Oakland (4-4) is hoping to win one on the road against a familiar rival. On Tuesday, they travel to face a Western Michigan team that's also looking to get back into the win column.
The Broncos (4-4) lost to Seattle 59-55 in the third place game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Western Michigan wants to replicate its recent success over the Golden Grizzlies, as they won their most recent contest 85-77 in 2018.
Tuesday's game takes place at the University Arena with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Oakland's hopes to recover from a heart-breakerIn the Golden Grizzlies' recent loss to Toledo, they had two opportunities to win this game late, but missed both of them. However, in that loss, it revealed several advantages Oakland hopes to employ on Tuesday.
The first is in post play. The Golden Grizzlies had 36 points in the paint against the Rockets. On Tuesday, they face a Western Michigan defense that lost the battle in the paint to Seattle 24-16. Look for Oakland to use their size to dominate in the paint on Tuesday.
Another advantage is Oakland's offensive versatility. They had four players score in double figures lead by Blake Lampman, who's really coming into his own as a perimeter shooter. He made five of his 10 three-point attempts to finish with 18 points.
Meanwhile, Western Michigan had two players scoring in double figures. If the Golden Grizzlies can contain Michael Flowers and Brandon Johnson, then Western Michigan doesn't have many other proven scorers they can rely on. This is the blueprint to Oakland's success.
Western Michigan needs balance on the offensive endThe Broncos' stout defense was all for naught, as cold shooting dispelled any chance of them winning. They made just five of their 22 three-point attempts. Some of this was due to Seattle's stout defense. However, if they don't improve upon this on Tuesday, then they could be playing from behind all game.
Oakland's versatility on the offensive end will provide a formidable challenge to Western Michigan's defense. Simply, there isn't one or two playmakers the Broncos can focus on. Instead, they must communicate on the defensive end to make timely switches and force turnovers.
This is one area where they excel. They forced Seattle to commit eight turnovers by which they converted into eight points and they held Seattle's offense scoreless for five minutes. The defense might have to come up with another big performance to win on Tuesday.
One player to watch is Rafael Cruz Jr. In his last four games, he's come off the bench to average over 10 points and five rebounds per game. He could be the offensive spark Western Michigan needs.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a loss
Trends found on Covers.com Western Michigan is:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games