A week after facing UNC Pembroke in an exhibition game, the North Carolina Tar Heels will officially open their 2013-14 season against the Oakland Golden Grizzles from the Horizon League. This will be the Grizzles first year in the Horizon after playing in the Summit League since moving to Division 1 in 1999. The two team’s last meeting came in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, with the Heels winning 96-68. The head coach of the Grizzles is Greg Kampe who has been at the school since 1984 and has 507 of the school’s 692 all-time wins. He has led them to the postseason 6 of the last 9 seasons.
This season Oakland is expected by some to compete for the conference title on the talent of potential conference Player of the Year candidate Travis Bader and a solid core of returning players. The Golden Grizzles have a tradition of having great 3 point shooters and the 6-5 senior guard is the latest one. A career 40% 3 point shooter, Bader has hit a three point shot in 52 straight games the longest active streak right now. He is 100 made 3 pointers away from breaking J.J. Redick’s all-time record. He is joined in the backcourt by Duke Mondy, who the led the nation in steals last year at 3 per game and also had 5 assists per game but must cut down on the turnovers. The 3rd returning double digit scorer is 6-10, 256 pound Corey Petros who averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds last season. While some of their other post players have length, he is the only one who also has the size to battle on the inside. Ryan Bass is the fourth returning starter in the three guard starting lineup.
While Oakland’s offense is good its defense is not. They gave 75 points per game last season, a year after giving up 79 points per which ranked them 330th out of 347 teams in Division 1. While allowing 49% of their opponent’s shots to be made. While the Grizzles have the outstanding shooting to compete with and possibly test the Tar Heels, but their shaky defense and lack of an interior presence on that end will likely allow North Carolina to run away with the game in the second half for a comfortable win.