Not saying Grace, but playing Grace

The regular season in hoops starts today for The Citadel, which played one official exhibition game (a one-point win over Georgia Southwestern).  The opponent is Grace Bible College, a school of about 180 students, located in Wyoming – not the state, but a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I had, not surprisingly, never heard of Grace Bible College before seeing the school listed on The Citadel’s basketball schedule.  Grace (the school athletic teams, rather boringly, are nicknamed the Tigers) is a member of the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association.  Grace is stepping up in competition, and the folks there are very excited by this (they seem particularly hopeful of making ESPN’s “Bottom Line” sportsticker).  Grace takes its basketball seriously enough to have a 38-page media guide, with this season’s edition already online.  From the guide:

Coach Gary Bailey has always believed a strong regular season prepares his charges for post-season play but this year’s competition is exceptionally challenging. For the first time in school history Grace will play a NCAA Division I program as they take on the Bulldogs of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina for the host team’s home opener on November 14. “It will give our players the opportunity to see what major college basketball is all about,” says Coach Bailey, “and we are thrilled to be the guests of The Citadel.”

Grace has won three NCCAA Division II national championships, the last in 2006.  What I find curious about this is that Grace’s record that year was 20-20.  (Last season Grace finished 19-19 after reaching the regional finals.)

Grace has already started its season this year and is 3-1 after a win over Andrews on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, Grace was scheduled to travel to Charleston by bus, a journey of 16 hours.

In terms of common opponents, Grace has played Atlanta Christian four times in its history, winning three of those games.  The Citadel played Atlanta Christian in four consecutive seasons, winning last year 79-55 (scores of the other three games against Atlanta Christian:  113-59, 126-43, 75-49).  Interestingly, the other non-D1 opponent on the Bulldogs’ schedule this year, Cincinnati Christian, has played Grace Bible 40 times over the years, with the Cincinnati school winning 33 of those matchups.

I have no idea what style of play Grace will employ.  I am guessing that the Tigers won’t have much of an inside game, as they only have one player over 6’6″, and he’s a freshman.  Also, one of Grace’s best players is out for the year with an injury.

I’m going to wait until Sunday to post my hoops preview for The Citadel.  I want to wait until the Bulldogs are about to play Division I competition (that will be the second game of the regular season, at Virginia Commonwealth).  The exhibition game against Georgia Southwestern had some unexpected elements to it, at least when compared to last season’s statistical tendencies.  I don’t know that tonight’s game will tell us much, if anything, about how the Bulldogs will play this year, either.  All I know is that it isn’t likely to be very competitive.  At least, I hope not…

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: