Monday, July 20, 2009

Cabrera Holds the Key

By Neal Ruhl

“Real Deal” Bloggin’ Dirty

For all the questions about what left-handed bat or pitching help are the Tigers going to get at the trade deadline, in my mind, Miguel Cabrera is the one that holds the key to the Tiger’s chances of winning the American League “Comedy Central” (thanks to my friend Matt Dery for that one!).

I know, I know. I’ll say it for you- “but Miggy’s hitting .320 with 18 bombs and 50 RBI Real Deal! He’s not the problem!”

At first glance I agree, but after looking a bit further, I have some interesting thoughts.

If everyone wants to put Cabrera in that elite, “Albert Pujols” class, my question is when is he going to take over and dominate in stretches like Albert Pujols does?

I know, I know. I’ll say it for you- “but the people batting in front of Miggy are having a bad year. What is he supposed to do?”

Let me ask you this, who hits in front of Albert Pujols? Quick! Name ‘em…too late. Whoever it is, I can promise you one of them is not an All-Star (as fraudulent as that is), or the MVP of the 2006 ALCS.

My point is this: We all hold Cabrera in a “one of the elite in the game” category. When is he going to start producing like one? I know it’s tough to criticize the numbers, but when is going to dominate where he puts the team on his back and hits seven or eight home runs and drives in 15 in a 10 game stretch?

The “Real Deal” is this: For all the pomp and circumstance, and all the numbers Cabrera has put up since he’s got here, the most interesting number he has put up to me is 0. That is the number of times he has represented the Detroit Tigers in the All-Star game. I didn’t make that up folks, that’s a fact. It’s time for Cabrera to step up and put this team on his back and dominate the way everyone says he can. If he can’t, the Tigers have no shot at going to the playoffs.


It was'nt a surprise to me that Tom Watson didnt win the British Open but I was pulling for him. That would had been one of the top 10 sports stories in the last ten years…Charlie Manuel should have been named MVP of the All-Star game for the American League for not bringing in a lefty to pitch to Curtis Granderson, who ultimately scored the running run after getting a 3B off of Padre’s closer Heath Bell. Hey Chuck, Granderson hits .194 off lefties, it’d be a shame if your own ineptitude cost your team in the World Series huh?...Listen to “The Real Deal on Sports” Thursdays from 11-1PM on 88.3 FM WXOU or…

Friday, June 26, 2009

If you liked the Daye pick "You Are Not Alone"

By Neal Ruhl

Real Deal Bloggin’ Dirty…

Let me set this straight right off the bat…for all of those people who said the Pistons dropped the ball by not drafting Ty Lawson (and judging by the calls into local sports radio, there are a lot of you), the fact that the Denver Nuggets traded to get Lawson to BACK UP Chauncey Billups tells you all you needed to know about him.

This happens with every draft all the time. Just because you saw Ty Lawson and Dejuan Blair and everyone else in the NCAA Tournament, you think you have some inkling about how good that player is because you saw him. Before you bash Joe Dumars's selection of Austin Daye with the 15th pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night, I will ask you this question: who did you want them to take?

Let me make this statement and please try to wrap your head around this: Ty Lawson and Will Bynum are the same player in the NBA. They are both borderline, fringe players that are far from the elite. The NBA Draft is always the same. Once you get past the top four or five picks, the players are all pretty much the same and how good they are depends on the situation they are dropped into.

I agree in some fashion with some of the people that criticize the Daye pick from the standpoint he is 6-10 and only 190 pounds, but he does have a skill set that includes being able to make shots. Is he a project? Yes. Was there anything better? Right now, I would say no.

The “Real Deal”
I wanted to take a minute to speak on the passing of pop icon Michael Jackson. I was, and still am, a big fan of his music. Would I want him to babysit my children? No way. Do I like it when his songs come on at a wedding? Absolutely.

