Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

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Re: Titans Winter Blast (January 19 game v. Oakland)

Postby Commissioner » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:55 am

Oakland

When Saturday, January 19, 2:00 p.m.
Where Calihan Hall
TV: ESPN+
Radio: AM 910 Superstation

The Titans end their five game home stand by taking on Metro Series rival Oakland on Saturday. The Titans need a win in the series, which they trail by an embarrassing 8-2 since it was renewed in 2014. The game also has important conference ramifications. A win will assure the Titans a continued share of first place, and leaves them two games up on Oakland in the league standings, and at least that much on everyone else in the league except for Northern Kentucky. And with 7 of the next 9 games on the road, the Titans need to close out this home stand successfully. For their part, Oakland can grab a share of first place with a win and an NKU loss on Saturday, but a loss drops them back into the heap.

Oakland is in rebuilding mode after several good but somewhat underachieving seasons. The Grizzlies lost their top 5 scorers and rebounders from last season, and returned less than 17% of their total minutes. But Kampe has rebuilt quickly around redshirts, transfers, and a very good freshman guard, to get OU off to a 4-2 conference mark after struggling through non-conference play. Those conference wins include an upset of favorite Northern Kentucky, which hammered our Titans just two days later.

The Grizzlies' 7-player core rotation consists of 2 freshmen, 4 guys who redshirted last year (due to injuries, transferring, or in one case, for the heck of it), and a sophomore who missed about half of his freshman year with injuries. So they are almost as much of a pick-up team as our Titans.

The big surprise is freshman point guard Braden Norris, out of suburban Columbus. No one doubted that Norris was a good recruit, but he was expected to back up veteran Brailen Neely for at least a year. Instead, Norris forced Neely out of the lineup and right out of the program. Norris is first in the conference—indeed first in the country—in 3 point shooting percentage, giving OU an offensive dimension that Neely simply did not have. He’s also second in the conference in assists and first in assist/turnover ratio. Kampe’s offense always runs through the point guard, and but for the guy who is second in the nation in scoring, Norris would be looking like the conference freshman of the year. OU started the season 0-3 but is 8-8 since Norris displaced Neely, with four of the losses being to UNLV, Xavier, Georgia, and Michigan State, all on the road.

The shooting guard is junior Jaevin Cumberland, an injury red shirt last year. Cumberland didn’t do much as a freshman or soph, nor last year before his early injury. But he’s blossomed this year in a way that has totally surprised me. He’s averaging over 17 points per game and is second in the conference to Neely in three point shooting percentage. He’s working on a string of 11 consecutive games scoring in double figures.

But Cumberland is only the #2 scorer on the team. First is junior Xavier Hill-Maas, who was red-shirted last year in part because OU didn’t think they would need him. Hill-Maas showed flashes his first two years, but nothing extraordinary. As a soph in 2017 he averaged 5 points and 3 rebounds in 14 minutes per game. But this year he had 30 points and 9 rebounds in OU’s opener, and has scarcely looked back. He’s second in the conference in scoring at almost 21 points per game. At 6-7, 248 lbs., he’s a bully in the paint, but he can also step out and shoot the three, hitting 36% this year in about 4 attempts per game. That was a talent that never showed his first two seasons, when he took a combined total of 6 shots from outside the arc, making 1.

The final two spots in Kampe’s lineup have been in flux. But lately, one has gone to freshman Tray Maddox, a 6-4 freshman. Maddox was under-recruited in high school, as there was a widespread assumption he’d opt for football, where he was an all-state selection. Kampe stayed after him, and Maddox decided basketball was a better option. Maddox has been inconsistent this year but he’s very athletic and could pop a big game.

The best bet for the 5th spot is probably sophomore James Beck, a big wing who missed about half of last season with injuries. Beck has been inconsistent, but he did have a double-double against Milwaukee last weekend. It’s possible that Kampe will go with someone else, most likely George Mason transfer Kamari Newman, who broke loose for 33 points against Green Bay last Saturday. I think Newman has it in him to be a big time scorer, but he started slow this year. He’s now hit double figures in five straight games, however, including his outburst against the Phoenix.

