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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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oakland coach Greg Kampe criticizes fans for poor attendance

Oakland coach Greg Kampe did not mince words after the Golden Grizzlies' 90-75 victory Monday over Illinois State. Just 1,005 fans showed up for the game.
"We beat a really good basketball team in front of probably the worst crowd I've ever seen in Oakland University history," he said. "As happy as I am with the way we played, I have to scratch my head and wonder where people are. I know the Lions are playing, but I think it hasn't even started yet.
"You have a guy (Duke Mondy) leading the nation in steals and a guy (Travis Bader) on track to become the best 3-pointer shooter in history, we're coming off an unbelievable game against the No. 5 team in the country and no one's here.
"For a guy that's been here 30 years, I can't tell you how disappointed I am in the Oakland family and Oakland nation. That's ridiculous there would be this few people here to see a team the quality of Illinois State. Do you understand how hard it is to get teams like this to come to the O'rena? This team just beat Dayton, the No. 25 team in the nation. This team won at Northwestern. We were fortunate to get them to come to the O'rena and we get a crap crowd like this. It's embarrassing." 
There were a myriad of reasons, "Monday Night Football" included, why fans may have chosen to stay home. Also, students are on winter break, there was a Drake concert down the road at The Palace (I hear he's popular with the college kids), Oakland was 2-9 entering Monday's game, the game was available on Horizon League Network and early-onset winter weather was again in effect Monday.
Regardless why fans stayed home, the RedBirds' return visit mandated by ESPN's now-defunct Bracketbusters series, was the smallest crowd in at least the past two seasons.
Oakland's first two games did not see large crowds, either. Just 1,435 took in the Nov. 30 opener vs. Rochester College and 1,315 to see Oakland's Dec. 7 win over Ohio.
The Golden Grizzlies had just 12 home games last season, when they averaged 2,478 per game -- without a single game under 2,000 fans in attendance. They had 18 home games in 2011-12, adjusted to 17 when you take out a matchup with Michigan at The Palace, for an O'rena attendance average of 2,535 per game.
An Oakland athletics spokesman said recently the department was expecting a drop in attendance due to broadcasts on Horizon League Network, but only in poor weather conditions.
Oakland has three more games on this unprecedented six-game December homestand, with two more quality opponents entering the O'rena this weekend: Eastern Michigan, which recently defeated Horizon League preseason favorite Green Bay; and Robert Morris, which defeated Kentucky in the NIT last season.
The Feb. 14 matchup with Detroit is all but a guaranteed sellout, but what other games will draw fan interest if they haven't responded thus far? (Valparaiso on Jan. 4?) 
Both games this weekend start at 1 p.m. and are being carried on Horizon League Network. Will fans answer the call?

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