Time for the game we’ve been waiting for

Finally today is the first match up in the Horizon League between Oakland University and Detroit-Mercy, at Calihan Hall.  Now with Curtis going to Detroit-Mercy and myself Oakland, this makes for a very interesting debate for our site.  But we aren’t going to completely let our personal rooting interests get in the way of previewing this game… well not completely.

Oakland University Golden Grizzlies

The Golden Grizzlies have an unimpressive 6-12 record and a 1-2 mark currently in the Horizon League.  What that record doesn’t tell you is level of competition Oakland has faced so far.  The season started with North Carolina, UCLA, California and Gonzaga.  Oh and all on the road.  Add to that a trip to Indiana and a near victory in a neutral site “home” game with Michigan State.

Greg Kampe continues to put together one of the most impressive schedules in all of college basketball to prepare his team for conference and post-season play.  Oakland isn’t intimidated by any arena they play in and heading to Calihan Hall will be no different.

As for the keys to a Golden Grizzly win, I think that success will start with Travis Bader.  He was held without a field goal in the Grizzlies last game for the first time since February 17.  2011.

The Grizzlies will also have to take advantage of the biggest strength the team has over any Horizon League opponent, speed.  Oakland averaged over 71 possessions per game last year, which would be tops in the Horizon League last season.  Second on that list would be Detroit, but with the loss of point guard Ray McCallum Jr. the Titans should be more deliberate and slower paced this season.

Finally the Grizzlies will need to distribute the ball well and take care of those possessions.  Duke Mondy averages nearly five assists per game while Kahlil Fielder averages five a game as well.  Oakland will need these two to be smart with the ball in their hands and not give the Titans too many turnover chances to counter-attack.

Personally, I think that the Grizzlies will come into Calihan Hall and defeat the Titans 65-61, but that’s just me.  Curtis, what do you think?

University of Detroit-Mercy Titans

The Titans are 8-9 on the season and 1-1 in conference play so far. They won at home against Wright State by 5 and then lost at Cleveland State by 10. They played well defensively in the Wright State game but not so well in the Cleveland State game. For Detroit Mercy, who was predicted to finish last in conference, this is a huge game. I feel they have a lot to prove and should come out emotionally charged. If they win, they will move to 2-1 in Horizon League play. Both teams will be fired up for this game.

Keys: Stopping Bader: Obviously, that is the most important thing defensively. He is a sharp-shooter who can turn it up at any point. When he is on, he is one of the best shooters in the country. UDM’s main focus will be him.

Juwan Howard Jr.: He will ultimately have to make big shots down the stretch if they want to win this game. Simple as that.

Point guard play: I think whoever has more assist in the game will win. These two teams have many catch and shoot players. Bader and Anton Wilson for Detroit will play huge factors in the game tonight.

Prediction: Oakland 76, Detroit 80.

So surprise, surprise we have differing opinions on the outcome of the game.  What do you think basketball fans, will it be the Titans or the Golden Grizzlies coming out on top?  Let us know at DetroitSportsBloggers.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

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