Mike Edwards and Yante Maten return back home with their teammates for a matchup against Oakland.
Michiganders Mike Edwards and Yante Maten are getting their chance to play in front of their families and hometown friends. Edwards is from Westland, Michigan, which is 43 minutes away from Oakland University and Maten is from Pontiac, Michigan, which is 8 minutes away. Aside from playing the role of tour guide for teammates and reuniting with friends and family, there is a basketball game to be played at the O’Rena.
Oakland is playing their third game in four days with the previous two games being played back-to-back against Northeastern and Michigan State. Northeastern swept through Michigan State and Oakland, but Oakland was not as unfortunate taking losses to both. Oakland’s objective is to win the Horizon League Conference Tournament as there is no path to the NCAA Tournament without winning it. The goal for the Golden Grizzlies is to keep improving and optimizing their conference seeding for this single-elimination tournament, which determines whether this is a successful season. Oakland comes into this home game with a 7-3 record, there are media outlets that will print that they had a 9-3 record, but two games (Goshen and at Alaska-Anchorage) do not count as they are not Division I schools. Oakland sports an RPI of 220 and is projected to have an RPI of 110 at the end of the season.
Care to know a bit more about the Oakland roster? Check out the preseason preview as it goes into good detail about the Golden Grizzlies.
There’s no shame in their losses as they did lose to a good Nevada team on a neutral floor, Northeastern beat them at home and they could end up winning the CAA (not if Hofstra has something to say about it) and they played in a foul fest against Michigan State. Did Oakland look tired at Michigan State? Absolutely. They defended with their hands in man-to-man defense and could not stop fouling in rebounding situations.
Oakland will likely play 10 to 11 deep in this game against Georgia. Typically this is a fast paced, offensively oriented team, but they are actually having one of their worst offensive seasons under Greg Kampe. It should be pointed out that Oakland is having one of their BEST defensive seasons under Kampe. This is a bit unusual for Oakland to play this well defensively.
This must be bizarro world or 2016. Last season, Oakland had an adjusted offensive efficiency of 115.2 and an adjusted defensive efficiency of 105.6. Without Kay Felder and with the transfers that came into the program, the defensive intensity has risen, but the offensive success has not materialized.
- Martez Walker is shooting nearly 10% worse from three point range as he did last season. Walker is also shooting far more shots. His offensive output has risen, but his efficiency has not. His defensive efficiency is much improved.
Jalen Hayes and Sherron Dorsey-Walker have both improved year-to-year in terms of efficiency and production. Perhaps they are making up the scoring contributions that were lost after Kahlil Felder jumped early for the NBA. The transition from Felder to Clark at the Point Guard spot has provided three constrasts.
- Clark is a more efficient defender than Felder and it is possible that there was an emphasis on defense during the offseason.
- Clark averages just over a third less assists per game than Felder did, but this Oakland team is not reliant upon one distributor to do all of the work.
- Clark is not being called upon to carry the scoring load like the way Felder seized it.
This team should be more efficient on offense, but they are not.
Oakland is a team that is very good at keeping up a solid assist-to-turnover ratio and their Field Goals are typically coming off assists. Oakland is forcing opponent turnovers at a solid rate and disrupting opponents on offense.
Oakland is not a strong three point shooting team, but they can score inside the perimeter rather well. They get their best work done at the Free Throw Line. Why is Oakland so strong inside the perimeter? They shoot 42% of their shots inside the restricted arc and 19.8% of their shots between 4 and 20 feet from the basket. Oakland is not heavy on the dribble drive, 62.1% of made baskets in the restricted arc are off assists, which is second in the country. Low post feeds, cutting to the basket and transition buckets off a pass are making it happen. Oakland loves to play at a fast pace offensively, 31.2% of their shots are taken in transition (9th in the country). There is not much of a difference between their transition and half court offenses when it comes to offensive efficiency.
Defensively, they do a good job dissuading three point shots and hold opponents to a low two point shooting rate. However, their opponents get too many second chance opportunities. They also allow opponents to get 37% of their shots off inside the restricted arc and have been grateful that their opponents have not done a good job executing in this area. Oakland’s defense allows opponents to get into transition quite a bit, 23.5% of shots, but opponents are just shooting at a bad rate against the Golden Grizzlies.
This is a below average to average rebounding team and the reason why their defensive rebounds per game figure is high has a lot to do with their pace of play. The real metrics to examine are their offensive and defensive rebounding win rates, which are not very impressive. They are effective at forcing turnovers and will commit more turnovers per game than an average team because of they play more possessions per game. On a turnovers per play basis, they are actually as average as it gets in the country.
What can Georgia do to win at Oakland?
- Wear them out. Oakland played back-to-back games against Northeastern and Michigan State. Georgia is much more rested. Oakland lets opponents score in transition and Georgia is capable of beating this Oakland team down the floor consistently. In the half court, make Oakland run around and get through cross screens when they go man-to-man.
- Slow them down. Don’t let Oakland just run up and set up a drive and kick or any sort of a quick hitter. Don’t make Oakland work for a shot, but better yet limit their time of possession to force them to take a quick shot on Georgia’s terms rather than on Oakland’s terms. When Georgia makes a basket, there should be a 3/4 court trap (this is in Fox’s playbook – he’s done this before) waiting to slow down Stevie Clark. The objective is to make Oakland take 20+ seconds of the shot clock before putting up a jump shot in two point range.
- Only take threes off a dribble drive kick out. Georgia is so cold from three point range this season that these are the only shots are falling. The stop-and-pop, perimeter swing passes, perimeter passes and hesitating before taking a shot are certainly not working. This team should not be taking more than 12 threes per game, but yet has.
- Crash the glass with the same intensity as the end of the George Washington game. Georgia has more size than Oakland and can win the glass and second chance scoring with ease by blitzing the glass in the same fashion. Oakland is more likely to commit the fouls on the rebounding situations than Georgia. Be aggressive here.
- Exploit Stevie Clark’s lack of length in zone defense. Stevie Clark is 5’11” 180 pounds and in a 2-3 Zone, he does not have the appropriate length toward the perimeter of the zone to dissuade passes into the man on the High Post, which could be anyone from Derek Ogbeide to E’Torrion Wilridge. From the high post against zone, just attack off the dribble and look for a baseline cutter as an option. Make the zone cheat to make up for the shortcomings.
- Get Jalen Hayes into foul trouble early. Taking Jalen Hayes out of the game early puts Oakland in a precarious position on the glass and forces the Oakland bench to step up. Georgia has more talent than Oakland does on the bench, try to exploit this.
This is a game that will be about Mike Edwards rather than Derek Ogbeide. Edwards is going to have an inspired game much like he did last season producing 14 points and 6 rebounds against the Golden Grizzlies. Edwards is going to have a big game tonight from both posts and he will have rim run dunk opportunities. Georgia’s defense was not particularly impressive at Georgia Tech, but in this game, Georgia’s defense will actually play very well and stifle the Oakland offense. Fox is going to treat Oakland with a bit of blend of his approach against Gardner-Webb and Georgia Tech.
Both teams will mix up their defenses. Kampe may end up going zone for almost the entire game and this Georgia team will play more disciplined than they did against Georgia Tech. Georgia may commit more offensive fouls than usual, but it is the cost of playing aggressively on offense.
It will indeed be Yante Maten and Mike Edwards’ night. There will be no Airing of the Grievances tonight, but there will be a Feats of Strength!
Prediction: Georgia 70 Oakland 56