The road to the Final Four begins on Friday night when Iowa State really opens up the season hosting Oakland at Hilton Coliseum.
Oakland Golden Grizzlies vs. Iowa State Cyclones
James H. Hilton Coliseum | Ames, IA
Friday, November 14th, 2014 | Tipoff – 7:00 PM CT
TV: Cyclones.tv on Mediacom | Web: Cyclones.tv
Oakland, the school from Michigan and not California, finished with a 13-20 record last year and is predicted to finish in the bottom half of the Horizon League this year. Iowa State actually has ties to Oakland with Percy Gibson leaving the team and transferring to the Golden Grizzlies squad to both get more playing time and to be closer to home.
It’s unfortunate that Gibson can’t suit up as it would have been fun to watch him go up against his former squad, but he’ll be using up his redshirt this season to play next year and give this team a big boost inside.
Another interesting connection is last year’s freshman sensation on Oakland, Kahlil Felder, and former high school teammate Sherron Dorsey-Walker. Both of them played at Pershing High School in Detroit.
What to watch for
Dec 10, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Oakland Golden Grizzlies guard Kahlil Felder (20) during the second half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 81-54. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Senior guard Travis Bader, who averaged over 20 points per game, is gone, leaving sophomore guard Kahlil Felder filling the void left by him and other senior guard Duke Mondy. The good thing is Felder was a freshman sensation last year and ran the offense with a team-high 6.4 assists. He’ll have to do that and bolster his offensive production up.
It’s going to be hard to reproduce what Oakland had in the backcourt with Bader and Mondy, but the frontcourt will be anchored by senior forward/center Corey Petros, who fired at 57.6 percent efficiency from the field last year and held averages of 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Both Felder and Petros are the only players coming back that started regularly, so trying to figure out a new lineup against one of the deepest teams in the nation will be tough. Oakland will have a more manageable schedule to set up a solid starting lineup before back-to-back ranked road games at Michigan State and Arizona in mid-December.
This is the first meeting between Oakland and Iowa State. The Cyclones have won 20 straight non-conference home games and are 9-3 all-time against Horizon League opponents.
Keys to victory
- Keep the fast pace going. Iowa State came out guns blazing forcing turnovers and easy fastbreak points. Keep that intensity going into this game and it will be another rout.
- Dustin Hogue needs to come out with a better start. The only player that had a rough outing in last week’s exhibition was Hogue who struggled from the field and at the free throw line. Hopefully that will give him a spark this time around.
- Make free throws. One of the only bad team stats from last week was Iowa State missing free throws. Don’t let that become a team-wide problem as the season progresses.
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Iowa State is favored by 18.5 points as of late Thursday night. No point total has been set for this game.
Oakland won’t have enough to overcome losing their guards from last year. Their strength is in the frontcourt, but they simply can’t match up to Georges Niang and the rest of the Cyclones’ big guys. This one should be well over by halftime.
Iowa State 93, Oakland 63