A why behind the win


Head coach Greg Kampe talks to the team during a timeout in the first half of the game against Wright State. 

Sam Schlenner

In the moments after Oakland’s 89-63 men’s basketball victory against Wright State on Friday, the O’rena was treated to some familiar faces on the big screen. Stu from “The Hangover” piped up on the speakers as three-fourths of the wolf pack drove across the desert:

“We are baaaaaaaaack!”

While the sentiment was most likely shared by those who heard, it still begs the question — How did a Golden Grizzlies team that showed up lukewarm and impotent in home games against Valparaiso and Northern Kentucky just weeks ago arrive Friday ready to kill?

One issue was focus, head coach Greg Kampe said. On the road, they had it. At home, no. So they brought the road game atmosphere home and stayed in a hotel the night before the Wright State game.

“Let’s sequester them,” he said. “Let’s make sure they get up in the morning and have breakfast.”

The tactic even effected the shootaround. On the road, it’s structured. At home, it’s different. But Friday night, they did a structured shootaround.

“Sure enough, it worked,” Kampe said.

He said they’ll be using the hotel tactic for the rest of the home games, and that its true test will be the upcoming matches against Milwaukee and Green Bay on Feb. 11 and 13, respectively.

But the hotel strategy wasn’t just a remedy for mechanical issues like shootarounds and nutrition. It was a mental que, as well. Instead of girlfriends on the mind the night before a home game, it was the team.

Judging by the performance Friday, any number of hotel chains would have had the right mind to offer a sponsorship, if only for what the results of the stay did to fans, who left the slaughter thoroughly vindicated for attending.

Dan Gliot, director of athletic communications for Oakland, phrased it best after Friday’s game as he sat at an empty press desk in an empty O’rena and said “you couldn’t have written a better script” for that night.

But it begs another question:

What script will the Golden Grizzlies write on Monday?

Oakland plays at Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, February 1. You can watch on ESPN3 or listen on WDFN-AM 1130.