The Simpson men's basketball team hosts rival Central in a key Iowa Conference clash in the lone game of the week on Wednesday evening.
Wednesday's tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and will be video streamed on SimpsonAthletics.com. Todd Guessford will have the call. Andrew Swadner and Rick Wilson will describe the action on KNIA 1320 AM/95.3 FM and online at KNIAKRLS.com.
The Storm (11-10, 7-6) went 1-1 last week, beating Luther 92-75 on Wednesday before falling to Wartburg 85-77 on Saturday. Conor Riordan led the way with 26 points in the win over Luther. He followed with 23 in the loss to Wartburg.
The Dutch (9-12, 6-6) beat Dubuque 85-78 on Saturday behind 19 points from Malik Wildermuth.
Simpson (7-6) goes into Wednesday's game with a half-game lead on both Central (6-6) and Wartburg (6-6) for fourth-place in the standings. Buena Vista (9-4) sits two games above the Storm in third.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1 — Playing the Best: Simpson has played the second-toughest schedule in all of Division III to this point in the season. Simpson's opponents are a combined 226-131 for a .633 winning percentage. Only Wis.-Stevens Point (.653) has played a tougher schedule.
2 — Valuing the Basketball: Simpson takes care of the ball as well as any team in the nation. The Storm turn the ball over just 10.2 times per game, fourth-fewest in Division III. Simpson's two turnovers against Luther last Wednesday are tied for the lowest mark in Division III this season. Simpson committed just three turnovers in the first meeting with Central and is the only team in the country to turn the ball over three-or-fewer times on two occasions.
3 — Amsbaugh at the Line: A byproduct of being one of the top scores in the league is getting fouled. The IIAC's third-leading scorer gets fouled a lot, and takes advantage of his opportunities. Amsbaugh has made 117 free throws on the year, most in the conference and 20th in Division III. He has made more than 100 free throws each of the last three seasons, just the second player in school history to hit the century mark three times.
4 — Bench Buckets: The Storm have received a big boost from their bench play since the start of the new year. In the last 10 games, Simpson's bench is averaging 25.5 ppg, up from 13.4 ppg in the first 11 games of the season. Kyle Wagner has had the hot hand as of late, averaging 11.2 ppg over the last six games.
5 — Riordan on a Tear: In what has already been a career year, the last three games may be point guard Conor Riordan's best yet. In addition to averaging 27 points and 5.3 rebounds, he has 17 assists and just three turnovers for an eye-popping 5.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. In the entire season, he has committed more than two turnovers just once -- three at Dubuque on Dec. 6.
Simpson and Central are meeting for the 200th time in a series that dates back to the 1906-07 season … Simpson leads the series 101-98 … the Dutch won the season's first meeting 93-87 in Pella, Central's second-straight in the series.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The Dutch and sixth-year head coach Craig Douma are 9-12 on the year and and 6-6 in the Iowa Conference … Saturday's seven-point win over Dubuque snapped a two-game losing streak … the Dutch are sixth in the league in scoring offense (81.6) and last in points allowed (82.5) … with 10.1 3-pointers per game, Central ranks fourth in the IIAC and 32nd in the nation … returning All-IIAC performer Kyle Smith leads the team in scoring (16.1 ppg).