This is going to be weird.
Tomorrow Purdue opens the home portion of the 2020-21 men’s basketball season. Normally that is like Christmas Day, but it is odd for a number of reasons:
· It is coming on December 1st, about 3 weeks later than normal.
· It will be played at 3pm on a Tuesday for some reason.
· There will be absolutely no fans in attendance.
· We start the year on a “losing streak” at home, which is apparently what happens in those rare times you don’t win in Mackey Arena.
Purdue lost five times last season in Mackey: to Texas, Illinois, Penn State, Michigan, and Rutgers. It lost three of its last four games on Keady Court, beating only Indiana. When we had only lost four games TOTAL in the previous four seasons at Mackey it was shocking to see the greatest home court in the nation of late be cracked. Now, with no fans, the Dungeon of Noise that breaks teams is now lost as a force multiplier. It probably won’t matter against Oakland or Valparaiso, but in February when Michigan State comes to town? That’s when it will matter.
After two strong games to start the year down in Florida we get the glorious tune-up game as Oakland comes to town in search of a paycheck.
Opponent: Oakland Golden Grizzlies
From: Auburn Hills, MI
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Venue: Mackey Arena (14,240)
Odds: Purdue by 24
Time: 3pm ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
Blog Representation: GrizzTalk
2019-20 Record: 14-19, 8-10 Horizon League
2020-21 Record: 0-4
NCAA Tournament History: 3 appearances, last in 2011. 0-3 all-time
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 2-0
Last Purdue win: 82-67 at Purdue on 11/21/2010
Last Oakland win: None
Coach: Greg Kampe (632-478 in 37th year at Oakland)
Purdue and Oakland last met a little over 10 years ago and that ended up being a solid victory for our Boilers. The 2010-11 season saw Purdue earn a 3 seed to the NCAA Tournament even without Robbie Hummel, but Oakland was in the midst of their best stretch in school history. They had gone 26-9 and 17-1 in the Horizon League the year before, losing to Pittsburgh 89-66 in the NCAAs as a 14 seed. During that 2010-11 season they lost by 15 at Purdue, but went 25-10, 17-1 again and put the fear of God into Texas as a 13 seed before losing 85-81.
They also definitely have consistency. Greg Kampe has been their coach for 36 years. Only Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski are active coaches that have been at their schools longer. He is the only coach Oakland has had since moving up to Division I for the 1999-2000 season.
So far this year the Golden Grizzlies are off to a rough start. They were invited to a four-team mini bubble at Xavier where they lost to The Musketeers 101-49 last Wednesday, Toledo 80-53 on Thursday, and Bradley 74-60 on Friday. They then turned around and nearly pulled off a shocking upset Sunday at Michigan, losing 81-71 in overtime. While Purdue has not played since Thursday, this will be the fifth game in seven days for Oakland.
This game will be somewhat of a homecoming for their leading scorer in Jalen Moore. He is currently 11th all-time in the Indiana high school annals with 2,440 points at Cloverdale, where he paired with Cooper Neese, who scored 2,496 and graduated a year ahead of him. Moore was a JuCo All-American the last two seasons at Olney Central College before transferring to Oakland. He is currently averaging 15.5 points per game and 4.5 assist running the point for them. He was really good against Michigan with 21 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals in 42 minutes.
Unfortunately for Oakland they do not have a lot else right now. This is going to be a game where Trevion Williams and Zach Edey absolutely feast inside. Daniel Oladapo is their top forward at 6’7” 220 pounds and he is averaging 7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Micah Parrish is their top rebounder at 7 per game to go with 5.5 points and he is a 6’6” 180 pound freshman.
The rest of the numbers are… bad. As a team Oakland is shooting a dismal 28.9% from the floor and 23.8% from three. Hitting the three at least kept Liberty close against us. Oakland is 29 of 122 from long range on the season. They are not afraid to chuck it, they just aren’t good at hitting them. Blake Lampman and Zion Young lead the team in makes and attempts, but are a combined 13 of 60.
Let’s be honest here. Purdue is a 20+ point favorite and any loss would be absolutely disastrous. This is a tune-up game and nothing more. It is a game to work on things, get some experience for the freshmen, sharpen up the passing, win by 20+, play the walk-ons, and write a check. We know Jaden Ivey will be out, but otherwise we can probably expect to see the season debut of Emmanuel Dowuona and the walk-ons. If none of that happens things have gone very. Very wrong.