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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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Oakland vs. Illinois State pregame notes

Oakland (2-9) has a busy week, starting Monday night at the O'rena with Illinois State (5-4). The game, which tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the Horizon League Network, is a return date from Oakland's participation in ESPN's ill-fated machination "Bracketbusters" during the 2011-12 season. After two straight dates against Big Ten schools, the Golden Grizzlies get back to mid-major play, where it has won 70 percent of its games over the past five years.

- The RedBirds are 4.5-point favorites at the O'rena Monday, the Golden Grizzlies' first of three home games this week. They host Eastern Michigan Saturday (Dec. 21) and Robert Morris Sunday (Dec. 22).

- The Golden Grizzlies trail the overall series, 4-1, and are 0-1 at home vs. Illinois State.

- In the latest rankings Sagarin Ratings by USA Today, Oakland now has the No. 1 RPI strength of schedule in the country. 

- Reggie Hamilton had 34 points to lead Oakland in the teams' last meeting in February 2012, a four-point Oakland defeat. Travis Bader, who leads Oakland in scoring this season, had 18 points, but was held to just two points after halftime.

- Oakland has been outrbounded in every game this season besides its non-Division I win over Rochester College. Michigan State held a 41-32 advantage on the boards Saturday at The Palace.

- In two true home games this season, Oakland has held its opponents to just 36-percent shooting. Ohio scored just 56 points, the fifth-fewest by a Division I opponent in O'rena history. 

- Travis Bader rebounded from an 0-for-10 night from long distance at Indiana to make four 3s against Michigan State. He is now just 56 3s from setting a new NCAA career record. Bader fell to into second place in the NCAA this season after failing to hit a 3 last week at Assembly Hall. Duke Mondy is also second in the nation in steals, with 39.

- The RedBirds have won four straight after a win over No. 25 Dayton, their first home win over a ranked opponent. They've had nine days off since the victory.

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