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

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oakland vs. IPFW capsule

No. 3 Oakland (20-11) vs. No. 6 IPFW (13-16)
Why the Grizzlies will win: Nobody has been able to stop Oakland’s offense as of late with the big three of Johnathon Jones, Erik Kangas and Keith Benson proving to be too much for their opponents, while Will Hudson, Drew Maynard, Dan Waterstradt and Blake Cushingberry have all made huge contributions. The Grizzlies are 10-0 when they score 80 points or more and have averaged 82 points a game during its seven-game win streak. If Oakland’s offense is on, then there are not many teams that can keep up.

Why the Mastodons will win: IPFW’s offense is capable of keeping with Oakland and has averaged 80 points a game against the Grizzlies this season. The Mastodons’ defense has also stepped up, holding opponents to an average of 65.6 points per game during its current three-game win streak. IPFW has won five of its last seven and look to be coming together at the right time. If the Mastodons can slow down Oakland’s offense and their 3-point shooters are on then it could pull off the upset.

Position by position breakdown
Point guard: Oakland’s Johnathon Jones (5-11, 165) vs. IPFW’s Zach Plackemeier (6-3, 190)
Jones leads the nation in assists at 7.8 per game and runs Oakland’s high-powered offense that has averaged over 82 points a game during its current seven-game win streak. Jones also averages 13.5 points per game and is a tough defender. He will likely guard the more offensive minded Ben Botts. Plackemeier averages 7.6 points and is among the league leaders in assists at 2.8 per game. He has averaged 8.5 points, five assists and four rebounds against Oakland this season.

Shooting guard: Oakland’s Erik Kangas (6-3, 205) vs. IPFW’s Ben Botts (6-0, 165)
This is a matchup between two of the Summit League’s premier outside shooters. In the first meeting Kangas set his career-high with 39 points, while Botts tied his career-high with 22 points. Both players scored 13 points in the second meeting, with IPFW focusing a lot of its attention defensively on stopping Kangas. This matchup will be key with both players capable of changing the whole momentum of the game at any time.

Wing: Oakland’s Drew Maynard (6-7, 220) vs. IPFW’s Nick Daniels (6-2, 190)
Both players could prove to the X-factor for their team. Oakland is 7-2 when Maynard scores in double figures. Maynard’s last double-digit output was against IPFW on Feb. 14, where he scored 13 points. Daniels is a consistent 3-point threat. He has hit 45 3-pointers this season and shoots 49.5 percent from 3-point range.

Forward: Oakland’s Will Hudson (6-9, 225) vs. IPFW’s David Carson (6-7, 220)
Carson has been a thorn in the Grizzlies side since transferring to IPFW, averaging 18 points in four meetings. Carson will try to use his speed and athleticism to counter Hudson’s size, while Hudson will look to crash the boards and go at Carson inside. Hudson’s defense will be more important than his offense in this matchup, but the sophomore averaged 12 points a game against IPFW this season.

Center — Oakland’s Keith Benson (6-11, 225) vs. IPFW’s Trey McCorkle (6-10, 230)
This is the matchup Oakland will likely look to make the most of. Benson had just nine points on 3 for 3 shooting at IPFW, but had 23 points, nine rebounds and six blocks in the second meeting when the Mastodons concentrated on stopping Kangas and Jones. If IPFW employs a similar strategy in the tournament then Oakland will need Benson to make the Mastodons pay. If IPFW is forced to double Benson then it will open up things for Kangas and Jones. McCorkle played just eight minutes at Oakland and 19 in the first meeting, with Delivez Yearby (6-6, 212) seeing more minutes.

Oakland bench vs. IPFW’s bench
IPFW’s Yearby (8.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks) won the Summit League Sixth Man of the Year award and is a rare big body that comes off the bench. The Mastodons typically go deeper into their bench than the Grizzlies with 10 players averaging over 10 minutes a game, while Oakland has just seven. The Grizzlies bench will likely consistent of just Dan Waterstradt and Blake Cushingberry. If either has a good game Oakland’s chances of winning improves. The Grizzlies are 5-1 when Cushingberry scores in double figures and 6-2 when Waterstradt does.



Blogger tmgeneral said...


Will you be blogging the men's game tonight?

March 8, 2009 at 9:34 AM 
Blogger Dave Pemberton said...


Yeah I'll be live blogging from all of Oakland's tournament games.

March 8, 2009 at 12:34 PM 

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