Tuesday, January 24, 2012

While I Was Out

So it was a little bit of a busy week at work and at home, and, consequently, I neglected this blog. But let's take a few moments to catch up on the happenings with the Calvin Knights.

There was a 16 point loss to Hope.

Unfortunately, this was entirely expected. I went into the day calm and cool (usually my stomach does gymnastics the entire day leading up to a Rivalry game), but I was a wreck at halftime. Never in my wildest dreams did I allow myself to hope for the type of shooting performance that Calvin displayed in the first half. I knew they would have to play a perfect 40 minutes to pull out a win, and here they were with (pretty much) a perfect 20 under their belts.

So I allowed myself that a floundering, depleted Calvin team could upset a top-ten team on the road. Obviously things didn't work out that way. The "hot" shooting disappeared and the lead evaporated about six minutes into the second half. Looking at that game as a whole, the Knights performed as well (or even slightly better) than was expected of them. It wasn't so much a second half collapse as it was a first half overperform followed by a return to normalcy.

Then there was the 27 point shellacking of Trine

The Thunder have been good this year so this result was a surprise. Not a surprise that Calvin won, but a surprise that they utterly dominated the game and were able to impose their will with little resistance. That's something we've rarely seen this year. I don't think Trine is as good as their 11-6 overall record indicates (they played a fairly soft non-conference schedule), but they're probably belong in the top half of the league -- at they very least they belong in the #3/#4 seed conversation with Albion and Calvin.

Trine had been prone to offensive explosions -- efficiency-wise they're the second best offense in the MIAA, behind Hope -- but the Knights locked them down completely. Calvin is developing an identity around defense -- something they'll need if they want to make a serious run at the number two spot and, potentially, a conference tournament title.

With only one game remaining in the first round of the double-round-robin MIAA schedule (against Olivet, the worst offense in the league), Calvin rates as the third best defense in the conference (allowing less than 0.89 points per opponent possession). Calvin also leads the league -- tied with Adrian -- in field goal percentage defense in MIAA play. Things are still lagging a bit on the offensive end of things, but I'm loving the defense. They played with a special level of intensity on Saturday. If they keep that up, there's no reason why they couldn't beat Olivet by 25+ on Wednesday.

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