Friday, December 26, 2008

Oakland Preview

Tomorrow the Spartans head to the Palace to take on the Oakland Grizzlies.

Key Wins: At Oregon (82-79 in OT)
Key Losses: At Syracuse (86-66)
At Iowa (66-57)
At Kansas State (83-64)
Michigan (89-76) *at the Palace

What they do well: I won't pretend that I have seen Oakland play even one minute on television this year, but historically they have been a very offensive minded team. This comes from the their fearless leader, Coach Greg Kampe. My favorite quote of his is "We will win by scoring more points than every team we play." That makes sense to me. According to Ken Pomeroy's rankings, nationally they are 79th in offensive efficiency. Their team is composed mainly of players from the state of Michigan, led by gaurd Erik Kangas (17ppg).

What they don't do well: Traditionally, it has been playing defense. So far this year, their opponents are shooting 42% from inside the arc and 34% from three against them. They have been outrebounded by their opponents this year also. Their leading defensive player is Keith Benson from Detroit Country Day. The 6-11 RS sophomore is both their best rebounder and shot blocker. He probably has the best overall game on their roster.

Why Oakland might win:
1. The game is at the Palace
2. They played us well last year. Suton single-handedly saved us from an embarassing defeat.
3. They have beaten ranked teams at the Palace before (No. 21 Oregon last year).

Why Oakland won't win:
1. Lack of athleticism.
2. Poor rebounding.

Side Note:
College basketball needs to get rid of non-conference neutral site games. I hate playing teams in large arenas so far away from campus, especially when we are playing scrubs. Sure, the schools make a lot of money from ticket, beverage, and food sales, but the atmosphere does not compare to being on campus. It is a disgrace to see a school like Michigan State play a national power like North Carolina in front of a half-empty Ford Field. The same was seen in Houston versus Texas. This is not exclusive to MSU basketball either. Last week the Purdue/Davidson and Louisville/Miss State games were in large arenas with even less people there.

Relevant MSU Basketball Story:
Click here to read a Flint Journal story about Mateen, Mo Pete, and Robaire Smith giving back to Flint for Christmas. It's good to see Cleaves featured in the article as he goes back to Flint regularly and makes significant contributions to the community. While his professional career hasn't turned out the way he thought it would have, he still remembers where he came from. Many of Flint's star athletes do not and it's a shame. I've never heard of Glen Rice donating anything to Flint.

Tomorrow: My prediction for the game.

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