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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.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Oakland vs. Robert Morris preview

I shared a few of my observations about Oakland with the "Chronicling the Colonials" blog this morning in anticipation of this afternoon's game against Robert Morris.

Q. Oakland is about to play game two of a back-to-back. How do you this effects the team?

A. It’s actually the second time this season they’ve played on consecutive days. In late November, Oakland lost the final two games of the Maui Mainland Invitational. They were trying to work to important role players, Dante Williams and Duke Mondy, back into the rotation after they were suspended. Mondy didn’t play in the first of those games, but had a decent outing in the second. Both players are big parts of Oakland’s lineup.
In summary, I don’t think they’re concerned about playing on consecutive days.

Q. How tough is it to assess Oakland with the schedule they've played?

A.They’ve always played a who’s who of college basketball and they’ve only come up with the two Top-25 wins. Despite it, they’ve been to three NCAA tournaments. There’s only two or three bad losses on their schedule and they nearly upset the No. 5 team in the country last week.
Saturday’s loss to Eastern Michigan had a little extra sting because it was an in-state loss, but it was a great game. If Oakland had not shot the ball so poorly early on, it could have had its third straight win over a good mid-major team.

Q. Oakland really only seems to give significant minutes to seven guys. Do you think this is something that will change as the year goes on?

A. In short, no. Greg Kampe typically goes with a short bench, maybe an eight-man rotation at most. He stuck to just seven Saturday, while Eastern Michigan went 11-deep.
Here’s what he had to say: “We are who we are.”
“This was the group I wanted to go with. It was a fairly slow-paced game. The were only 30 possessions in the first half. I had no problem with it.”

Q. What type of style of play should RMU expect? Who are some names RMU fans should know?

A. Besides Travis Bader, of course, forward/center Corey Petros is a double-double machine. He had 19 rebounds Saturday to go with 13 points. Also, guard Duke Mondy, who leads the nation in steals, could be Oakland’s best all-around player. Saturday’s line: six points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals is actually light on steals. (He had seven swipes in consecutive games last week.) He was just 2 of 12 shooting Saturday and appeared hesitant at times.
Oakland will likely shoot a ton of 3s Sunday, as it typically does, and it will likely make 35- to 40-percent of them. If they make more, watch out.

Q. What are your expectations for today's game?

A. Oakland could very well be the sleeper in RMU’s road trip and the Golden Grizzlies should be angry after Saturday’s loss. Greg Kampe was aware of the “holiday trap” this game could present for his team, though, and with a sub-.500 record, Oakland has had trouble drawing crowds this season, so they may not have the home support you might expect.

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