COACH: Greg Kampe, 26 years at Oakland, two years in NCAA Tournament
HOW THEY GOT IN: Automatic bid (Summit League)
MATCHUP BREAKDOWN: The Golden Grizzlies' offense will be challenged right away in the NCAA Tournament by a Pittsburgh team that led the Big East in scoring defense. Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon all average more than 10 points a game, though all except Brown do all of their damage on the perimeter, giving Pitt the kind of balance that made Oakland the dominant team in the Summit League this season. Gary McGhee has been coming on strong in the middle, and will challenge Grizzlies' big man Keith Benson in the paint. Pitt does sometimes struggle on offense, however, and doesn't find it as easy to score as it did a year ago, particularly on the inside.
GO-TO GUYS: Oakland has four players that average double figures in the scoring column, led by Keith Benson at 17 points per game. Derick Nelson, who missed last season because of injury when Oakland arguably had a better overall team, was ridiculously hot at the Summit Conference tournament, scoring 36 points in the championship game against IUPUI. Johnathon Jones is dangerous with the ball, because he both leads the team in assists and can fill up the nets himself. And late in games the player to avoid is Larry Wright, who is shooting 92.4 percent from the free throw line and had a streak of 44 makes in a row finally come to an end in the conference tournament title game.
THEY'LL KEEP WINNING IF: They take a lead late into games. Oakland shoots 72 percent from the line as a team, but that's skewed downward by Nelson's struggles there. Wright and Jones are both excellent free throw shooters, and tend to have the ball down the stretch for that reason. Wright had a streak of 44 consecutive free throws late in the season, and Jones previously had a 43-attempt streak of his own.
STRENGTHS: Oakland is 22-0 this season when leading at halftime, in part because of its free throw shooting and in part because it is a veteran team that knows how to play. Benson averages a double-double with 17 points and 10.5 rebounds, and also blocks more than three shots per game. The Golden Grizzlies attack the offensive glass and average nearly 14 offensive rebounds per game.
WEAKNESSES: The Golden Grizzlies turn the ball over close to 14 times per game, and sometimes play out of control. The team hasn't fared well against the better teams on its schedule, losing by 16 to Wisconsin, 30 to Kansas, 31 to Memphis and Michigan State, and 32 to Syracuse.