Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tied For Second Place

Adrian 75, Calvin 63 (box)

This is what I have to keep repeating over and over to myself to keep from going insane. "Tied for second place."

Calvin is now tied with Adrian, Albion, Kalamazoo, and Olivet at 6-5 in the conference.

It's really the same as being tied for sixth place at this point, but second place sounds better. Second place carries the prize of not having to play one of the other teams in the same clustermess of humanity.

Because the "bottom" of the MIAA just isn't the same as it used to be. The last several years has been Calvin and Hope, a semi-dangerous Albion, and everyone else. And they were called everyone else because you really didn't care who they were because they just weren't going to beat a Calvin or a Hope.

Some will say that Calvin is down this year, and that's very very true, but the league is also up at the same time. Take Trine for an example. Several folks thought that they'd be able to challenge for a top four spot in the league because of their stellar non-conference record, but they're solidly in seventh place. They're not a great team, but they're the best seventh place MIAA team I've ever seen. (Although I only date to the '03-'04 season).

I certainly don't fancy seeing Calvin face Kalamazoo again, and Michael McClary and Olivet scare me as well, but I think Adrian might be the team that I would least like to see Calvin face again this year. And I might also include Hope in that group.

Perhaps I'm overreacting to the severe beating that Calvin took at the hands of the Bulldogs, but they seem to be perfectly built to thwart Calvin. They have the athletes required to stay in front of, and frustrate, the Calvin offensive players. On offense they have the discipline to work the shot clock and wait for the open shots to come.

And they certainly knocked down their open shots.

The Bulldogs shot an astounding effective field goal percentage of 0.660 for the game. That's their best shooting game of the year. As far as total offensive efficiency is concerned, Adrian's game Wednesday was their second best night of the year (Offensive efficiency rating of 123.3). The only better game they've had was a 124.8 rating in a 81-42 rout of Alma a few weeks ago.

I don't think Adrian could repeat their shooting performance should they have a third match-up with the Knights, but Calvin's defense needs to do a better job on getting out to guard the Adrian shooters. They weren't doing anything secretive, they simply set screens and skipped or swung the ball to the open shooter. You knew it was coming, but far to many times the Calvin defender allowed himself to be on the wrong side of the screen.

Mini rant on the officials: If a player is moving while he's screening a player, that's a foul. If a player is sliding into a screen, it's a foul. Worst call of the night: Bryan Powell was fighting through a screen that kept on getting set, and reset, and reset for several feet, but Bryan got whistled for a 'push'. Whatever.

But faulty officiating isn't to blame for the loss. Calvin got flat-out beat by a team that was 100% better that night.

The time to start playing better is now.

Sorry for the incoherent game recap post.

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