2012-13 Division III Basketball Preview: Hope tries to repeat as MIAA champs despite losing two all-conference players

October 12, 2012 in Division III

It’s hard to believe, but college basketball season is almost here. This week, we’ll preview Michigan’s eight Division III schools.

By Patrick Hayes

At a glance

Overview

Hope College enters the season obviously looking to repeat as MIAA champions, but a more appropriate question might be, “Can any team in the league beat them this season?”

Strengths

Hope breezed through MIAA play last season with a 14-0 record and won nine of those 14 games by double figures. The team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, where they lost to Illinois Wesleyan in double overtime.

This season, the team brings back Nate Snuggerud, their leading scorer who averaged 17.8 points per game, and leading rebounder at 7.1 per game. Most impressive, though, are Snuggerud’s shooting numbers. He shot 62 percent from the field and made 46 percent of his 3-pointers.

Also back are Nate VanArendonk, who 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and also led the team in blocked shots, and Colton Overway, who scored 6.7 points off the bench last season.

Hope was an incredible shooting team last season. They shot 51 percent as a team (!) and collectively made 35 percent of their 3-pointers. Those numbers, combined with a defense that held opponents to 39 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers per game, make it pretty easy to see what the team was nearly unbeatable last season.

Weaknesses

Despite Hope’s great shooting, they were a bit below average at the free throw line, shooting 69 percent. For a team that has players who can get to the line, boosting up that percentage just a bit will help bring in a few extra points for a team that has a couple of big losses.

And boy, are those losses big, starting with Krombeen, an All-American and the MIAA MVP. Krombeen was second on the team in scoring at 14.8 per game and led the team in assists at 3.7 per game. He took good care of the ball, averaging just two turnovers per game, and was a great shooter — 51 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

The team also loses third leading scorer Bunn, who averaged 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Those two also were first and second on the team in minutes played, so there is a significant amount of court time that will go to players in new roles.

Circle these dates …

  • Jan. 5 and 30 – Adrian returns nearly all of its key players and gave Hope its toughest conference test, losing to them 65-62 in overtime in the MIAA title game. Both games this year will be extremely important if the standings are as close as they look like they could be.
  • Jan. 6 and Feb. 9 – Hope’s two games against Calvin, one of the best basketball rivalries in the country.

Outlook

Until a team proves otherwise, Hope is still the team to beat in the MIAA, although it would be a major surprise if they’re able to get through the conference undefeated again this season, considering how improved some of the other teams should be.

Previously


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