Friday, January 6, 2012

Albion Preview

Game Thirteen
WhoAlbion Britons (5-7, 1-0)
WhereVan Noord Arena
WhenSaturday, January 7 -- 3:00 PM                                
AudioStretch Internet
VideoStretch Internet,, MIAA Gameday
StatsLive Stats, MIAA Gameday

When We Last Met
The last Calvin-Albion meeting of the season last year was a 15 point Calvin victory in the MIAA Semifinals at the DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland. Calvin swept the three-game season series with the Britons by margins of 31, 6, and 15. Albion couldn’t really do much offensively against the Calvin defense -- their high-score in the three games against the Knights was only 53, and their average actually came in below 50.

It’s kind of surprising considering the history of these two teams, but Calvin currently holds an eight (!) game winning streak versus Albion, with the last defeat being a one-point loss at (historic) Kresge Gymnasium back in February of 2008. Only Trine and Alma have longer losing streaks versus the Knights.

About Albion
Albion has struggled on the offensive end of the floor every bit as much as Calvin has so far this season. Their struggles are actually probably worse considering they haven’t played as difficult of a schedule as Calvin has.

The Knights and Britons have two common opponents: both played a road game against Anderson and a home game against Carthage. In both instances, Calvin’s result looks better. Albion lost to Anderson by 18, and they lost to Carthage by 8. Calvin lost to Anderson by 13 and beat Carthage by 3.

Albion’s best win was a one-point victory over North Centrall (Ill.), a middle of the pack (or worse) CCIW team. Other “key games” include a one-point (home) win over a bad Heidelberg team, and a five-point (road) loss to a bad North Park team. Actually, the longer I stare at their schedule, the worse I think Albion actually is.

This might be the year we finally quit saying “until someone beats them, I’m picking Albion to finish third” because they very well may find themselves in the basement. Of course, Calvin’s seat at the four-team conference tourney is far from safe either so I’ll withhold from throwing too many stones (except to point out that Albion is occasionally accused of thuggery).

’Four Factors’

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Albion doesn’t shoot at a very high percentage, and they turn the ball over a little bit too much. Those are pretty much the same issues that Calvin has. Albion’s a bit better at getting to the free throw line so their offense has been ever slightly more efficient, but they don’t rebound the ball very well. I’m going to look for Calvin to re-establish themselves on the glass.

They’re going to have to be prepared for the physical nature of play that Albion usually brings. They shoot a lot of free throw and give up a lot of free throws, so you know the Britons aren’t concerned with a little bit of (excessive) contact.


Predictions and Whatnot
I’ve established that Albion is quite bad, but that won’t make this game rainbows and smiles for Calvin. I think this game will be closer than we all want it to be. Massey predicts Calvin to win 72-63. I’ll say Calvin wins 71-64.

Benchmarks for success:
  • Win
  • Score more than 70 points
  • Allow fewer than 65 points

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