The bench is short, with Neely’s departure, grad transfer and early season starter Jordan Nobles leaving the program, sophomore Stan Scott—once a hot prospect for the Grizz—exiled to the end of the bench, and 6-10 freshman Babatunde Sowunmi—whom some were predicting for all-Horizon honors this year—clearly nowhere near ready for mid-major play. Basically, what’s left is Newman (or whoever he replaces in the lineup) and 6-11 center Brad Brechting, an injury redshirt last year. For a touch of added depth we may see Scott or freshman guard Kenny Pittman.

The typical Kampe team plays fast, passes well, has three-point shooting, and is an excellent free throw shooting team. This year’s team fits that mold, even though the Grizz are considerably less up-and-down the court than in prior years. That’s in part because Norris is a bit slower than past point guards like Kay Felder, and because Hill-Maas and Brechting give them more of a traditional post-up game than usual (although Corey Petros from a few years back was a pretty good, bulky, in-the-paint center). Norris and Cumberland are 1-2 in the league in three point percentage, Newman is 8th, and Hill-Maas, Maddox, and even Brechting can hit threes. With the size to work the baseline (big games from Brechting and Hill-Maas wouldn’t surprise me if the Titans aren’t ready), guys who pass well, and a lot of three point shooting, OU could wreak havoc on our zone. And as always, they make their free throws. Everyone in the rotation save Beck (59%) shoots well over 70% from the line, with Cumberland and Norris among the league leaders.

But Oakland, despite the size of Hill-Maas, Brechting, and Beck, is not an especially good rebounding team, and their defense has, for the most part, kinda sucked. They’ve held just 2 D-I opponents to under 70 points—James Madison, which scored 69 back in November, and the slo-pokes at Milwaukee, who played their slow tempo and beat OU last Thursday 67-64. They’re allowing almost 80 points per game, and KenPom ranks them a dismal 347th in the country in defensive efficiency. They don’t force many turnovers, and opponents are shooting the lights out against them from three point range. And we have some three point shooters, too.

I think this is likely to be a relatively up-tempo game, with the score likely in the eighties or even nineties, maybe something like 87-79. The Titans should be able to score on Oakland, and so the question may be whether the Titan zone can confound the Grizzlies. A positive sign is that the only team OU has played that plays a lot of zone is Northern Illinois, which beat the Grizzlies by 20 up at the McRena.

We’ve played quite a few common opponents. Like us, OU owns wins over Cleveland State, Youngstown, and Green Bay. They swapped with us against the pre-season faves, beating Northern Kentucky but losing to Wright State. The reason that they trail us by a game in the standings is their loss to Milwaukee. In non-conference play, they lost to Western Michigan, at home, in OT; to Toledo (at home, but by just a point), and at Xavier by 10. So against quite a few common opponents are records are almost identical.

The Metro series easily drew over 6000 for Calihan games the first 4 years, but last year attendance plummeted to just 3257. I’m hopeful we’ll see that number jack back up with the teams fighting for the top of the conference, the presence of Antoine Davis, and the Winter Blast promotion this weekend. And of course there will be a sizeable Oakland contingent. So Titans fans need to get out in force. It would be nice to see the Hall really rocking. I hope some recruiting targets are visiting.

And remember Reggie: “Protect the Hall.” Especially this Saturday.

