Monday, January 24, 2011

Calvin Wins "Defensive" Battle

Calvin 74, Trine 68

I think the only thing we were sure about headed into this game was that the two teams were going to combine for about a half a million points. But while the score sheet doesn't make it look like it was a low-scoring game, neither side found their stride on offense.

Calvin's offensive efficiency rating (OEff) for the day was 100.1. That's a very league-average day. It's well below their season average of 107 (ish). In fact, they've only had four other games (and only one win) this year in which they've had a poorer OEff than this game. There was the loss against Grace Bible (89.9), the win against Aquinas in the GRSHOF Tournament (87.0), the loss to Wheaton (93.9), and the loss to Kalamazoo (87.7)

But the Calvin defense did well to hold Trine to only 68 points and an OEff of 92.0. That's the third best "defensive" game of the year. The two lower opponent totals came in the loss to Grace (a close 91.3) and the win over Aquinas in the GRSHOF Tournament (a paltry 62.8). I say "defensive" in quotes because there's more than just team defense that drives OEff numbers. We typically attribute a poor FG% to the defense, but sometimes the offense simply misses shots (or takes poor shots to begin with).

I think the Thunder did themselves a disservice in the first half when they so frequently settled for jump shots. They launched 15 three pointers in the first half, and only connected on three of them. The three made attempts came from Neil Smith who was doing his best Wes Weir impersonation.

It seemed that Trine made the adjustment at the half to try to get to the rim with greater frequency, and it worked to a degree. Ian Jackson, who only had three first-half points, ended the day with 22 (although 11 came in the final 1:07 when the game wasn't really in doubt). And Scott Rogers, who only had two points at the break, finished with 12 (and ten second-half free throw attempts). As a team, Trine only shot five three pointers in the second half (and one was a desperation shot of sorts by Ian Jackson with four seconds left).

But I don't think the Calvin defense should escape without any credit. The Brent Schuster-Tyler Kruis duo combined for six blocked shots (four by Kruis), and the Calvin defense frequently smothered Trine in the paint. The Thunder shot 17-40 (42.5%) on their two-point field goals, with 17.5% of those attempts being blocked by a Calvin defender.

Game Chart


I was terrified about Calvin's rebounding heading into the year, but the Knights have been nothing short of fantastic on the boards all season long. Calvin had a +14 day in rebounding margin which puts their conference season average (six games) at +10.3. The next closest team is Albion at +5.7.

I’ve already compared Jordan Brink to Caleb Veldhouse, so here’s my next Calvin freshman comparison which is slightly crazier than the first. I told Zac during the game that I thought Tyler Kruis would eventually become Dan Aultman with better shooting range, better interior defense, but poorer skills on the offensive block. Which is to say, not really like Dan Aultman at all, but you know, kind of. Any sort of comparison to D.A. is automatically a good one.

Up Next: Albion. It's gonna be huge.

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