post individual box scores, so I don’t have all of their stats. But it’s not all bad. Outside of a game against Davenport and a game against Cornerstone, they’ve played a bunch of cupcakes. I was able to easily find box scores for the DU and C’stone games-- they’re probably more comparable to Calvin talent-wise than Southwestern Community Bible Tech, or whoever it was that Grace played.

Grace lost these two games by a combined seven points, so they were more than competitive against two very tough teams.

I don’t usually do this, but because the competition level has been so similar, the side-by-side comparison is pretty interesting. Instead of simply comparing Calvin vs. DU to Grace vs. DU, I elected to include Grace vs. Cornerstone, picking a sample size boost over exact comparison. I think we’ll get (slightly) closer to an estimate of Grace’s true talent level this way.


One of the more interesting factoids from this chart is that Grace has actually been slightly worse in turning the ball over. I didn't really know that was possible. Looks like Calvin would be well served to pressure the ball more than normal.

Across the board, Calvin has the better offensive numbers, and Grace has the better defensive numbers. Again, interesting.

Normal Chart:

Calvin eFG% vs. Grace DeFG%0.5800.476-
Calvin DeFG% vs. Grace eFG%0.5070.527-
Calvin TOr vs. Grace DTOr0.280.18-
Calvin DTOr vs. Grace TOr0.130.29-
Calvin ORb% vs. Grace DRb%0.3100.704-
Calvin DRb% vs. Grace ORb%0.6590.297-
Calvin FTr vs. Grace DFTr0.300.34-
Calvin DFTr vs. Grace FTr0.380.29-
Calvin OEff vs. Grace DEff103.798.6-
Calvin DEff vs. Grace OEff115.593.8-

The information is the same as in the first table, but this is organized in my usual offense vs. defense fashion. It's still too early to declare advantages; maybe that comes next weekend (but maybe not).

This is going to be a very good game. Grace has hung tough with two undefeated and highly ranked NAIA teams. Those losses are nothing to hang your head over. Grace manhandled Calvin last year by playing a disciplined, fundamentally sound game, and I expect to see the same effort out of them this time. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't nervous.

Key Match-up
Calvin's post players versus Allen Durham. In order for the Knights to be successful on Friday night, they'll need to find a way to slow down Grace's big man. In the games against Davenport and Cornerstone, he's averaged 16.5 points and 13.5 rebounds. Averaged. Coach Vande Streek has been very complimentary of Durham saying something to the effect of him being one of the best post players Calvin will see all year.

Sure To Be Wrong Prediction
So far I'm 2-2 in predicting Calvin losses, but that trend will end here. (Hopefully it's the trend of the losses, not the spot-on prognostication.)

Calvin by 5
Need to win level: Medium
Expected to win level: Medium-High

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