The Official Student Newspaper of Calvin College Since 1907
February 26, 2010
Volume 104, Issue 20
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The Calvin-Hope Rivalry: from obscurity to national limelight

//Sports Editor Jon Behm is looking back on the history of the Calvin-Hope men’s basketball rivalry. This is the final installment in the series.//

In their first matchup of the new millennium, the Knight fans once again made an impact, this time nationally. Prior to their Jan. 15, 2000 game, the Republican candidates for the President of the United States had a nationally televised debate from the Calvin campus. The moderator of the debate, Tim Russert of NBC, promised the Calvin students that if they behaved, her would “announce the victory of the Calvin Knights over the Hope Flying Dutchmen” on Meet the Press.

The Knight faithful behaved, Calvin won the first matchup of the new millennium and Russert kept his promise by not only announcing the Calvin men’s victory, but also the victory of the Calvin women over Hope.

Additionally, with 143 games between the rivals, the Dutch edged the Knights by a meager margin of three points.

The first matchup of the 2002-03 season marked the 150th meeting of the two teams, with Calvin emerging victorious by a score of 74-70, giving the Knights a 78-72 overall advantage over the Dutch.

Until the 2004-05 season, everyone knew that the Calvin-Hope rivalry was a big deal. However, no one realized just how big it was until ESPN conducted a poll of the ESPN staff, ranking the top 10 collegiate basketball rivalries in the nation.

When the results of the poll were aired on ESPN2 in September of 2005, the Calvin-Hope rivalry was ranked fourth, beating the likes of Xavier-Cincinnati, Indiana-Purdue, Illinois-Missouri and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State.

The 2005-06 season marked possibly the greatest Calvin victory of the rivalry. In the second meeting of the season, Calvin led only once the entire game. However, that one lead proved to be the final score of 59-58 after freshman guard Caleb Veldhouse sank a 3-pointer with only 1.7 seconds remaining.

In the 2006-07 campaign, the Knights once again made an impact in front of a national audience.

Prior to the Feb. 7, 2007 matchup, Hope had posted 28 consecutive victories at the new DeVos Fieldhouse. On that night, though, Calvin would prevail by a score of 77-71. The game marked the 50th anniversary of Hope’s membership in the NCAA and NCAA President Myles Brand was in attendance to watch the Dutch fall. The game also marked the 166th meeting of the teams, with the series tied at 83 wins apiece.

This brings our journey of the Calvin-Hope history to last season’s historic endeavor. The two conference games last year were decided by a grand total of three points, with Calvin winning both matchups.

In the first game, played at the DeVos Fieldhouse, the Dutch trailed by 10 points with less than five minutes to play. They rallied to come back, but were unable to steal a victory as the Knights won the 170th game in the rivalry, 66-64.

In the second game, the Dutch made their first appearance in Calvin’s new Van Noord Arena. The game proved to be an exciting contest. With one minute remaining, Hope’s Peter Bunn scored, giving the Dutch a 62-58 lead. However, just as he had done in his first-ever Calvin-Hope game, Caleb Veldhouse, now a senior, scored a clutch a 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining to pull the Knights within one, 62-61. Hope failed to score on their next possession, and the Knights regained the ball with 18 seconds remaining. Junior Matt Veltema scored on a baseline layup with three seconds remaining, and the Knights were victorious by a final score of 63-62. The Dutch, however, had the last laugh, as they won the first decade of the new millennium 16-14, giving them an 87-85 overall advantage entering 2010.

As we all know, the series has swung in favor of Hope so far this season, with the Knights splitting a pair of home games and dropping one in the DeVos, giving the Dutch an 89-86 advantage through 175 games and 93 years of basketball.

With the potential for a fourth matchup between these two MIAA powerhouses in the MIAA championship tonight, the rivalry looks to gain even more fuel as it heads towards a total of 200 games.

Overall, Hope holds a 95-point lead over Calvin, which comes out to a meager 0.543 points per game difference.

However, despite all the facts and numbers and history, there is only one fact about the rivalry that can ring 100 percent true. It is a rivalry that is fueled by the students.

It started with the students going behind the administration’s back, continued with the students publishing a letter to renew the rivalry, and could even been seen last season when a Calvin fan tripped an obnoxious Hope fan carrying a flag in our own arena last season.

You, the average Calvin student, are the reason that this rivalry is the nationally recognized commodity that it is today. Yes, it is the players who make the games, but, without us as fans, the rivalry would be hollow and without the personal touch that it has come to develop over the span of 93 years.

 
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