Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Boss Back

"Somebody call the Brink(s) truck"
          -Rick Ross

I'm unsure whether it was (occasional FFTMAG author) Zac or me that quoted the above rap lyric after Jordan Brink hit his fifth three pointer of the ballgame on Saturday night, but it seemed apropos at the time. I might have even embeded video of the song -- had a family-friendly version existed -- and gone on to laud the incredible game that Mr. Brink had in Calvin's not-as-close-as-the-final-score-indicates 67-58 win over UW-Stevens Point.

But I'm not going to go on-and-on about how clutch Jordan was in scoring 21 points and hitting on all five of his three point attempts because that's not what this team is about. It's not about individual scoring efforts or any particular player carrying the team.

On Saturday it was Brink with the game-high 21 points, but last week against Rose-Hulman it was Tom Snikkers with 20. Against Hope in the MIAA Championship, Bryan Powell led the way with 18 and Tyler Kruis had a game-high 15 against Adrian.

So, in the last four games -- all with Calvin having their backs against the proverbial wall -- a different member of the team has come out on top in scoring. And it's been like that all year. If one guy has a good matchup, they all look to feed him. This team doesn't play selfishly, they're not out there looking to pad a stat line, and they quite clearly share a common goal.

In both rounds of NCAA Tournament play, the opposing team's broadcasters have commented on how impressed they were with Calvin's balanced box scores. The Knights have four guys averaging between 10.5 and 13.5 points, but rarely, it seems, do games play out that way. The four top scorers don't necessarily hit double figures each game, content to play a role when it's not working for them, but they're each capable of making plays and taking over a game if it fits inside the team flow.

And it's not even about the top scorers. Calvin is where they are for multiple reasons. They're one of the (if not the, singular) best rebounding teams in the country, and guys like Mickey DeVries and Dan Stout play big roles in that department. Stevens Point didn't get their first "real" offensive rebound until there were about five minutes left to play (the first credited offensive rebound came at about 10 minutes in the second half on a Tyler Dykstra block that ended up out of bounds). When teams don't get second chances, they don't score very much.

It's a team game and Calvin's playing it that way. I should be writing about every single guy wearing the maroon and gold, but I can't because my mind is really just "WE ON! WE ON! WE ON! WE ON!" right now. I'm just, wow, I love this.

Efficiency Numbers

Estimated possessions: 59.4
Offensive Efficiency: 112.8
Defensive Efficiency: 97.7

That's actually Calvin getting things done more on the offensive side than on the defensive side -- which is a little bit unusual -- but UW-Stevens Point is as good of an offensive team as they've seen all season, so that defensive number is still pretty darn good.

The Knights were up 14 with darn near 0:30 to play, but a late three pointer and a layup cut the game to single digits by the final buzzer. They have more or less clowned two opponents on their home court in the NCAA Tournament.

Calvin's last three games -- vs. Hope, at Rose-Hulman, at UW-Stevens Point -- have probably been their best three games of the year. This is the right time of year to peak.

In which the author quotes himself

This came all the way back on October 25:
19 to 21 wins heading into the MIAA tournament with a 12-2 or 11-3 conference record and a league championship. They’ll grab an NCAA tournament berth and make a Sweet 16 appearance.
It was 22 wins heading into the MIAA Tournament with a 13-1 conference record, a league championship, an NCAA Tournament berth, and a Sweet Sixteen appearance. I was way off.

Looking ahead

St. Thomas is up next. They're good, and that's an understatement. Perhaps I'll have numbers and other nerdy things to come.

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