Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sir Mix-A-Lot Had It Wrong

Calvin 81, Willamette 76 (box score)

They say a win is a win, and that may be partially true, but in this case, I was not completely satisfied. Calvin coulda/woulda/shoulda won this game by double digits, but they didn't, and we saw some of the "same old problems" pop up. It was good that they won, but I saw some pretty big 'buts'. And I don't like big buts (in this sense, at least).

The first but is the shooting percentage. Calvin made only 40.9% percent of their field goals, making their season percentage 39.7%. That's awful. Through three games, offensive efficiency has been the single biggest struggle that this team has faced, and poor shooting is the top culprit.

After gaining a 7 point halftime lead, the Knights were actually positioned very well to make this game 100% successful, but the second half was pretty much an offensive wreck. The Knights went 11-32 from the floor for a paltry 34.4%. Their saving grace was actually a 4-8 mark on three point shots, but that also means that they shot just 7-24 (29%!) on shots inside the arc. I wouldn't usually make too much of a big deal out of one half's shooting percentage, but this was against a poor opponent, and the dismal shooting is becoming a trend. They've yet to break 42% from the floor in three games now.

I will give the Knights credit for the improvement in three point shooting. They actually hit 40% today, and that's pretty darn good. Actually, I've been bemoaning the lack of three point shooting this year, but three pointers aren't currently the problem on offense. On the year, Calvin is shooting .316 on three pointers (which indeed isn't good), but that mark will net you the same number of points as a .474 percentage would on two pointers. Calvin's actual two-point shooting percentage so far this year is .428, so that's really the limiting factor right now.

Tom Snikkers scored 16 more points, and was named tournament MVP, but he needed 42 shots (plus 13 free throw attempts) to record 43 points this weekend. That's not the scoring efficiency that we need to see from Tommy. I think he does tend toward tunnel vision too much, but I think he'll improve drastically in this regard once a couple of others step up into larger roles on the offense. I think we saw some of that from Tyler Kruis today, and from Mitch Vallie this weekend. Tom can't feel like he's the only one that can score.

Turnovers were also a problem today, but I'm going to gloss over that for the time being. They do need to tighten up the screws though as a few of the turnovers were caused by lackadaisical passing.

But it was a win, and it wasn't all bad. Calvin did nice work on the glass again -- strong rebounding has been their strongest asset this year -- and that helps to cover up some of the offensive deficiencies. They also did a good job at getting to the free throw line and finding the open teammate to rack up assists (nice to see 8 from Rietema and 5 from Powell).

This is the first time that Calvin has had a winning record after the Tip-off Tournament since 2008.

Stats-and-More from the weekend tournament to come.

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