Grinnell College opens first round play of the Midwest Conference Tournament today against Rippon in DePere, Wisconsin. Pioneers co-coach, Dave Arseneault Junior, is happy with the way the regular season went in what was a re-loading year for their high-scoring offense. “I think heading into the season I wasn’t sure what to expect with the graduation of nine seniors. And you know what, I’ve been pleasantly surprised throughout,” Arseneault says. “It has been a little bit frustrating at times — but that’s understandable because we’ve had so many new faces that we’ve tried to incorporate into the mix — but for the most part, to be 18-5 is totally exceeding any expectations I had and I’m just totally thrilled with our guys.”

The biggest surprise for him was the way the new guys adapted. “There have been times when we’ve had three or four on the floor at once, and for a team that is 18-5 and locked up the second seed in the conference tournament, no other teams are trotting out that many first-year players,” Arseneault says.

Grinnell lost the first matchup with Rippon 126-99, but took the home game 110-102. Arseneault says creating turnovers is the key. “Everything that we do is predicated on getting shots at the hoop. And over the course of the season and over the course of the game the percentages are going to take care of themselves. So, if we can force some extra turnovers and get on the offensive glass I think that we are always going to be covered in terms of shot attempts,” he says.

The game is at 1:30.  St. Norbert is the top seed and host of the tournament.

(Reporting by Chris Varney, KGRN, Grinnell)