For the first time since December 2011, Michigan will face Greg Kampe’s Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Sunday evening (6:00 p.m., BTN).
The Grizzlies only won 14 games in 2019-20 and are looking to regain some of the magic from the early part of last decade when they reached back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. This year is expected to be something of a re-building or re-tooling season, and there might not be a college basketball team in the country with a more treacherous start to the year.
Oakland participated in Xavier’s multi-team event last week, facing Xavier, Toledo and Bradley in back-to-back-to-back days. Their game at Michigan on Sunday will be their fourth contest in five days.
That’s a brutal stretch of schedule in normal times, but the coronavirus also ravaged the Oakland program. Nine players and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during Oakland’s recent shutdown and they weren’t able to resume practices until the weekend before the 2020-21 season began. After their game in Ann Arbor, the Golden Grizzles still have to travel to Purdue (Dec. 1), Oklahoma State (Dec. 5) and Michigan State (Dec. 13) before starting the Horizon League season.
Greg Kampe joked that “0-7” would qualify as a good start for his program and at this point, it is hard to argue with that assessment.