The Knights have just finished their final preparations before tip-off against fifth-ranked UW-Stevens Point. They had a 55-minute shoot-around on Dick Bennett Court in Quandt Fieldhouse, followed by a short walk-through back here in the hotel.
Head coach Guy Kalland used the 55 minutes on Bennett Court to allow the Knights to get lots of shots up and get acclimated as best they can to the new surroundings of Quandt Fieldhouse. It reminds me a bit of Gangelhoff Center at Concordia University, St. Paul, where St. Thomas played its home games this year. It has seating on the end of the court, but it’s brightly lit. The Knights will need to shoot it well against the Pointers to come out on top, something they’ve been able to do during the last 13 games when they’ve connected on 50.8 percent from the field, including 42.0 from three-point range.
Doing a walk-through, where teams typically discuss strategies that will work against their opponents and specific plays the other team might run and how they will defend them, is standard operating procedure for most college basketball teams. Many Division I teams that travel a lot often hold them in hotel banquet rooms and such, but this is not something that Carleton typically does on a game day. They’ll usually hold these gatherings in West Gym, early in the afternoon before a home game or prior to getting on a bus for a conference road game. That’s one of the perks of playing in the MIAC where most bus rides are less than an hour long.
Guy Kalland, David Pape (our sports info director) and myself attended this morning’s administrator/coaches meeting, which included all four participating teams and numerous UW-Stevens Point athletic staff members who are running the tournament. All of the other coaches were very complimentary towards Guy in regards to this late-season run his team has made to get here to the NCAA Tournament. I’m not sure what it’s like at other levels, but I know there’s a lot of camaraderie among coaches at the Division III level, regardless of support.
We will have a live video and audio broadcast of the game. Dave already has all the equipment set up in Quandt Fieldhouse and we tested it out with our video and audio streaming partner, Stretch Internet. While the bandwidth isn’t as high as we’d like, we’re fairly confident everything will work. We’ll tell you right now the camera angle isn’t ideal, but frankly doing video on the road is a bit of an unknown, so hopefully everything works. We know there are a lot of Knight fans that can’t be here in Stevens Point that will be watching.
We’ll be heading out for a pre-game meal of spaghetti, bread and salad shortly, and the Knights will take in the first game between Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Associations (MIAA) champion Hope College and Midwest Conference champ St. Norbert College, which tips at 5:30 p.m. The coaching staff will be scouting the game as well, preparing for what they hope will be a second-round game on Saturday night at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16. We’ll check back after the Knights’ game tonight with the Pointers.