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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

FINALLY, Oakland Finds Success.

Man is Oakland on a roll. Not the A's, they haven't won anything important since 1989, and you can thank Mother Nature for putting the hurt on Candlestick Park, in that instance. No, this is the Oakland Golden Grizzlies division 1 basketball team, who tonight won the play-in game to make it to the final 64. Granted, they will be playing against the #1 seeded, and probably most talented team in the field of 64, UNC tarheels. But who cares, let's just give the Grizzlies some love, just for one night.

You just have to love these guys. 13-18 is their current record. Yes, 18 losses, not exactly your typical tourney team. But let's look at their schedule for a minute. Oakland lost their first 7 games which looked like this:

11/19 at Xavier L 69-58
11/24 at #4 Illinois L 85-54
11/27 Marquette L 95-87
12/01 at Texas A&M L 81-63
12/04 at Missouri L 70-61
12/06 at Kansas St L 76-69
12/15 at Saint Louis L 69-59

Granted, Illinois is the only current NCAA team on that list, but look at the others, they were no patty cakes, and 6 out of 7 of those games were on the road. Talk about baptism by fire. Give the Oakland AD a little credit, as well as their curly haired coach Greg Kampe, because one thing this road schedule did was made them tough and experienced. Just ask the son of the #1 winning college coach to never win a national championship, Oral Roberts Coach Scott Sutton. ORU had a great season, won their regular season conference, and finished 25-6. BUT, when it came to crunch time, Oakland defeated them in the conference tournament championship. Thanks for playing Oral Bobs.

Tonight, Oakland proved to the world that they deserve that 64th spot in the big dance by defeating Bama A & M, handily. So for all you small schools out there playing in conferences that can only have 1 bid to March Madness; Take a page out of the book of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Go ahead and schedule yourself the toughest schedule possible, because the only thing that matters is the conference tournament. And if you need someone to back up this argument, just ask Scott Sutton.

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