|Who||Adrian Bulldogs (7-3, 0-0)|
|Where||Merillat Center, Adrian, MI|
|When||Wednesday, January 4|
|Audio||(Calvin) Stretch Internet|
When We Last Met
The Adrian Bulldogs hold a two game winning streak over the Calvin Knights. The latest of which was an excruciating 75-63 home loss in February of last year. As was the case often last season, Adrian clamped down hard on defense, holding Calvin to under 36% from the floor. Adrian shot 54% themselves (57% on three pointers), and never really allowed Calvin to get much closer than 10 points in the second half.
Adrian is a really interesting team. They just recently received a transfer from DI Florida International in 6-4 sophomore forward Richaud Pack. He appeared in nine games at FIU earlier THIS SEASON, averaging 8.3 minutes per game. In his two games with the Bulldogs, he's averaged 21 points in 24.5 minutes. Pack and freshman guard Eric Lewis (6-2) may be Adrian's best two players as underclassmen. With zero seniors on the team and a 7-3 non-conference record, the future is definitely bright for coach Mark White and the Adrian Bulldogs.
Adrian's not a particularly good shooting team themselves, but they still rate a tick above Calvin. They've been very good at taking care of the ball as well. The Knights are really going to have to go after the rebounds hard. I think they've proven that rebounding is the one area in which they can have a strong advantage, but boards don't come to passive teams. Limiting second chance points for Adrian will be huge.
Fouls were an issue in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the Whitman game. Adrian has displayed an excellent ability to get to the line; Calvin can't make it any easier for them to do so. It is imperative that Tyler Kruis stays out of early foul trouble.
Adrian's pace of play has been more deliberate that Calvin's has been so far. In the past, they've liked to take their time, set screens, and only attack or shoot when the opportunity comes to them. Shooting efficiency hasn't necessarily been Adrian's strong point. They've scored by getting rebounds, not turning the ball over, and getting to the free throw line. It seems like forcing them into shooting jump shots would be a recipe for success.
This may be the single most important game on the conference schedule. Sure, there are the two games with Hope, but the Dutchmen appear poised to run away with the league. The way it stands now, Adrian looks to be Calvin's biggest opponent for the #2 spot in the league. A road win here would put the Knights in the driver's seat, but a big loss, such as the ones suffered in Washington, would signal a changing of the guard.
I don't think any Calvin fans are out there holding their breath on tournament chances, especially when it comes to at-large berths, but I figure they need to go 11-3 in conference play to have a good shot. This would be a huge result toward that goal.
Old Mr. Massey likes the Bulldogs by a score of 70-64, but since I'm a homer, I'll say Calvin 71, Adrian 69.
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