Men’s basketball releases non-conference schedule

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Men’s baskteball’s non-conference schedule has been released. Photo courtesy of OU Communications.

Matthew Scheidel, Sports Editor

The Oakland University men’s basketball program has announced its non-conference schedule for the 2021-22 season, featuring four matchups against NCAA tournament teams from last season and a multi-team exempt event (MTE). 

The team will start their season Nov. 9 at West Virginia, before traveling to Stillwater, OK to take on Oklahoma State. The two teams met last season as well, ending in a 84-71 victory for the Cowboys.

The Golden Grizzlies first and only true home game in non-conference play will be Nov. 17 against Toledo. Head Coach Greg Kampe said the primary reason for having only one true home game was that the Horizon League increased the number of conference games to 22. 

“With 11 non-league games we would have had at least one, maybe two more home games,” Kampe said. “We would have probably had Eastern Michigan on the schedule and I would have tried to make that at [home] this year, and then we would have had Rochester College or somebody like that.”

Two days following their home opener, the team will travel to Tuscaloosa to play the Alabama Crimson Tide, who advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament a year ago. Kampe said the primary reason they were scheduled is because they were “willing to pay.”

“A lot of schools weren’t willing to pay this year because of COVID,” Kampe said. “Alabama was willing to pay the going rate. A lot of schools this year slashed guaranteed money by 25%. Instead of $90,000 they’re paying $60,000, [for example]. 

The Gulf Coast Showcase takes place Nov. 22-24 in Estero, FL. The Golden Grizzlies open the eight-team tournament against Vermont on Monday, Nov. 22. at 1:30 p.m. 

Kampe said there are “a lot of good mid-major teams” in that tournament. 

“Vermont’s been one of the top mid-major teams in the last five, six years,” Kampe said. They’ve been ranked in the top five to 10 of the college insider mid major poll yearly for probably five years. So that was not a great draw for us to get. Then Evansvlle is in the Missouri Valley, and Rice [is] in Conference USA. We will play the winner or loser of that game.”

On Dec. 7, the Grizzlies will take on Kampe’s alma mater, Bowling Green. He said there “isn’t as much excitement as there was 20 years ago” to play his alma mater.

“It’s still my school that I went to and there’s still a lot of pride in that and there’s still a lot of friends there,” Kampe said. “Right now it’s not that big of a deal because it’s the middle of summer but I’m sure come December it’ll mean a lot more.”

The team will wrap up non-conference play on Dec. 21 against Michigan State at Little Caesars Arena. This is the tenth consecutive year the Golden Grizzlies will match up with Tom Izzo’s squad. 

“Tom and I, our careers have kind of mirrored each other in that we’ve been at one place a long time, we’re [both from Michigan], [and] basketball in the state means a lot for both of us,” Kampe said. “I think that we’re a good game for them because he knows that we’re gonna come after them and do some things and it’s a big game for us and to get a game in like that before they go into league play probably helps them.”

This season will mark Kampe’s 38th as the Head Coach of the Golden Grizzlies.