Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Elmhurst Classic Preview

  Elmhurst Classic 
Benedictine (NathCon)

DePauw (SCAC)

Elmhurst (CCIW)
Elmhurst, IL
Benedictine -- 6:30 PM
(DePauw vs. Elmhurst) -- 9:00 PM
Consolation -- 6:30 PM
Championship -- 9:00 PM
Live Stats
$6, $3 students & seniors

I'm actually pretty freakin' excited about this Elmhurst Tournament. It's been three and a half weeks since Calvin's last action against a Division III opponent. I love me some D3 games. This week's holiday tournament features four D3 teams: Benedictine from the Northern Athletics Conference (midwest region), DePauw from the Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference (south region), and host Elmhurst from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (midwest region).

Calvin's paired up with Benedictine in the opening round. This game will not count as an in-region game. The Eagles are defined in the Midwest region (Calvin is in the Great Lakes), they're from Illinois, which is in NCAA "Administrative Region #4" (Calvin is in #3), and their campus is 205 miles from Knollcrest (in-region cutoff is 200 miles).

The Knights will face either the DePauw Tigers or the Elmhurst Blue Jays on Thursday. Either opponent would be in-region. DePauw is in Indiana which is in the same administrative region as Michigan (Region #3). Elmhurst's campus falls within 200 miles from Calvin, so they're granted regional status due to proximity.

Learning the NCAA's regional criteria is a 300 level class, so don't worry if it's not immediately intuitive.

Back to the games at hand. I would say that Calvin and DePauw enter the tournament as favorites to meet in the championship game, but that's not to say that all the games will be easy.

Kenneth Massey (masseyratings.com) is currently giving Calvin a 69% chance of beating Benedictine and DePauw a 52% chance of beating Elmhurst. He then favors Calvin over DePauw in the championship with 70% confidence. Let's hope so.

I've been tracking RPI for D3 teams this season. Using my numbers (which are much less sophisticated than Massey's), the teams rate as follows (using only results versus D3 opponents):

Benedictine -- 0.607
DePauw -- 0.598
Calvin -- 0.505
Elmhurst -- 0.443

Let's take a look at the matchups. The following chart is how the Knights currently stack up statistically with the other three teams in the tournament.

MatchupCalvin Benedictine 
Calvin eFG% vs. opp. DeFG%0.5110.534Calvin0.512Calvin0.525Calvin
Calvin DeFG% vs. opp. eFG%0.4930.528BU0.537DePauw0.465Calvin
Calvin TOr vs. opp. DTOr0.210.23BU0.20-0.20-
Calvin DTOr vs. opp. TOr0.190.22-0.20-0.21-
Calvin ORb% vs. opp. DRb%0.370.69Calvin0.76DePauw0.72-
Calvin DRb% vs. opp. ORb%0.680.26Calvin0.32-0.34-
Calvin FTr vs. opp. DFTr0.310.40-0.26DePauw0.35EC
Calvin DFTr vs. opp. FTr0.330.42BU0.25Calvin0.43EC
Calvin OEff vs. opp. DEff106.2102.6Calvin99.0Calvin103.3Calvin
Calvin DEff vs. opp. OEff103.499.4BU105.9DePauw98.8

It seems that the Eagles shoot the ball well and get to the line with frequency, but oddly, that doesn't look to have turned into points. They're offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) is just 99.4. the MIAA is averaging right around 100 as a conference, so Benedictine looks to be a hair below average. They turn the ball over just slightly more often than Calvin does, but I think the main deficiency they have on offense is on the glass.

The Eagles are only pulling down 26% of the available offensive rebounds. An average MIAA team grabs 32% of offensive rebounds, and so far this year, Calvin's at 37%. That 11% difference equates to about four extra possessions per game.

I'm going to give Calvin the advantage on this one. As long as they put forth a strong effort on the glass, they should keep themselves in the driver's seat.

A potential matchup with DePauw looks like it would be more of a struggle for the Knights. The stats look pretty even, with the only real advantage going to DePauw by way of defensive rebounding.

I don't think the Knights would have too much trouble with Elmhurst. The stats look fairly even in terms of number of advantages and disadvantages, but it's important to keep in mind that shooting percentage correlates much more to winning than, say, free throw rate does.

Sure-To-Be-Wrong Prediction
Calvin over Benedictine by 7
Calvin over DePauw by 3

The name of the game here is to win the regional matchup. A win over DePauw in the championship round would be ideal, but even a win over Elmhurst in the consolation would be OK in the end. Winning on day two may end up being a critical factor in a potential at-large NCAA Tournament selection.

1 comment:

  1. Matt...really enjoy your blog, even 'bookmarked it' which is rare for me. Watched the Knights last night in Elmhurst. I predict a NCAA D3 tourney spot for them. I think they will only get better as the season progresses. Out of curiosity, how hard would it be to get a ticket to the Hope game next week? I have never been to DeVoss and would like to see the new arena. Keep up the good work.
    Dick McDermott