Losing season had its moments

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Losing season had its moments

By Jake Alsko

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The Golden Grizzlies played their last game of the season in a loss to Wright State on Friday, March 7 in the Oakland University men’s basketball team’s debut Horizon League season.

The 2013-14 season marked OU’s (13-20, 7-9 Horizon) first back-to-back losing seasons since 2006. 

”I’m so impressed with the talent and level of play in the league,“ OU head coach Greg Kampe said.

Growing pains were expected this year since it’s customary for teams moving into more prestigious conferences to struggle initially.

But because the program is accustomed to winning and the taste of that success, another losing campaign stings.

“We didn’t get to where we wanted to be, the NCAA tournament,” Kampe said. 

In just 2011, a 13 seed Oakland was narrowly defeated in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament to 4 seed Texas, 85-81.

Once you make it to the tournament, that becomes the standard for a collegiate basketball program. 

Excuses about entering a new conference and not having every player available can be made, but fans shouldn’t have to hear or make excuses.

Fans have grown to view Oakland as a potential tournament-bound program, and if the team continues to fall short of this expectation, the overall perception might change.

But for a year in which the Grizzlies failed fans’ tournament expectations, OU surely  satisfied the school’s desire for exciting, classic basketball games.

Over the course of the season, Team 47 appeared to be out of plenty of games, and yet, continued to battle, regardless of how the outcome shaked out.

These Grizzlies gave fans one of the best individual legacies this school has ever seen in Travis Bader.  It gave fans buzzer-beaters, one-point instant-classic victories, record-breaking performances and two wins over renewed rival Detroit Mercy.

But most importantly, men’s basketball gave its fans reason to be along for the ride, as bumpy as it may be.

Good or bad, the 2013-14 Golden Grizzlies were exciting.

Any good program knows it can’t continue to  produce sub-.500 seasons and expect enthusiatic support, but playing a wealth of classic games is a pretty good way to stay afloat while the wins and losses sort themselves out. 

Sure, come the start of the 2014-15 men’s basketball season, wins will again be expected, but Team 47’s uncanny knack for fantastic finishes  makes the expectations for Team 48 seem much more attainable than a 13-20 record normally suggests.