Thursday, December 29, 2011

Whitworth Preview

Game Ten
Who#8 Whitworth (8-2)
WhereMercer Island HS, Seattle, Washington
WhenThursday, December 29, 8:30 PM EST                                                    
AudioStretch Internet
StatsLive Stats

When We Last Met
Whitworth made the trek from Spokane, Washington to take part in the Calvin Tip-off Tournament back in November of 2005. The two schools met in the championship round which ended as an 82-67 Calvin victory.

Whitworth actually lead the game by 8 points heading into the final ten and a half minutes, but Calvin roared back to finish the game on a 33-10 run. Andy Draayer and Kyle Trewhella combined for 47 points, making 9 of their 14 three point attempts. As a team, Calvin was a very respectable 24-24 from the free throw line.

About Whitworth
The Pirates are 8-2 on the season with their losses coming to NAIA-I Montana Tech and #16 UW-Whitewater.

Whitworth will be one of the few teams that match up well with the roster height of Calvin. They have five players listed at 6-7 or taller, but two of those players (Adam Wilks and Taylor Farnsworth) seem to play in reserve roles, and one is probably more of a role player (Michael Taylor is averaging about 10 minutes per game). Felix Friedt (6-8, 240 from Germany) appears to be a train in the post; he's their top scorer and rebounder with a 17 and 8 average. Jack Loofburrow, a 6-7 transfer from Eastern Washington, is one of their starters, but he hasn't played in the last three games. The word on the street is that he had a stress fracture and was wearing a walking boot, although the initial thought (from two weeks ago) was that he may be able to play by tonight.

Whitworth also has two guards that can shoot the lights out from long range. Idris Lasisi and Wade Gebbers both average more than 12 points per game, and both are shooting great than .475 on their three point shots this season (about 6 attempts per game for each of them).

Calvin obviously will catch a big break if Loofburrow is unable to play (or if he's less than effective), but Whitworth probably still has enough weapons to cause a lot of problems for the Knights. I'm sure that Coach Vande Streek will have the Knighs double down low on Friedt, but they're going to have to be ready to completely close out on the wings if/when the ball gets kicked outside. The Whitworth shooters will knock it down if they get an inch.

'Four Factors'

As has been the trend for much of the year, Calvin looks to have the disadvantage when it comes to shooting percentage and turnover rate. For the Knights to be successful in this game, they're going to have to hit the boards hard and exploit any advantage they can find there.


Per usual, the name of the game is taking care of the ball, and preventing second chance opportunities for the opponent. Whitworth appears to like to take things a little bit more slowly (only about 65 possessions per game), so Calvin will need to be prepared to defend for the entire shot clock if necessary.

Final Thoughts
I think a win would be a heck of a lot to ask of Calvin in this game. Whitworth probably isn't #8 good (a new Top 25 poll hasn't come out since their loss to UW-Whitewater), but they're definitely still worth of a top 25 spot (Massey currently has them at 21). A win here would definitely be huge.

Success Benchmarks
While a win seems unlikely to me, I'll lay out a few benchmarks that would signal some success on either the offensive or defensive end.
  • Score more than 71 points (would be roughly a 105 offensive efficiency rating, 5 rating points better than Calvin's season average)
  • Allow fewer than 76 points (would be roughly a 110 defensive efficiency rating, holding Whitworth to 5 rating points below their team average)
  • Beating the predicted Massey margin of -10 (predicted score: 78-68)

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