By Matt Dery
TV and Radio analyst
Greg Kampe did not mince words on the post-game radio interview with Neal Ruhl and me on Monday night from Syracuse, calling it "very disappointing." Oakland had high hopes heading in to Toledo and the Cuse these last two games and got run out of the gym (dome) in both. After scoring 86 points per game in their first two contests, both wins, the Golden Grizzlies could muster just 62 a game in their last two. What do I see?
1. Kendrick Nunn is not 100 percent. The Horizon League's best player (yes I said it) has been slowed by an ankle sprain over the last two games. Nunn can flat out shoot it, injury or no injury, but his explosiveness and ability to take people off the dribble has been hampered by the ankle. Kendrick's open-floor game is just as vital as his usually reliable jumper and it just hasn't been there since spraining that ankle late in the game against New Orleans.
2. The Golden Grizzlies need Jalen Hayes. Understatement of the year here, but, it is true. Toledo and Syracuse both have length that bothered Oakland, and without their senior power forward, the Kampe crew struggled to relax in the half court. Hayes is the calming influence and a guy who can stop an opposition run with an easy basket. His suspension is now over and he'll play Friday night at Kansas.
3. The point guards are better than this. I really like the trio of Brailen Neely, Nick Daniels, and Stan Scott. But I think Coach Kampe will tell you that 4/19 shooting from the field over the last two games will not get it done. In fairness Tuesday night, Syracuse's length on the perimeter was just too much for Neely and Nicky D, and Scott came in and played pretty well for a freshman. But decision-making and shot-making are still vital from the point guard spot and these guys have to pick it up. I think they will.