Subtle changes as College Insider Tourney comes to O’rena
Maintenance had to change the net of the north end goal at the O’rena prior to the opening tip because a link had become torn. But the biggest change is the game balls. They’re branded with a large College Insider logo and can be hard to grip. It was on Reggie Hamilton’s mind, as he hesitated to shoot from the outside in the first half.
“He was complaining that it was slippery,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “I said, ‘Reggie, you’re 1 of 2 from the 3. I would rather you be 1 of 15 from 3 than (Corey) Petros turning it over seven times. Shoot it’.”
That Hamilton did, scoring 28 second-half points on his way to a new single-game tournament record 39 points.
The Grizzlies had an incident at Illinois last season where much of the first half was played with a women’s ball, smaller than the standard size used in a men’s game. The Grizzlies were shooting well after airballing some early shots.
Also, the 2,015 in attendance was similar to an Oakland home game this season as well as their first home game in the CIT against Kent State in 2009.
Big MAC attack
Kampe said with the league season shortened to 16 games, it’s possible more MAC schools could find their way onto Oakland’s schedule.
“We used to play them all the time and we would like to continue to play them,” he said. “It’s hard. You have to get so many big-time games and then we have 18 league games. Now that we’re going down to 16 league games, you’ll see more Toledos and Bowling Greens on the schedule.”
Although Oakland’s all-time record against MAC schools is just 19-40, Kampe estimated the Grizzlies are 15-10 over their last 25 against the conference. For comparison’s sake, Kampe liked what the Summit League has been able to accomplish against his former conference.
“Oral Roberts beat their champion,” he said. “South Dakota State beat Buffalo by 20-something. We played their top teams.”
He added Oakland would have fared well in the MAC-heavy CIT the past two seasons had they not reached the NCAA tournament.