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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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oakland coach Greg Kampe on CIT bid critics: They’re ‘full of crap’

After a second straight year losing in the quarterfinals of the Summit League Tournament, Oakland coach Greg Kampe held his team’s postseason life in his hands, although not the NCAA tournament.
After accepting a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament for the second consecutive season, Kampe said naysayers who felt Oakland and its .500 record were not deserving of a postseason appearance were misguided.   
“When we offered that bid … it was offered with the idea if we don’t make the NCAAs or the NIT ... we were offered before we even played in the league tournament. It had nothing to do with any other team in the league. We were in their final four last year and they think we’re going to be pretty good next year. They’re rewarding us for winning 10 games,” he said.
“Three teams in our league were ranking in the top 25 of mid-majors, our league was considered a really good league, and we beat all three of those teams.
“It’s (College Insider’s) top 25 and we have that record against those teams, we’re going to get to play. Anybody that thinks we didn’t deserve it is full of crap … it was a no-brainer.”
Kampe was weighing the bid against the possibility of suffering a losing season for the first time since 2005-06.
“Seven straight non-losing seasons vs. five postseason appearances,” he said. “For me, it came down to we’re bowl-eligible. The kids deserved to go. I’m the one who put that non-league schedule in front of them. They won double-digit games in the conference for the seventh straight year.
“That was one of the factors in my decision.”
Because of its NCAA tournament hosting obligations at The Palace, there are not enough Oakland staff available to host a game at the O’rena, however.
The second round of the tournament is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday; the quarterfinals are March 26-27; semifinals March 30-31; and the championship game is April 3.
Organizers of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament base matchups on regional proximity. Some of the closer teams to Oakland participating are:
  • Kent State (which Oakland defeated in the 2009 CIT)
  • Evansville (Ind.)
  • Green Bay*
  • Bradley* (which defeated Oakland in the 2009 CIT on a nearly full-court shot)
  • Chicago State*
  • Illinois Chicago*
* — Two of these teams will be eliminated after the first round 

Meeting of the minds fails to yield Oakland-Detroit matchup

Greg Kampe: Media darling
While Oakland and Detroit haven’t met on the basketball court in nearly a decade, their heads of state sat at the same roundtable on Fox 2’s “Sportsworks” Sunday night, one of two late-night appearances made by Oakland coach Greg Kampe that night. He said the summit didn’t involve any talk about adding the other to a future non-conference schedule.
“The subject was not even broached. I had to go on the air with him and (I wanted) a cordial atmosphere,” Kampe joked.
Kampe has noted in the past that Oakland will not resume the long-dormant series until the Titans repay with a visit to the O’rena. He also said previously a game was scheduled for the 2010-11 season but was rescinded when the Titans were found to be shopping the game date on a coaching website. 
Fans like to speculate the next time the two teams meet will be when Oakland joins the Horizon League, which has not been confirmed or announced in any fashion. Kampe said none of that talk took place Sunday.
“We talked before the show a lot about his season and we talked about his son and their matchup.”
Kampe later appeared on WDIV’s “Sports Final Edition,” which was taped at 8:30 p.m. but aired at 11:30 p.m., after the 11 p.m. “Sportsworks” on WJBK.
Detroit meets Arizona State in the first round of the NIT Wednesday. Oakland opens the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Tuesday at Youngstown State. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Reality TV: Oakland looking for its ‘X-Factor’ in Sioux Falls

Dante Williams: X-Factor?
When Oakland won consecutive Summit League tournament titles in 2010 and 2011, contributions from reserves put the Golden Grizzlies over the top. Coach Greg Kampe is again hoping for one of the team’s role players to emerge this weekend in Sioux Falls.
“It’s always somebody in a situation like this,” he said.  “Matt Poches might be the guy that scores eight points when he hasn’t been. That’s how you win. It’s not Travis Bader and Corey Petros and Duke Mondy … if we win all three games, they’re not going to be the three leading scorers. Somebody is going to do something.”
So who exactly could be that guy? Poches? Possibly. The sophomore has had several “firsts” this season, but has only logged 21 minutes in the season’s final three games and earned a DNP twice down the stretch. Kampe has, however, made a point to praise Poches as a team catalyst from time to time.
The more likely “X-Factor” is fellow sophomore Dante Williams, who has infuriated Kampe at times, but has shown down the stretch this season that he may finally be playing similarly to the player Kampe thought he could be.
A player who Kampe says has struggled with his confidence, Williams has been making aggressive and assertive plays, including an authoritative one-handed dunk last week against Fort Wayne.
Earlier in the game, Williams scored Oakland’s first seven points of the regular-season finale against the Mastodons.
After returning from consecutive DNPs in mid-January, Williams has started every game but that initial contest.
Averaging just under 14 minutes per game this season, Williams has maximized his playing time of late. He’s even 9 of 12 from the field in the last four games and averaging 5.6 points per game since returning to action Jan. 19.
In addition to his personal improvements, Oakland is 8-2 since Williams returned to the starting lineup and Duke Mondy went to the bench.
It was well-documented at the team’s media day just what type of an effect the high-stakes pressure of Sioux Falls can have on players, so it will be interesting to see how Oakland’s younger players handle it.