Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hope Preview

Game Sixteen (7-8, 2-2)
Who#7 Hope Flying Dutchmen (14-1, 4-0)
WhereDeVos Fieldhouse, Holland, MI
WhenWednesday, January 18 -- 8:00 PM
TVWGVU ( Over-the-air Channel 35 & 35.1, Comcast Channels 6 & 240)
AudioStretch Internet
VideoStretch Internet (WGVU feed), MIAA Gameday
StatsLive Stats, MIAA Gameday

**I have one general admission ticket available for tonight's game. Send me an email (use the email/letter icon on the sidebar) if you'd like to claim it.**

When We Last Met
Hope won last year’s MIAA Tournament Championship game in Holland by five points, but it wasn’t really a close game. The Dutchmen lead by twelve points for most of the second half, and although the Knights fought back to cut the lead to only three with thirty seconds left (courtesy of Hope only scoring four points between the 7:54 mark and the 0:30 mark), they never had the ball while trailing by only a single possession.

Tom Snikkers was Calvin’s best player that night; he scored 20 points on 16 shots, but the rest of the team shot putridly. The 3-19 that the Knights shot from three point range was the real killer. It was just one of those really bad nights.

About Hope
Hope is currently ranked seventh in the country by, but that ranking is actually a bit low for my taste; they've been playing like a top-five team all season. The Massey Ratings has them as the second ranked team in Division III, with a rating that would beat out 100 of the 345 Division I teams (just above teams such as IUPUI, Toledo, and Army). We can argue the validity of that rating, and whether or not they'd actually beat those teams, but the point is that Hope's a very good team right now.

Hope's probably starters are:

Nate VanArendonk, a 6-10, 255 lb. center, is in his first year after receiving a medical redshirt during his one year on scholarship at Central Michigan last season. He had a slow start to the season, but he's been picking up the pace recently -- during conference play he's averaged better than 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game.

Nate Snuggerud, a 6-5 junior forward, is perhaps the most unheralded of Hope's (effective) starters. He's been solid all season (averaging about 14 and 6 while shooting nearly 60%), and he's carried that right into conference play. He's a strong All-MIAA candidate.

Peter Bunn, a 6-3 senior guard, is back after missing last season due to injury concerns. He was effectively the MIAA MVP runner up two seasons ago, and while he's probably not going to garner too much MVP consideration this year, he's going to be an All-MIAA player. Bunn has always been a good shooter, but by all accounts he's improved as an athlete this year as well.

David Krombeen, a 6-2 senior guard, is the straw that stirs the drink for the Dutchmen. He's their top candidate for league MVP, and he's been a team leader this season. He's always been known for his tenacity on defense in forcing steals, and for his high assist-to-turnover ratio, but he's really turned up the scoring element this season. Contrary to what some newspaper articles have suggested, he's not going to torch you over and over again from three point range, but the mid-range and closer game is where he's deadly. He'll get to the rack, stop-and-pop, backdoor cut, or anything else that uses his speed and agility to slip by defenders for a good look at the basket.

Billy Seiler, a 6-2 junior guard, is the fifth (nominal) starter. He's Hope's David Eckstein award winner for hustle and scrap (and all those other things that folks love to rave about), but he doesn't usually show up big in the box score. I call him a nominal starter because Colton Overway and Logan Neil have received more minutes off the bench than he has since MIAA play began.

'Four Factors'

I'm actually surprised at how much Hope has turned the ball this season. They're actually a few tenths of a percentage point worse than Calvin in this respect, but it's nothing that would make a difference.

The rest is the same old story. Calvin can't shoot, Hope shoots very well, and Calvin may have a slight rebounding advantage (although the rebounding prowess has grown weaker now that Vallie and DeVries are on the shelf).

Hope likes to get to the free throw line, but Calvin can't oblige by committing stupid fouls due to poor defensive positioning.


Final Thoughts, Preditions, and Whatnot
This one’s probably not going to be pretty, but I’m prepared for that. For me, this game won’t be as much about the W-L result (although I’m not conceding defeat), but more about the approach to the game. I’m looking for Calvin to execute what they’re able to, to learn, and to get better.

I’d like to see Calvin establish a physical toughness. Not an unintelligent over-aggressiveness on defense leading to stupid fouls, but more a willingness on offense to take it right at (not thru) the Hope defenders. Not that anything should be forced offensively, we’ve seen what happens then (lots of missed shots), but working within the offense to try to get the ball down low to Kruis, Snikkers, and DeBoer. Jordan Mast needs to be willing to shoot the ball when he’s open. Bryan Powell needs to find only good shots. Smart play will be what wins this game for Calvin. It’ll take 100% focus and commitment for 40 minutes. Simple task.

Everything I’m seeing says Hope by 16-20 or somewhere in that range. Massey says Hope by 21, but my efficiency calculations say it’ll be more toward the 16 point end. Either way, Hope’s favored big.

Benchmarks: Scoring more than 60. Allowing fewer than 75. Those numbers would probably “beat the prediction” on offense and defense respectively.

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