Monday, January 16, 2012

Better Than the Really Bad Teams

Calvin 85, Alma 77 (box score)

After Calvin’s 64-59 loss to Albion a week ago, I was thinking that even making the four-team MIAA Tournament might be more than a bit of a stretch. I’m more optimistic at the moment. Not that either Kalamazoo or Alma are any good, but beating the bad teams – and not really struggling with either one – is still a good sign. I would have loved to see Calvin keep the double-digit final margin on Saturday, but I’ll take the eight point win on the road, especially since the final twelve minutes or so were spent with Calvin up by 11 (or so). Making the MIAA Tournament will still be a chore for the Knights, but they’re “in the hunt” along with Trine and Albion (I’m assuming Hope and Adrian are shoe-ins). I still think Albion is the weakest of the three, but they have a leg up on Calvin with the early head-to-head win; the rematch at (historic) Kresge Gymnasium looks like a must win for the Knights.

But anyway, this is supposed to be about the Alma game. The Scots had been a team that shot the ball really well from the floor, but due to turnovers, iffy free throw shooting, and poor rebounding, they really didn’t score all that many points. The Scots hit a fair number of their free throws on Saturday, but Calvin controlled the glass and forced a lot of tough shots, and so Alma only managed an effective field goal percentage of .460 (which looks good to us, but is 80 points below their season average) and an offensive efficiency rating of 94.6.

Bullets
  • I had been down on Brian Haverdink after the trip out west, but he’s played fairly well in the last three games, averaging about nine points per game (and a .571 eFG% and 1.39 PPWS). I’d like to see several more games like this before I hand him the key to the city, but some scoring touch from Havs is a welcomed addition.
  • After a 1-for-7 start to the game, Tom Snikkers made eight of his final fourteen shot attempts. He finally started hitting some shots with consistency, but free throws were a problem. Tom would have had a very nice day had he done better than 6-12 from the stripe. Credit to him for getting to the line 12 times though, I think he needs that as part of his game.
  • Matt DeBoer and Tyler Kruis need to get going offensively ASAP. They’re two of the top scorers on the team, but they’ve been mostly absent on the offensive end of the floor since the conference season began. Calvin will need all scorers in top form come Wednesday.
  • I don’t think there’s any question that we just saw Bryan Powell’s best game in a Calvin uniform. All of a sudden he’s become on of Calvin’s most reliable scorers. Over the last nine Calvin games (all the way back since the Carthage game), Bryan has averaged 11.9 points, a .500 effective field goal percentage, and 1.07 points per weighted shot. Turnovers haven’t been a big problem either, as 1.9 per game isn’t bad for a guy that plays primarily as a point guard (David Rietema has averaged 1.7 TO’s per game over this same stretch).
  • It was interesting to see Dan Stout get his first few minutes of the season. I don’t know if it was a chance to get his feet wet against an obviously undersized opponent, or if coach will begin working him into the rotation (no minutes for Adam DeYoung, and only eight for Nate Van Eck), but he figures to be a contributor down the road. He’ll need to add some muscle, but 6-9 doesn’t grow on trees. He looks to have a nice touch on his shot, if you like big men who can shoot (and I do).
  • This fact struck me yesterday: Calvin will return (or, should return) all five starters for next season, but at least two of them probably won’t start. The Knights should go from inexperienced to quite experienced at the start of next season.

Stats-and-More to come.

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