Bowling Green (16-15) at Oakland (17-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 14, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics Center O'rena (4,005) -- Rochester, Michigan. Television: None. CIT Record: Bowling Green 0-0, Oakland 2-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.
GAME NOTES: After reaching the semifinals in 2009, the Oakland Grizzlies make their return to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament tonight when they host the Bowling Green Falcons in the first round at the O'rena in Rochester, Michigan.
Bowling Green (16-15) is one of the most improved teams in the Mid-American Conference, as it has exceeded its overall win total from each of the past two seasons. The Falcons' 9-7 conference record was their best since 2008-09 when they won the MAC regular season with 11 wins. BGSU stumbled a bit at the end of the season, losing its finale to Buffalo, as well as its first-round MAC Tournament game to Central Michigan.
Oakland was streaky en route to its 17-15 overall record, as it experienced both a six-game win streak and a six-game losing streak in its first 18 games. The Grizzlies won five of their last six to set their Summit League record at 11-7, though they lost their conference tournament quarterfinal-round matchup to Southern Utah, 84-82.
In six all-time meetings between these two teams, the series is tied 3-3, with the Grizzlies claiming a 90-80 victory on Dec. 1, 2007 at the O'rena. Oakland head coach Greg Kampe is a 1978 Bowling Green graduate, earning Academic All- MAC First Team honors in both football and basketball.
Bowling Green has posted modest numbers in terms of scoring offense (66.3 ppg), though its efficiency was ranked near the top of the MAC, ranking third in field goal percentage (.458) and fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.347). The Falcons have a balanced attack on offense, making it difficult for a defense to key on any one player. A'uston Calhoun leads the squad in scoring with 13.5 ppg on an impressive 48.1 percent shooting from the floor, while Scott Thomas isn't far behind with 12.3 ppg. Thomas is perhaps the Falcons' most diverse player, adding a team-high 6.5 rpg, 1.9 three-pointers per game, 3.1 apg, and a MAC-leading 2.4 spg. Jordon Crawford is the team's floor general, tallying 11.0 ppg and 4.8 apg, while Dee Brown chips in with 10.9 ppg. BGSU has also played stout defense this season, allowing just 63.2 ppg.
The Grizzlies have the good fortune of having the nation's top scorer on the roster in the form of senior guard Reggie Hamilton (25.7 ppg), and he currently has a streak of seven consecutive 30-point games. Hamilton has drained 104 three-pointers this year at a fantastic rate of 41.8 percent, and he also leads the team in assists (5.1 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). He isn't Oakland's only competent scorer however, as Travis Bader takes advantage of the double teams Hamilton sees by scoring 15.8 ppg, and he is the only player in the Summit League to connect on more three-pointers than his teammate (110). OU also gets solid forward play, as Drew Valentine (11.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Corey Petros (8.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg) relieve some of the pressure placed on the backcourt. Not surprisingly, the Grizzlies have one of the most potent offenses in the nation (79.6 ppg), although the great shooting is oftentimes offset by truly terrible defensive play (78.5 ppg).
Bowling Green's objective will surely be to slow down Hamilton, and if it does so it will have a very good shot at winning. That said, the way he and his Oakland teammates have been putting up points lately doesn't bode well for a Falcon squad that lacks firepower.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 82, Bowling Green 76
03/14 10:34:00 ET