Thursday, November 25, 2010

Game Preview: Oakland vs. Southern

Game 5: Oakland (1-3) vs Southern (1-4)
Friday, November 26, 2010 | 3:30pm
Watch: ($4.95) | Radio: WDFM-AM (1130)

Oakland will be in Chicago (or Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to be exact) over the holiday weekend taking part in the Chicago Invitational, a neutral site tournament featuring eight teams from varying levels of Division I. The big bracket contains teams like Purdue and Wright State, who hosted games against Oakland, while the small bracket showcases Oakland, Southern, Charleston Southern, and Austin Peay. Oakland will play two games at the Sears Center, the first today against the Southern Jaguars. The winner of the game will face the winner of Charleston Southern/Austin Peay tomorrow afternoon. The Golden Grizzlies will look to rebound after a loss on the road at Wright State, while the Jags look to get their first Division I win of the year.

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. Southern plays in the SWAC, which is one of those leagues that seems to have a team in the NCAA Tournament play-in game every year. Southern has played four Division I schools and lost all of them by more than 20 points (including a 23-point loss at Wright State). Their lone win was against NAIA school Auburn Montgomery by two points. The Jaguars also lost by 13 at home to NAIA Tougaloo. Yep, that is right. Essentially, this is a very, very bad team.

Despite the record, Oakland is a very good team, or at least it has the makings of one. Oakland has gone up against teams like Southern in the past and taken care of business. After the loss at Wright State, fans don't just want to see a win over Southern but an absolute drubbing. It's on a neutral court and anything can happen, but Southern's track record thus far would indicate it doesn't matter if the game is on a home, away, or neutral court, the school will still struggle to keep things close.

Southern Player To Watch: Quinton Doggett
Quinton Doggett leads his team in rebounding so far this season, and as one of his team's tallest players at 6'8" it is easy to see why. Southern is the first Oakland opponent we have yet to see play prior to playing the Grizzlies, so we won't pretend to know a lot about his game. Still, Doggett's statistics indicate he is a productive player and will be one of the chief guys who will have to guard Oakland's bigs.

Oakland Player To Watch: Reggie Hamilton
Reggie Hamilton will be playing just a few miles outside of his hometown of Chicago this weekend, so there will be an added incentive for him to perform well. Not that he particularly needs one, considering the way he has played in Oakland's last two games. Hamilton has been shooting quite well from beyond the arc, and his percentages would likely be higher if he had not taken a couple of bad looks during the Wright State game. That said, the Oakland junior has gotten better with each game and has hopefully found his groove within the offense. Hamilton should use this game to work on limiting his turnovers. If he can do that while getting some points and making his teammates better, Oakland's chances of having a letdown performance are small.

Oakland and Southern have never met. Oakland is 2-0 against the SWAC in the last 10 years, including a win over Alabama A&M in the 2005 NCAA Tournament Play-In Game. Southern is 1-4 against Summit League teams in that time period.

The Extra Pass
NBA fans might recognize the last name of a certain Southern Jaguar. Madut Bol is the son of Manute Bol, one of the tallest players to have ever played the game professionally. The senior Bol was a great shot-blocker while in the NBA, and I still look fondly on the trading cards I have of the Sudanese center in those classic Washington Bullets jerseys. Bol was also very involved with various charities and relief efforts in his native Sudan up until he unfortunately passed away earlier this year at just 47 years old. Our condolences go out to Madut, who is back at Southern for his second year, looking to use his 6'9" frame to help the Jaguars out of the cellar of the SWAC. He had his best game against Gonzaga, scoring 12 points in just 19 minutes of play.

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.

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