#13 Calvin Knights (20-2) at Hope Flying Dutchmen (14-8)
DeVos Fieldhouse – Holland, MI
Game Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV: WGVU (West Michigan), World Harvest Television (DirecTV 367), or streaming online
Radio: WFUR (102.9) in Grand Rapids, THEVAN (92.7) in Holland, or streaming online
Favorite: Calvin by 1
If you’ve never had a chance to check out “THE Rivalry” I suggest you give it a shot. It’s best viewed in person, but if you can’t make it to one of the arneas — or you can’t find an available ticket — then making your way to one of the nation’s satellite venues might give you a taste of the atmosphere. Calvin and Hope are the perennial powers in the MIAA and also two of the historically stronger programs in NCAA Division III. THE Rivalry — as it’s called — has been noted by ESPN and ESPN The Magazine as one of the best in college basketball regardless of division.
The first meeting of the season saw Calvin win (at home) by 26 points. That type of victory margin doesn’t happen in this rivalry, and it’s not going to happen this afternoon. Hope has since figured out a starting lineup that works for them — notably the return of Nate Snuggerud and Nate VanArendonk to the starting lineup — so they’ll be better prepared to deal with Calvin’s size and length in the interior. Hope will be without senior point guard Colton Overway who broke a bone in his foot last week.
Calvin won the first meeting primarily on the strength of their defense. The Knights held the Flying Dutchmen to just 31% shooting, blocked eight shots, and won the rebounding battle 41-27. I say primarily defense, though, because Calvin’s 50% night from beyond the arc didn’t hurt matters. That was then, though, and today’s game will be different. Hope will shoot better and Calvin will probably shoot worse, and I’d be shocked if the game didn’t come down to the last possession. Hope’s DeVos Fieldhouse is one of the toughest places to win on the road in Division III, so Calvin is simply not going to waltz in there and drop another beat down.
Prediction: Calvin 69, Hope 66