|Game Eighteen (8-9, 3-3)|
|Who||Olivet Comets (3-14, 1-5)|
|Where||Van Noord Arena|
|When||Wednesday, January 25 -- 8:00 PM|
|Video||Stretch Internet, MIAA Gameday|
|Stats||Live Stats, MIAA Gameday|
When We Last Met
Olivet (un)officially ended Calvin’s hopes for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid last year with a 71-69 victory over the Knights at the Cutler Events Center in lovely Olivet, Michigan in early February. Calvin allowed Olivet to mount a nine point lead with six or seven minutes left in the game, and although the Knights fought to cut the lead to a single possession a couple of times in the final minute, they never possessed the ball with an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
Michael McClary lead the Comets with 29 points and 9 rebounds. Tom Snikkers and Danny Rodts each recorded a double-double for Calvin with 19-and-10 and 18-and-10 (points-and-rebounds) respectively. As a team, the Knights made just 3 of their 18 three point attempts.
Fortunately for Calvin (and the rest of the MIAA), Michael McClary’s eligibility is all used up so he’s with the team strictly as a coach this season. The loss of last year’s seniors, McClary, Joe Post, and Nathan Jennings (and Andre Evans earlier last seaon), along with an injury or two and/or a player or two leaving the program, means that Olivet currently has an empty cupboard. Or, at least, they nearly do.
Junior (transfer) guard Alvino Ashley appears to be a fine player, but after that they really have only a handful of role players and another handful of players that shouldn’t really be on an MIAA roster.
I received the following message last Saturday night from a Hope fan after the Dutchmen rolled over Olivet 84-53 at DeVos Fieldhouse:
Calvin will annihilate Olivet… they've just got nothing left.
Matt El and Erick Mack both averaged nearly 29 minutes per game during the first half of the season, but they’re both off the roster. Bench players Ray Johnson and Paul Koviak are also no longer listed on the roster. Jaren Edsall, a senior who’s started all 14 games he’s played in, has been out for the last three games (apparently he’s injured). Remaining in the starting lineup (assuming Edsall is still out) are the Comets lone three players of nominal value: Ashley, Dakotah Ellis, and (freshman) Paul Lombard, along with (freshman) Marquis Childers and (freshman) Dylan Roe.
With the possible exception of Lombard, these freshmen aren’t playing because they’re good, they’re playing because they have to. I knew Olivet would be bad this year, but I had no idea they’d be this bad. It’s sad to see after they had built such a competitive program.
I've only been retaining my pre-game stats since the Finlandia game (what was that, the fourth game of the year?), and this is the first time that Calvin will enter the game with better shooting numbers than their opponent. That's really unfathomable for Calvin, who's historically a very good shooting team.
Olivet is about league average when it comes to turnovers, but they're a terrible shooting team, and they don't get to the line. They've been pretty good on the offensive glass, but Calvin has been the best defensive rebounding team in the MIAA. The only way the Comets stay in this game is if they out-work Calvin on the glass for second chance points.
Olivet's efficiency numbers are terrible. The OEff and DEff numbers in the table above are both league worsts.
Predictions and Whatnot
I'm hoping this is another confidence building game for the Knights. Massey predicts Calvin to win by 15, but I'm willing to go bigger than that. I'll predict that the final margin is closer to 25. It could be an opportunity to give freshmen Tyler Dykstra, Ryan Nadeua, Daniel Stout, and TJ Huizenga quality minutes, so maybe they don't win by that much, but Calvin's not in a position to drop a bad game, so we very well may see KVS play the regular rotation to stay safe.
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