Game Preview: Oakland looks for chance for upset at #5 Virginia

virginia basketballAll you need to do to get the interest of Virginia Basketball Nation is do anything to Michigan State. So when Oakland took Sparty to OT last week, yeah, you got our attention.

The Golden Grizzlies (8-4) ended up losing, 99-93, but it took a career night from Bryn Forbes, who had 32 points and was 7-of-9 from three-point range, to quell the upset bid after Michigan State trailed by as many as 15 in the first half.

The trigger for Oakland is Kay Felder, the nation’s second-leading scorer, who had 37 points and nine assists against the Spartans, and is averaging 26.6 points per game in 37.2 minutes per game in 2015-2016.

Felder is pint-sized (5’9”, 176), but attacks the lane with fearlessness, getting to the foul line 9.9 times per game (and shooting 85.3 percent from the stripe).

He’s also a volume shooter – averaging 17.9 shots per game from the field, shooting 44.7 percent, while shooting 38.4 percent from three (averaging 6.1 long-range attempts per game).

Felder is hardly a one-man band. Power forward Percy Gibson averages 14.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.3 percent from the field, and Oakland has six players averaging double-digits in scoring.

The Grizz pour in an average of 88.4 points per game, fourth in the nation, and average 1.132 points per possession, 20th nationally.

Defense is a challenge for this group. Oakland gives up 79.3 points per game, and allows opponents to score 1.049 points per possession, 241st in the country.

Expect the Grizzlies to have trouble with Virginia’s potent offense, which averages a deceptive 76.0 points per game – deceptive in the sense that Virginia plays to a much slower tempo (62.7 possessions per game, 350th of the 351 teams in Division I) while scoring 1.189 points per possession, second in the nation.

The Cavs hang their hats on their D, which is giving up 59.1 points per game, 10th nationally, and allows opponents to score .934 points per possession, 18th in the nation.

 

Game Notes: Oakland at #5 Virginia

Bombs away: Max Hooper has a stat line that the likes of Keith Friel would love. The 6’6” redshirt senior is 46-of-103 from the floor, 44.7 percent, and every single one of his attempts has been a three-point shot. He gets open looks from Felder penetrating and dishing. That comes to just short of nine attempts a game from behind the arc, and four makes.

As a team, Oakland averages 23.3 attempts from three per game, and shoots 39.3 percent on those shots. Virginia opponents are shooting 32.6 percent from long range and 41.7 percent overall.

 

The Virginia juggernaut: Virginia is shooting 50.4 percent from the field through 11 games, 14th nationally, and 41.8 percent from three-point range, also 14th nationally there.

The shooting from three is particularly impressive given that before the season the narrative was that Virginia would struggle from long-range the loss of Justin Anderson (a 45.2 shooter from three-point range in 2014-2015) to the NBA.

London Perrantes has stepped up big-time. The junior point guard is a lights-out 57.6 percent (19-of-33) from three this season, after shooting 31.6 percent from long range in 2014-2015.

Sophomore Darius Thompson is at 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from behind the arc, after shooting 19.5 percent in his freshman season at Tennessee in 2013-2014. And senior Malcolm Brogdon is shooting 41.8 percent (23-of-55) this season after hitting 34.4 percent of his threes in 2014-2015.

– Story by Chris Graham



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