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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Friday, March 11, 2011

NCAA bid every year is a great expectation to have

Oakland coach Greg Kampe fielded the calls and TV interview Wednesday shortly after arriving back on campus sometime in the early morning/late-night hours. But the demand wasn't there like it has been last year and in 2005. And that's fine with him.

“That’s what you want. That’s the goal … when we made the transition (to Division I) and now, 12 years later, people have the expectation that you’re in or it’s not a good year, then you feel like you’ve arrived. That’s a great expectation to have," he said.

As a No. 14 seed in last year's Big Dance, the Grizzlies held with No. 3 Pittsburgh for the first 10 minutes of the game before an injury sent Derick Nelson to the sidelines. Kampe and his team didn't like how they responded to the loss of their star player.

"An opportunity was wasted," Kampe said. "These guys feel like they get another opportunity, let’s not waste it. … There’s a really strong belief among this team that we can win. Last year, it was ‘We’re going to win, we’re going to do this and that.’ I haven’t heard any of that this year. Just quietness and that they can’t wait to play."

After initial disappointment following the selection show, Kampe is confident the Grizzlies have made enough of a name for themselves through their tough schedule, RPI and last year's appearance, to get a higher seed. They have the same RPI, 52, as they did to end last season.

"The difference this year is that we have a top-25 win we didn’t have last year," Kampe said. "The committee knows more about Oakland and who it plays."

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