To those who don't know, Oakland University is located in Rochester, Michigan. They play in the Summitt conference, far from a powerhouse. Head coach Greg Kampe has been there for what seems like forever, but I give hm credit. He takes on anyone anywhere. This week they had two tough losses against Illinois and Michigan State. Last season they looked like they were going to give Pittsburgh a game in the NCAA tournament until forward Derrick Nelson was knocked out of the game.

After the loss to Michigan State yesterday, Kampe said that he felt sick and was upset with the loss. I can't blame him. You want to win every time you take the court. The Golden Grizzlies gave the Spartans all they could handle yesterday. Kampe shouldn't feel satisfied, but he shouldn't be angry either. He knows he has a team that is close to knocking off one of the titans in college basketball. I think they're close too.

The Golden Grizzlies have been to the NCAA's twice and narrowly missed a third trip. They play a heavyweight non-conference schedule and not afraid to take on anyone. Home or away. They don't get the pick of the litter when it comes to recruiting, but they do get players that can actually play. They're not some cutesy small school darling. The players feel like they can play with anyone, if given the chance. This year they have an NBA prospect in 6-11 center Keith Benson. A few years back, former Golden Grizzlie, Rawle Marshall had a cup of coffee in the league. Larry Wright and Reggie Hamilton have been solid so far. So they get some players.

Kampe has done a good job since they've been in Division I. They're not that far away from being able to compete against the big boys without getting blown out. They proved that against a good Illinois team and a Michigan State team many have picked to go to the Final Four. The key to me is that they are a consistent threat in their league. That's where the tough schedule kicks in. They know they can play against big time opponents. I like what Kampe has done at Oakland U. Not to knock Eastern Michigan and Detroit, but this is what they should've become. A team not afraid to play anyone, feels they can compete with anyone, and being close to dominant in their league.

By Chris Edwards


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