Friday, November 26, 2010

Game Preview: Oakland vs. Austin Peay

Game 6: Oakland (2-3) vs Austin Peay (3-3)
Saturday, November 27, 2010 | 3:30pm
Watch: ($4.95) | Radio: WDFM-AM (1130)

Oakland continues its weekend in Chicago taking part in the Chicago Invitational Tournament. After dispatching Southern by a final score of 105-53 yesterday, the Golden Grizzlies will take on the other winner in their bracket, the Austin Peay Governors. APSU skated by Charleston Southern in the first round and has a history of being a solid mid-major program so the Governors should be a more formidable opponent. Oakland will try to leave Chicago with a 3-3 record heading into next week's conference match-ups.

More On The Opponent
Given the holiday, the quick turn-around between games, and the fact that there just aren't too many storylines between these two schools, we're nixing our typical game preview format in favor of a quicker look at the opponent. Austin Peay plays in the Ohio Valley Conference which has made some noise in recent years due largely to two other schools, Morehead State and Murray State. The former has a big man named Kenneth Faried who has been one of the nation's most productive rebounders since his sophomore season, and this year his name has come up a lot alongside Keith Benson's as two of the nation's best big man playing for mid-majors. Murray State had a breakthrough win in the NCAA Tournament last year and returns a solid squad. As a result of the successes of the two MSUs, Austin Peay hasn't been able to break through the OVC's upper echelon despite finishing at 11-7 and 13-5 in conference play the last two seasons. The Governors have been more or less solid over the past decade, never dropping below .500 in the OVC, no doubt due to the steady coaching of Dave Loos, who has been a staple at APSU.

Southern Player To Watch: Tyshwan Edmonson
One of the big question marks for Austin Peay heading into this season was how the team would replace the scoring of Wes Channels, a guard who averaged just shy of 17 points per game on his way to conference first-team honors. Tyshwan Edmonson, who played one year at Saint John's before spending a year at a junior college, has come in and done his best to fill that void. Through six games, the junior is averaging almost exactly as many points as Channels did while picking up 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. To say that this guy has had a breakout non-conference season would be an understatement. He has more or less replaced the production of his team's best player last season, and he's doing it while shooting 50% from the field on the season. Edmonson looks like he'll be a tough match-up for the Golden Grizzlies on both ends of the floor.

Oakland Player To Watch: Ledrick Eackles
Ledrick Eackles got the start against Southern and proceeded to go 1 for 8 from the field, including 0 for 6 from downtown. Why Eackles is hoisting up so many threes is beyond my comprehension, as I've always liked him getting his points by driving to the basket for a high-percentage shot (and considering he was a 25% 3-point shooter last season). His best game was against Ohio, where he was able to attempt nine free-throws while limiting his threes and being active on the glass and defensive end. His percentages have been terrible since then, so we think the onus is on Ledrick to come out and have a solid performance against the Governors today.

Oakland is 2-0 against the Ohio Valley Conference in the last three seasons. They have played and beat Southeast Missouri State and Tennessee Tech in each of the last two years, winning by 18 and 21, respectively. Austin Peay is 0-2 against The Summit League in the same span having lost to both IUPUI and Oral Roberts in 2009-10.

The Extra Pass
Over the summer the Gameplan did a feature on the various team logos in the Summit League in a series called the Summit League Logo Battle. Even though it was meant both as a way to do something creative and fill space during the summer months, part of us had a desire to keep it up for teams outside of the Summit League. If that were to ever happen, you can be sure that Austin Peay would be featured because of how closely the program's logo parallels that of the Associated Press, as illustrated here:

There are some interpretations of the Austin Peay logo that contain a red even closer to that of the Associated Press shade of red. Even so, seeing them side-by-side is spooky.

As always, if you're interested in getting in on the conversation with other Oakland fans before, during, and after the game, we highly suggest checking out the Golden Grizzly Hoops forum: Game Thread. Paul Kampe of The Oakland Press will also be doing a live chat during the game at the Grizz Den.

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