Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MIAA Tournament Preview: Hope Flying Dutchmen

Game Twenty Six (13-12, 8-6)
Who#1 Hope Flying Dutchmen (24-1,14-0)
WhatMIAA Tournament Semifinal
WhereDeVos Fieldhouse, Holland, MI
WhenWednesday, February 22 -- 7:30 PM           
AudioStretch Internet
StatsLive Stats, MIAA Gameday

When We Last Met
Calvin lost 83-70 just eleven days ago at the Van Noord Arena. A thirteen point loss to the #1 team in the country isn't terrible, especially considering David Rietema (among others) was out for that game, but Hope had a double-digit lead pretty much the entire second half. Calvin really never was able to pull within "striking distance". Still, they didn't embarrass themselves. A better second half shooting performance (it was only 37%), and it could have been interesting. Story of the year, though.

Highlight of the game was definitely Bryan Powell's dunk over Logan Neil.

Bryan Powell Dunk vs. Hope from Calvin College on Vimeo.

About Hope
They're #1 in Division III for a reason. They tore through the non-conference portion of their schedule (with the only loss coming at Division I Western Michigan), and then proceeded to shred the MIAA. Only two of their games ended within 10 points. There was a nine point win over Adrian and a six point win at Albion. Calvin's 16 point loss at DeVos Fieldhouse in mid-January was their second tightest home win in conference play. No one played Hope within 15 points in both games, and only Calvin was within 16 both times.

Hope's last loss at DeVos Fieldhouse was a two-point overtime defeat against Albion last season. Their last loss in regulation was in last year's conference opener -- at the hands of our Calvin Knights (that was actually also Hope's last regulation defeat against any non-D1 opponent).

Four Factors

As it has so often this season, shooting percentage is going to tell the story for Calvin. Can they shoot well enough against Hope's defense to stay in the game long enough to steal a victory. Calvin also shows slight advantages in turnover rate and offensive rebounding. They're going to have to squeeze every bit out of those two categories as well (while also playing perfect defense). As everyone already knows, getting a win will be no small task for the Knights.

Keys and Stuff
  • Force the ball into the paint. Hope's big men are more than able to handle any interior action that comes their way, but Calvin simply can't try to out-jump shoot the Dutchmen. No way that ends well. Kruis, Snikkers, and DeBoer are the main targets here.
  • Foul trouble. Stay out of it (especially Kruis). If Nate Van Eck is forced into the game for more than the scheduled quick breather, bad things will happen. Mostly that Hope will score and Calvin won't.
  • Smart possessions. This means avoiding bonehead turnovers and jacking up bad shots early in the clock. Calvin can't afford for high-risk to be the norm. This cost them in the last meeting. Calvin was never able to take advantage of a Hope cold stretch and lost a chance to cut the second half deficit to single digits.

Massey says Hope by 20.

I'll say Hope by 10. I think Calvin's up for "making a game of it", and I could see single digits in the last few minutes, but I don't see the Knights closing out the #1 team in the nation. Prove me wrong, though, and I'll be happy. A win would allow us to start thinking about the tournament, but that's still a long way away.

Up next would be the Adrian/Trine winner.

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