Grinnell College did it again on Monday night. They scheduled a two-year-old Christian basketball program to get one of its players a record, and Grinnell got it. Patrick Maher handed out 37 assists Monday in a 164-144 victory against College of Faith, breaking the Division III record set in 2007 by another Grinnell player.
Who saw this coming? I did, two months ago, after writing about the 109 points a Grinnell player scored against a 100-person Christian school with an 0-10 record. This is what I wrote in November, and then I scanned the Grinnell schedule to see when Grinnell would try it again. I saw the game against College of Faith, called the COF coach and asked him:
"Do you have any idea why Grinnell scheduled you?"
This is what COF coach Daniel Bandy told me on Nov. 12:
"It's pretty apparent how [Grinnell coach Dave Arseneault] likes to do the schedule," Bandy said two months ago. "For us being a new institution, a new sports program, my biggest thing is to get games -- and for me it doesn't matter who it is, Division I or II or III. I understand what they're doing at Grinnell, but we've also got a very talented team so I'm not really that concerned."
Silly man. This record was a fait accompli. They'd been talking about it at Grinnell for months. It was a 36-point blowout by halftime, but the assists kept coming for Maher -- because that was the plan.
Said Maher on Monday night, after setting the record: "This is something we've been discussing since the beginning of the season."
So congratulations to everyone. College of Faith got the game it needed. Grinnell got the record it wanted. Everyone wins. Or loses. Whatever.