Saturday, December 21, 2013

RMU at Oakland preview

Robert Morris (5-7) at Oakland University (3-10)
When: Sunday, December 22nd at 1 p.m.
Where: Athletics Center O’rena, Rochester, Michigan
KenPom: RMU 188, Oakland 147
Storyline: RMU kicks of a tough five game road trip at Oakland.

Getting to know the Golden Grizzlies
Don’t be fooled by Oakland’s poor record, the Golden Grizzlies have played one of the tougher schedules in the country. Oakland has losses to #5 Michigan State, #12 North Carolina, #15 Gonzaga, #24 UCLA, Indiana, and California among others. It’s tough to string together wins against a schedule like that.

There are a lot of things to like about Oakland. They are a very smart (and good) offensive team. They don’t turn the ball over and force a lot of turnovers on the defensive end that leads to easy points. They also shoot the three ball well and often. This will be another good test for RMU’s 2-3 zone.

Oakland has a pretty short rotation with only seven guys seeing significant minutes. Senior Travis Bader leads the team in scoring at exactly 20 points per game. Bader’s stat line is pretty awesome. His three point and field goal percentage are both at 36 percent. Bader also has 131 shots from three, which is literally more attempts than everyone on the team combined. He also is 56-59 from the charity stripe. Simply put: Bader plays a lot of minutes and takes a lot of shots.

Another guy to keep an eye on is junior big man Corey Petros. Petros is exactly what every mid-major basketball program wants in a center; he rebounds extremely well, is efficient from the floor, and keeps himself out of foul trouble.

Getting better on defense?
Since switching to a base 2-3 zone defense, RMU is giving up an average of 68 points per game. In the previous nine games, teams were averaging just over 80 points per game. Are there a lot of factors that go into that? Sure, but it’s also obvious the zone defense is just better. Rotations have been good and RMU is forcing some bad shots. Oakland will be another good test. You know Bader is going to want to shoot the Colonials out of the zone.

Another roadtrip
RMU will be on the road the next five games, with contests at Oakland, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Sacred Heart, and Bryant. RMU has already played eight games on the road this year, compiling a record of 2-6. RMU went 0-4 on their previous roadtrip.

This is going to be a tough one for RMU. Like we stated above, don’t be fooled by the Golden Bears record, they’ve played an extremely tough schedule. Oakland is also coming off a tough overtime loss to Eastern Michigan Saturday, so it’ll be interesting to see how fresh the legs are on day two of back-to-backs. RMU is going to have to be extremely disciplined in the zone again and pay extra attention to Bader. RMU will also have to rebound better too, but outside of Petro’s that shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll see.

--Chris Cappella

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