And now for something new

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When is a 10-17 record something to be proud of? That’s not a record most teams would be particularly happy to have at the end of the regular season. 10-10 in the league isn’t usually going to get you very far either.

But in this COVID-19 weird year, and with the Horizon League opting to use a formula to determine rankings, those wins were enough to get the Golden Grizzlies one thing they’ve had almost none of this entire season.

Rest.

With the 3 seed and a first round bye in the Horizon League Tournament, Greg Kampe had planned to have his team rest until Wednesday. Those three full days of rest would be the longest stretch for the team all season. And it couldn’t come at a better time.

Getting into the tournament is a great time to finally get some rest for some big pieces of the team who need it. Jalen Moore has averaged just over 37 minutes a game. The undersized guard has slowed up a bit statistically the last few weeks, but it can very easily be blamed on fatigue. Not only just plain tired, but Moore has been beat up. Even this past week against Milwaukee he made a great hustle defensive play to get back and block on what should have been breakaway layup for Milwaukee. However, he came down and his head hard on the ground. However, he did what he has managed to do all season through physical play and bounced back up somehow.

Another player for Oakland who is surely going to enjoy some time off is Rashad Williams. Williams was a Horizon League Preseason All League nominee, but has been a bit streakier than usual this season. While that has been his game at times his whole career, it has been even more noticeable as he battles a shoulder injury that will require surgery when the season ends. To add to that, he has missed some time hampered by an ankle injury. A healthy or at least healthier backcourt for Oakland could be scary for their second round opponent.

Oakland has also had two freshman playing significant minutes in their first go round of collegiate basketball. With the days off, it will give Trey Townsend a chance to regroup and prepare mentally and physically for their first tournament experience. Neither player was expected to be a huge piece of the puzzle for Oakland when they were recruited. The thought was Parrish had the physical attributes to contribute and Townsend wanted to be a Grizzly. However both became a huge part of the team’s success and both will be able to hopefully enjoy a few days off.

What does it all mean for Oakland? It’s hard to tell. But it’s also easy to imagine that few days away from the court and travel could mean a lot to getting them back to the team that has beat Wright State this year. A couple of double overtime losses are in the rear view mirror and no longer matter.

Whether other’s agree or not, Oakland is the 3 seed for the tournament and getting a chance to get their minds and bodies ready to battle again. Being one of the only teams in the country to play all their games, 27 of them later to be exact, and they earned the break and chance to prove they are exactly where they should be.

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