Friday, December 17, 2010

Aquinas Preview Redux


WhoAquinas (NAIA-II)
WhereVan Noord Arena
WhenSat. Dec. 18 -- 3:00 PM
Web AudioStretch Internet
Web VideoStretch Internet
Live StatsCalvin Scoreboard
TicketsTicket Return

Home sweet home. It seems like it's been forever since the Knights' last game in the friendly confines of the VNA, and a quick check of the calendar reveals that it's been nearly a month. But I wouldn't count on too much of a home court advantage. The students will be finished with finals and will be on break, so few will attend, and I'm sure Christmas plans will draw still others away.

I won't be in attendance myself. We'll be boarding a ship in Ft. Lauderdale bound for the Caribbean. The boat doesn't set sail until 5 PM, so I'm hoping to catch the game's streaming video feed via my cell phone and Verizon's supposedly fast 3G network. Let's hope.

Since Calvin and Aquinas last met (in the GRSHOF Tournament over Thanksgiving weekend), the Saints have compiled a 3-3 record. They were shellacked by Hope the very next night, won versus a probably poor Marygrove team, lost an overtime game to Cornerstone, split two other conference (WHAC) games, and beat Grace Bible (by one).

The OT loss to Cornerstone raised my eyebrows, and the win over Grace looks good, but I'm not sure if Allen Durham was completely healthy. He was hurt in Grace's win over Hope last weekend (and didn't start the championship game the next day), and didn't put up his usual totals versus Aquinas (although he did play 34 minutes). Chances are, though, that the Saints have improved over the last month.

Matchup

MatchupCalvinAquinasAdvantage
Calvin eFG% vs. Aquinas DeFG%0.5170.478Calvin
Calvin ORb% vs. Aquinas DRb%0.3760.735Even
Calvin TOr vs. Aquinas DTOr0.2190.182Even
Calvin FTr vs. Aquinas DFTr0.3030.386Aquinas
Calvin OEff vs. Aquinas DEff106.498.4Calvin
Calvin DeFG% vs. Aquinas eFG%0.4910.459Calvin
Calvin DRb% vs. Aquinas ORb%0.6850.310Even
Calvin DTOr vs. Aquinas TOr0.1890.237Calvin
Calvin DFTr vs. Aquinas FTr0.3340.408Aquinas
Calvin DEff vs. Aquinas OEff102.994.0Calvin

Aquinas's MO looks very similar to what we saw at Thanksgiving. Decent to good defense, but bad to worse offense. It doesn't look quite as extreme now though. Actually, the lack of extremes makes this game look like a bigger advantage to Calvin, but I wouldn't expect a repeat of the 17-point beat down from November. It'll be closer, but it still won't be that close (I hope).

Aside: It does seem like Calvin plays an awful lot of NAIA teams doesn't it? I don't mind playing the traditional local guys once (a game each for Grace, Aquinas, and Cornerstone is fine with me), but we really don't need to see Aquinas a second time, do we? Scheduling around exam week has got to be tough, but two weeks with nothing to talk about but AQ and Trinity really bores the heck outta me. Let's play more D3 teams. End rant.

Sure To Be Wrong Prediction
I still like Calvin to win big, so I'll say Knights by 12.
Need to win level: low
Expected to win level: high

I'll be out of commission for until Christmas due to the cruise and all, but I should be back to posting by the 26th if not a few days before. We'll have to see how much blogging time I'm allotted over Christmas.

Quick look ahead: I don't really have all the details, but I did a few quick "what if" scenarios with my regional ranking spreadsheet in regards to the upcoming Elmhurst Tournament. Looks like Calvin will be sitting pretty if they're able to play, and beat, DePauw. That win coupled with what looks to be a strong in-region showing by the MIAA in the non-conference would set up Calvin extremely well for Pool C consideration. Obviously there's a lot of IFs in that sentence. This will get it's own post around Christmas where I'll get all of the nerd juices flowing.

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