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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.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Greg Kampe shares rigorous scheduling philosophy well known to fans

Oakland coach Greg Kampe shared his daring "schedule-up" philosophy in a recent guest column for The grueling ideology is nothing new to fans, who, after a record 18 home games in 2011-12, are waiting through the first of two extensive road trips for the Grizzlies' second home game of this season, Dec. 6 against Rochester College., publisher of the weekly Mid-Major Top 25 poll, heavily covers mid-major college hoops, even sponsoring a postseason tournament of the same name, which Oakland has participated in twice in the past  four seasons.
As it pertains to recruits, playing a formidable slate helps Kampe and his staff to promise potential players they can play at the nation's most hallowed arenas with mid-major Oakland. 
"Players want to compete against big time opponents," Kampe wrote. "When we are recruiting kids we can point to the fact that annually we schedule games against the likes of Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, UCLA and Michigan State. In some cases we are fortunate enough to have a program like Tennessee come to Oakland to play (two for one), but more often than not we are playing these teams exclusively on their home courts. But that gives our players the opportunity to play in places like Allen Fieldhouse, Pauley Pavilion and Rupp Arena."
The Grizzlies played No. 1-ranked teams at UCLA and Kansas in the past, but no matchup with Kentucky has surfaced to date. He again mentions the hypothetical meeting:
"We certainly don’t go into games waving the white flag of surrender, but playing Kentucky in Rupp is certainly not a 50-50 game."
Oakland's aggressive scheduling intensified in the Keith Benson years, which ultimately may have led to the a lesser regular-season record for the Golden Grizzlies, but very nearly resulted in three straight conference tournament titles and NCAA tournament berths.
"The bottom line for us is that we have to win the Summit League tournament in order to secure a bid to the NCAA tournament so our non-conference win-loss record is irrelevant in the big picture.
"If I scheduled differently we may have another 15-20 wins." 
The longtime coach also divulged one of the Grizzlies' secrets to Summit League success in recent years -- chartered flights. While other teams are shuffling through cramped Midwestern airports flying commercial, Kampe and his team are on their way home as soon as possible.
"We bring in a lot of money, playing BCS schools on the road and that affords us the opportunity to charter to all road games. If we play a game on Saturday night in the Dakotas we are home in our beds before sunrise.
"Being able to charter rather than fly commercial has really helped us within our own conference over the past few years."
Oakland surpassed the 10,000-mile mark on this trip BEFORE Monday's game at Tennessee. They play seven of eight on the road after a Dec.17 date with Valparaiso at the O'rena. That trip includes stops at West Virginia (Dec. 19) and Alabama (Jan. 5).


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