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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, September 16, 2011

Oakland games won't move despite NBA lockout

There has been some buzz lately about the possibility of Oakland moving some games from the O'rena to The Palace, which is only 3 1/2 miles from the Rochester campus, in the event the NBA lockout persists into the winter.
Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe put an end to that speculation, saying Wednesday following the release of Oakland's schedule no games that aren't already scheduled to be played at The Palace will be played at the Pistons' home.
"We want teams to play us in the O'rena," Kampe said.
The Grizzlies have one game, Dec. 10 against Michigan, scheduled for The Palace. Oakland suffered a one-point loss to then-No. 7 Michigan State there last season. The Grizzlies picked up their first top-25 win in 2007, taking down then-No. 21 Oregon, in Auburn Hills.
Oakland of course got its second win over a top-25 program, beating Tennessee last December. The Volunteers visit the O'Rena Nov. 28 in the second of a three-game deal and it could set a new record for attendance at Oakland's home floor.
The attendance record at the O'rena, 4,055, was set when then-No. 3 Missouri visited in 2003 (which was also former beat writer and good friend Dave Pemberton's first Oakland game). An extra set of bleachers was brought in for the day to expand the capacity of the 3,000 seat arena.
Kampe was unsure what seating arrangements will be made to accommodate the likely overflow crowd.
Director of Athletics Tracy Huth said last July:
"If we could blow the roof off for one day and put a couple more thousand seats, we certainly would. But we’ll definitely put in there what we can."
Huth also touched on the importance of getting Tennessee to visit Rochester.
"The excitement level is several times higher than it would be if we were at a neutral site.”
The Grizzlies pulled off a program-defining upset in Knoxville, Tenn., last season and this year's game should help them set another program benchmark in attendance. And you can't do that at The Palace.

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