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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 14, 2013

Pregame notes for Oakland-MSU

For the second time this week, Oakland (2-8) takes on a Big Ten oppopnent in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2, taking on No. 5 Michigan State (7-1) at 4:05 p.m. The game can also be heard on OUGrizzlies.com  due to a scheduling conflict with WDFN-AM (1130).

- Michigan State is a 16.5-point favorite Saturday, per Bovada LV, the second-highest point spread against Oakland this season.

- Michigan State is the fourth ranked opponent for Oakland this season. Although they were quite dominant, Indiana was unranked in Tuesday's meeting. This is the third time the Spartans have been ranked fifth for their third meeting with Oakland.
The Golden Grizzlies played a program-best six ranked teams in the 2010-11.

- The Spartans are coming off 10 days' rest, having last played ion a 14-point defeat to North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Dec. 4. Oakland has had just four days off since a blowout loss at Indiana.

- Michigan State held the No. 1 spot in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls for three straight weeks, a first in school history. The Spartans fell to No. 5 in the most recent AP Poll.
"We wanted them at No. 1," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "We wanted them fat and happy, coming off exams, not (Tom) Izzo killing them for losing (to North Carolina). This is the worst possible scenario for us." 

- Since being whistled for 32 fouls at Western Michigan, Oakland has committed just 14 against Rochester College, 16 vs. Ohio and 19 at Indiana.
"We've done a pretty good job since we put an emphasis on it," Kampe said.

- The Spartans could challenge Oakland's transition defense, which struggled mightily early in the season. Michigan State is averaging 83.2 points per game, 19.1 of those coming in transition. Coach Tom Izzo said at Media Day "We should be a team that can run, run, run and run." 

- The Spartans hold an 11-0 all-time lead in the series, leading 2-0 at The Palace. The Golden Grizzlies are 2-4 all-time at The Palace, with wins over Oregon in 2007 and Wright State. Michigan State is 12-2 all-time at The Palace.
The teams met for five consecutive seasons from 2006-07 to 2010-11, taking a one-year hiatus before resuming the series last season in East Lansing. 

- The Hoosiers had 13 offensive rebounds Tuesday and were the first Oakland opponent to grab more than 50 rebounds since 2007. The Grizzlies are surrendering 8.3 offensive rebounds and 11 second-chance points per game.

- The Spartans lead the nation with 20.8 assists per game and just 10.8 turnovers. 

- This season Oakland is getting the free-throw line an average of 28 times per game in its two victories, over Ohio and Rochester College, but just 18 times in its eight losses.

- In case you missed it: Travis Bader's 62-game 3-point streak ended at Assembly Hall, where he went 0 for 10 from long range. He is still just 60 3s from setting a new NCAA record and ranks second in the country with 40 3s.

- The Golden Grizzlies have a program-best six home games in the month of December.
 
- While the game is a "home" game for Oakland, the Golden Grizzlies haven't played at their home-away-from-home in three years, while Michigan State and Michigan kicked off their 2013 NCAA tournament runs at The Palace.

- In their last meeting at The Palace, then-No. 7 Michigan State held on for a one-point victory over host Oakland. The Spartans led by six points with 11 seconds to play before the Grizzlies' Reggie Hamilton hit two 3-pointers around a Spartans free throw.
Oakland famously went on to beat new No. 7 Tennessee days later in Knoxville, Tenn., in a program-defining victory. 

- The Spartans will receive a holiday bonus of sorts for Saturday's game, with an expected payout of $125,000, while Oakland will collect an expected $25,000 plus ticket-sales incentives. Oakland will receive a $12,500 bonus for selling 10,000 tickets and another $12,500 if 15,000 or more tickets are sold. Attendance for the last meeting with MSU at The Palace was 17,115, although Saturday's stormy weather could affect day-of ticket sales.
This is the first in a five-year series between the schools, with each of Oakland's home games to be played at The Palace.

- Oakland has started the season 2-8 just two other seasons: 1999-2000 and 2004-05. During the latter, the Golden Grizzlies made their second NCAA tournament appearance. 

- Emmy-nominated "Oakland Basketball All-Access" will return to Fox Sports Detroit at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 21. Oakland hosts Eastern Michigan at the O'rena at 1 p.m. on Horizon League Network.

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