Oakland has a history of limiting Nate Wolters
Hamilton hit a game-winner in a 41-point performance against Valparaiso nearly two weeks ago. The next day, Wolters had 34 points in 40 minutes, as the Jackrabbits upset Pac-12 opponent Washington, ending the Huskies’ 32-game home-court winning streak.
“What they did to Washington, that was a clinic,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “It was as well played of a game I’ve seen by a mid-major on a BCS floor.”
That combined with Oakland’s late-November win over Tennessee and Oral Roberts’ win over No. 9 Xavier the same day as SDSU’s upset, have propelled the Summit League to its highest-ever Sagarin Rating.
“It’s going to be a heck of a year,” Kampe said.
Oakland visits South Dakota State Friday in the second of three early tests in the conference season. Hamilton is third in the nation in scoring at 23 points per game, while Wolters is fifth (21.5).
“In the past, (Wolters has) gotten numbers against us,” Kampe said. “But he’s gotten his numbers with 22 to 25 shots. We’ve rotated players on him and you really can’t stop him. The big key is keeping him off the free-throw line.
“If he gets those 25 points on just 12 or 13 shots, we’re in trouble. … I don’t care how many points he gets, as long as it’s a high number of shots.”
Wolters went for 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting in the teams’ last meeting in the conference tournament semifinal in Sioux Falls, S.D., last March. He had 29 points on 24 shots Feb. 19 at Oakland and just 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting last Jan. 20.
Of course Oakland won all three of those games and the two regular-season meetings the season prior.
Wolters and the Jackrabbits should make a good home game for the Grizzlies when they visit the O’rena Jan. 26, as well.