Probable Starters
PG: #01 Braden Norris, 5-11 Fr. (8.5 ppg, 5.3 apg, 58.0% 3PtFG)
SG: #21 Jaevin Cumberland, 6-3 RS Jr. (17.3 ppg, 3.8 apg, 42.5% 3PtFG)
G: #02 Tray Maddox, 6-4 Fr. (4.6 ppg, 37.5% 3PtFG)
SF: #22 James Beck, 6-7 Soph. (5.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
PF: #14 Xavier Hill-Maas, 6-8 RS Jr. (20.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 36.0% 3PtFG)

Key Reserves
G: Kenny Pittman, 6-3 Fr. (0.9 ppg)
SG: # 10 Kamari Newman, 6-4 RS Soph. (10.5 ppg, 40.8% 3PtFG)
C: #13 Brad Brechting, 6-11 RS Jr. (5.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 36.8% 3PtFG)
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Rogobob77 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:38 pm

Alumni Relations closed registrations for the pregame event with 450 signed-up. Number could creep up with some walkup traffic they probably won’t turn away.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Rogobob77 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:56 pm

DetroitTitan.com game notes for Oakland game:

https://detroittitans.com/news/2019/1/1 ... urday.aspx
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Rogobob77 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:59 pm

GoldenGrizzlies.com preview of Saturday’s matchup:

https://goldengrizzlies.com/news/2019/1 ... valry.aspx
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby R.B.J1 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:06 pm

Rogobob77 wrote:Alumni Relations closed registrations for the pregame event with 450 signed-up. Number could creep up with some walkup traffic they probably won’t turn away.


Thats great news. I really hope the weather forecast is wrong.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby titanmac » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:38 pm

its a winterfest fer chrissakes i don't get it? i do but we need to take a page from taci's anti fragile book. you live in michigan. embrace the snow!
In Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power! Well that basketball court out there tonight, that's our universe. Let's rule it like Titans! (with apologies to coach boon)
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:12 pm

titanmac wrote:its a winterfest fer chrissakes i don't get it? i do but we need to take a page from taci's anti fragile book. you live in michigan. embrace the snow!


+1
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:40 pm

I'll be at the Winter Blast!
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby MotownTitan » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:51 am

No one from Alumni office called me back when I wanted to register.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:06 pm

It’s $25 dollars at the door. Preregistration would have cost $15 or $20. Think of the rest as a donation!
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Titans03 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:47 pm

The roads are bad, unfortunately.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby HoopLove247 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:10 pm

Dont see the game on ESPN+ What channel??
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Commissioner » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:17 pm

HoopLove247 wrote:Dont see the game on ESPN+ What channel??

It's up on ESPN +. Keep looking. Be sure to click "see all" if you don't see it.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Tacitus651 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:21 pm

Nice to see the grizzlies wear their black and white prison issue warmups.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby HoopLove247 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:13 pm

Commissioner wrote:
HoopLove247 wrote:Dont see the game on ESPN+ What channel??

It's up on ESPN +. Keep looking. Be sure to click "see all" if you don't see it.

Thanks
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby The-Dude » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:42 pm

We lost this game, to one of the worst DIV. I teams this year. After the game, Kampe was tearful and said it was the biggest game of his coaching career...
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby ptctitan » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:58 pm

Live by the 3 point shot. Die by the 3 point shot. Antoine and Josh were a combined 1-13 from 3-point land. Not because of particularly good defense. Cold shooting. They make their average. We win the game. That simple.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby Tacitus651 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:04 pm

ptctitan wrote:Live by the 3 point shot. Die by the 3 point shot. Antoine and Josh were a combined 1-13 from 3-point land. Not because of particularly good defense. Cold shooting. They make their average. We win the game. That simple.


Yep. I was going to post the same thing. Tough loss - hopefully the students still come back for more games.

I think 2 home losses takes us out of the running for 1st unless something crazy happens to NKU. The team just needs to keep playing, improving, and get a top 4 finish to give us a chance.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby TitanONeill » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:15 pm

Winter blast was a real nice event. Kudos to the school for putting that on. Hope they keep it for years to come.
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Re: Titans Winter Blast — Oakland game thread

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:26 pm

The 3 Stars of the Game
chosen by Tony Paul ;)

1. Jaevin Cumberland
2. Xavier Hill-Maas
3. Marquis Moore

Unsung Hero
Brad Brechting
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