Blogs > Pemberton's Point

Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Oakland-North Dakota St. preview

The opponent — North Dakota State enters Friday’s game 8-4 and 3-0 in Summit League player after a 67-60 win at IPFW on Wednesday. The Bison are considered one of the league favorites in their first year of postseason eligibility and have been picked by several publications to win the league.

NDSU is a very strong offensive team and is averaging 84.9 points per game, shooting 49.5 percent from the field, including 42 percent from 3-point range and have four starters averaging at least 9.5 points per game.

Summit League preseason Player of the Year Ben Woodside is living up to his preseason billing. The senior point guard is averaging 24.3 points, 7.6 assists. 1.5 steals, 1.9 3-pointers and is getting to the free-throw line an average of 9.5 times a game, where he shoots 83.3 percent.

Senior Brett Winkelman, a preseason first-team all-league selection, is averaging 18.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and is shooting over 50 percent from the field. Senior Mike Nelson is averaging 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 3-pointers and is shooting 49.5 percent on his 3-point attempts.

Michael Tveidt (9.5 points) and Lucas Moormann (4.5 points and 3.4 rebound) round out the starting lineup.

Key matchup — Oakland’s Johnathon Jones vs. NDSU’s Ben Woodside. Not only is Woodside one of the leading scorers in the nation, but he is also among the nation’s leaders in assists. Containing him will be a huge priority for the Grizzlies. Jones was able to contain Woodside in two Oakland wins over the Bison last season and if he could do it again this season it would be a huge boost for Oakland. Jones also scored 21 points in both games against NDSU last season so if he can make Woodside work on defense it may slow down his offense.

Matchup history — Oakland is 3-0 all-time against the Bison, winning both meetings last season. The Grizzlies won 73-71 at NDSU on Jan. 5, 2008 behind 21 points and four assists from Jones and then won 77-74 at home on Jan. 31 behind 21 points and eight assists from Jones. Mike Nelson led the Bison with 25 points last season at the O’Rena.

The skinny — It’s an early league game, but in the long-run could prove to be a crucial one. Both teams are among the favorites to win the league and could use a win in the first head-to-head matchup. The Grizzlies would like to protect their homecourt, where they are 3-0 so far this season.

A big concern for Oakland is limiting the Bison’s open 3-point looks. The Grizzlies allowed 15 3-pointers in a win over South Dakota State Wednesday. The Jacks' 3-point shooting kept them in the game. NDSU is a much better 3-point shooting team than the Jacks, averaging over seven a game and shooting 42 percent as a team.

The Grizzlies should have an advantage inside with Keith Benson continuing his spectacular play as of late. Oakland should look to get him involved early.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home