Calvin College in Grand Rapids and Hope College in Holland compete on many playing fields, but none more intense than their long, storied rivalry on the basketball floor, which enters its 95th year Saturday at Hope's DeVos Fieldhouse.

Local legends like Dan Davis, Mark Veenstra, Floyd Brady and Eric Elliot have played in "The Rivalry", which Hope leads 98 wins to 90, and just 89 points separate the teams over 188 games, a difference of only 0.47 points per game!

The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association is America's oldest intercollegiate league, having been founded in 1888, making it 126 years old, and over half their basketball titles (67) have been won by either Hope (37) or Calvin (30). It is considered one of the most intense rivalries in NCAA Division III.

Matt Snyder of the basketball website describes it this way:

Michigan-Ohio State, North Carolina-Duke, Yankees-Red Sox. These are perhaps the three most discussed and beloved rivalries in American sports today (and for good reason). They share four common threads that make all rivalries great: proximity, atmosphere, history and intensity. They all play tightly contested games in front of raucous crowds, and the outcomes play a critical role in the race for a league or division championship.


The same is true in West Michigan where Calvin and Hope meet on the court in what has become not only one of the greatest basketball rivalries in the state, not just the best in Division III, but one of the greatest rivalries (of any sport at any level) in the country. That statement probably sounds a great deal like hyperbole (and it probably is to an extent, I’m in far too deep to know for sure), but there’s good reason that the Calvin-Hope rivalry has been branded as“THE” Rivalry.

This season, both teams have winning records entering Saturday's first of two scheduled clashed between the squads this season (the second will be February 4 at Calvin). Calvin won its first MIAA game earlier over Alma, and sports an 8-4 overall mark, while Hope stumbled at Trine 84-65 in its MIAA contest, and stands at 7-5 on the season.

The game will be broadcast locally on WGVU-TV Saturday with tip-off at 3 p.m.

Here's a look at "The Rivalry" from a special WOOD-TV did on it last season.

Here's one of the series' best buzzer beaters, Caleb Veldhouse's three-pointer to win for Calvin in 2006.

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