Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Finlandia Preview

Game Four
WhoFinlandia University Lions
WhereVan Noord Arena
WhenWednesday, 7:30 PM
AudioStretch Internet
VideoStretch Internet
StatsCalvin Live Stats

When We Last Met
For the third time in four games, Calvin’s opponent is a Division III team that they haven’t played before (or, at least, haven’t played in so long that anyone remembers it).

About Finlandia
Finlandia University is located in Hancock, Michigan which is way up in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Hancock is just across the river from Houghton, so Finlandia is in close proximity to Michigan Tech (or THE Tech, for those in the know). Although Finlandia is located in Michigan, they’ve been recently defined to be in the West region by the Division III committee so that they can count games against some Wisconsin and Minnesota schools as in-region.

Also, never trust a Yooper.

The Lions come into this contest with an 0-2 record, with their loses coming by 13 to UW-Superior (of the always strong WIAC conference) and by 17 to Division II Lake Superior State. Finlandia is historically not very good -- last year's team won only seven games. The best MIAA comparison is probably Alma, although the Lions did beat the Scots last season.

Four Factors
It's been shown that the four biggest indicators of team success is effective field goal percentage (how well you shoot the ball), turnover rate (how well you take care of the ball), offensive rebounding percentage (controlling the boards and giving your team second chances to score), and free throw rate (giving yourself opportunities to score from the free throw line). Here's how Calvin and Finlandia stack up in those categories so far this season.

It's a little bit concerning to see Finlandia edge out Calvin in three of the four categories, but with so few games played so far, it's impossible to get an accurate read on the comparability of the numbers. This should be a game that the Knights can win by a comfortable margin, so hopefully they'll get the chance to improve on all of these numbers.

I'm definitely interested in the final margin of victory in this one. The Knights need to flex whatever muscles they have and get this one put away (and kept away) early. I'm looking for a final margin of victory of 15 or more, but I'd be much more comfortable with 20.

Tom Snikkers needs to shoot less than 30% of the shots when he's in the game. He's going to need to get the most shots on the team, but hopefully this is an opportunity to spread the ball around and get someone else (or someones else) to step up in the scoring column. He's been in the 35%-40% range in the early going this year, but the team may benefit in the long run from him deferring a bit in this game.

The team shooting percentage needs to be better. Finlandia has allowed opposing offenses to gain a 125.2 offensive efficiency rating against them so far this season, and a lot of that has to do with the .517 field goal percentage that they've allowed. Calvin needs to jump on that bandwagon. I'm looking for 50% or better on field goals.

Low turnover numbers. I'm setting the bar at 13 which would be equal to a turnover rate of about 18%, which is reasonable. Lower would obviously be better.

Sure-To-Be-Wrong Prediction
Massey says Calvin by 25
D3 Index says Calvin by 19
I'll say Calvin by 20

This one's in-region so it's definitely a must win.

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