Between now and when league play resumes we'll be taking a look at how each team fared in non-conference play in our "Non-Conference Wrap Up" series.
Non-Conference Win/Loss: 6-6 (5-6 against Division I)
Current KenPom rank: 145th nationally (4th in league)
Laudable Trait: Though Oakland's offense relies heavily on the three-point shot (41 percent of field goal attempts have been from beyond the arc), it's shooting strength is near the basket. Despite possessing just one true post player, Coach Greg Kampe's team is connecting on 51 percent of its two-point shots. Equally impressive is that the team is turning the ball over only 18 percent of the time, even with the guards driving the lane so frequently.
Lamentable Trait: Because Oakland takes so many three-point shots -- as noted above -- the team isn't getting to the free throw line with as much frequency as one might expect. That's especially troubling when we consider that the Golden Grizzlies are 34th nationally in free throw percentage. So their strengths have been two-point shooting and free throw shooting, yet their offense has been predicated on threes, where they have shot 31 percent.
Best Win: Oakland picked up a convincing 89-81 win against Tennessee at the O'rena in late November in a match that happened to be nationally televised on ESPNU. The Volunteers haven't proven to be very good this year, but OU took care of business on its home court and received some quality exposure for the Summit League as a result of it.
Worst Loss: The Golden Grizzlies were thoroughly stomped on by Western Michigan at the O'rena last week. A couple of late threes made this a 15-point loss, but they trailed by as much as 23 in this one and allowed the Broncos to score a whopping 1.22 points per possession.
Top Performer: Guard Reggie Hamilton. He's the least efficient of the three, but at this point Hamilton is one of the top-three scorers in the country as he's averaging 23 points per game. Up until the WMU game, the senior had been improving his shot selection from the field, as evidenced by the fact he scored 72 points on 45 shots against Valparaiso and Arizona.
Player To Watch In League Play: Forward Drew Valentine. He dips back into Summit League play coming off one of his worse games in recent memory that saw him foul out and commit nine turnovers against Western Michigan. Valentine can be an impact player in the Summit League so long as Oakland finds ways to help him score. Though he struggles to generate his own shots (hence the turnovers last week), he's one of the most efficient players in the league when his teammates are finding him in catch-and-shoot situations, on back-door cuts, and in transition scenarios.
Overall Assessment: The Golden Grizzlies picked up a lot of momentum early in non-conference play when they got a road win at Houston and a home win against Tennessee, but their defense has not been up to par in recent weeks. Their last five Division I opponents have averaged 1.15 points per possession -- a mark that even an efficient Oakland offense would struggle to top. If they can re-commit to defensive toughness, then this squad can finish where expected based on how it performed earlier in non-conference play.