After two seasons that fell short of the goal — a Horizon League title — both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have retooled and are reloaded for the 2019-2020 season.
Both teams face off against big-name opponents from power five conferences, before entering conference play in January. As for now, the only schedules released are the non-conference ones. Here are some key match-ups for both the women’s and men’s basketball teams.
The women’s basketball team has four home games against non-Horizon League teams. The first is also their season opener. They will host Bradley University on Friday, Nov. 8 and immediately follow that game up with a Nov. 11 match-up against Concordia College. Last season, the women faced off against Bradley, but lost by nine points.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, fans will get the chance to see the Golden Grizzlies face off against an in-state foe, the Central Michigan Chippewas. Last season, the two teams faced off early in November, and Central Michigan won on their home court, 104-61. This season, the Golden Grizzlies get home court advantage and more games to prepare.
Some key road games for the women’s basketball team include: Michigan State University (MSU), the University of Michigan (U of M) and Florida International University. The Spartans and Golden Grizzlies will face off in the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Last season, the Golden Grizzlies played both U of M and MSU on the home court, but will have to make the trip to the other schools this year.
Similar to the women’s basketball team, the men’s team will have a road-heavy non-conference schedule to start the season, as is typical for Head Coach Greg Kampe. Kampe uses the non-conference schedule to prepare his team for the conference schedule, giving them difficult teams to face off against to build team chemistry and confidence.
This season will be no different, with only three home games that will count toward their final win-loss record. The team will have two exhibition games, however, against Rochester University and Saginaw Valley State University. Those exhibition games will not affect the final record, but will provide fans and coaches a chance to look at all of the new players that will be representing Oakland University this year.
The official home opener for the men’s team will be against Goshen College of Indiana on Tuesday, Nov. 5. After that, the next home game will not be until two weeks later, against Hartford. Last year, the Golden Grizzlies played Hartford on their home court, losing a close game, 82-87. After the rematch against Hartford at home, the team will take a long road trip where they will play multiple teams that they played last season.
Rematches against Northern Illinois University, Syracuse University, University of Toledo and long-time opponent MSU will fill out the road trip, before the month-long drought will end on Dec. 21, where the Golden Grizzlies return home to play Fairfield, a team they beat in a tight match-up, 87-86.
The non-conference schedule for both teams is road-heavy, but for mid-major teams like Oakland, it is more about learning from playing tough competition on the road than dominating small schools at home.