The “Real Deal” is this: you can say whatever you want about his character and all of that, but watching his videos over the last 24 hours, I am reminded about all he did for hunger in Africa. I always see those images and feel bad and think about how I should help do something about it. But then I forget about it and go about my day. Jackson actually did something about it. I guess in some strange way, I could learn a lesson in character from him and his life, as strange as that sounds.

How about you? Be honest…

You can hear more of my opinions on the Pistons and other Detroit area sports teams, on "The Real Deal on Sports" Thursdays from 11 to 1 pm on 88.3 fm Auburn Hills and streaming live at WXOU.ORG.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tigers caught between rock and a "perm" place…

Real Deal Bloggin Dirty
By Neal Ruhl

Mike Illitch or "The Perm" as I like to call him, may be behind Magglios indefinite benching.

Tiger’s outfielder and 2007 AL Batting Champion Magglio Ordonez was benched “indefinitely” yesterday by the Detroit Tigers.

By now, we all know the deal with Magglio Ordonez and the contract, and if you don’t, then one last time, here are the details of the deal (courtesy of Cot’s Contracts) ; 5 years/$75M (2005-09), plus 2010 & 2011 club options that breaks down as follows...

Signed by Detroit as a free agent 2005
* $6M signing bonus (due 11/05, not guaranteed)
* 05:$6M, 06:$15M, 07:$12M, 08:$15M, 09:$18M, 10:$18M club option ($3M buyout), 11:$15M club option (no buyout)
* Tigers may void contract after 2005 if Ordonez spends 25 or more days on disabled list in 2005 with recurrence of pre-existing left knee injury
* $3M annually deferred from 2008-11 salaries at 1% interest

* No trade protection

2010 option guaranteed at $18M if Ordonez has:
* 135 starts or 540 PAs in 2009, or
* 270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2008-09
* 2011 option guaranteed at $15M if Ordonez has:
* 135 starts or 540 PAs in 2010, or
* 270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2009-10

Obviously, the important numbers are the option related 2010 and 2011 seasons. As of today, Ordonez sits 324 AB’s away from accelerating the 2010 option that would pay him an absurd $18 million ($2 million more than Albert Pujols will make in 2010!).
I like Magglio, but this is just a ridiculous number that the Tigers simply cannot afford to stomach for a guy with two home runs. At the same time, this contract presents an incredible dichotomy for the Tigers to deal with.

If they do stop Magglio from reaching these incentives, they effectively kill their chances of obtaining top level free agents. What prime time player is going to want to come to Detroit where the rug could be pulled out from under them at any time?

Also, given the Tigers spending philosophy from last offseason that saw them lose some $30 million in salary and then replace that with the mighty Adam Everett and his robust $1 million deal, what guarantee is there the Tigers would even use that money to get anyone better? Given the fact the Mike Illitch just the other day said “we are going to do whatever we’ve got to do”, is getting rid of the second best hitter on your team doing whatever you got to do? How does Ryan Raburn in a pennant push sound?

The “Real Deal” is this: This was a good contract for the Tigers to take on at the time they did. Dave Dombrowski wrote in some protection for the Tigers with these options and I don’t have a problem if they cut Maggs before the option kicks in.
All this being said, if the Tigers do cut him and don’t replace that money with a player the caliber of a $15-$18 million per year guy, while at the same time ruining your rep in the free agent community, then I guess this was just a bush league move by a bush league organization.

I guess 'The Perm' was just giving lip service when he said “we are going to do whatever we’ve got to do.”

You can hear more of my opinions on the Tigers and other Detroit area sports teams, on "The Real Deal on Sports" Thursdays from 11 to 1 pm on 88.3 fm Auburn Hills and streaming live at WXOU.ORG.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you still win games by scoring runs, I don't like the Tigers chances...

By Kyle Bauer, Sports Director

The Tigers early first place run of 2009 has nowhere near felt the magic of 2006. Because like the like the number '09 by comparison this team has been upside down.

How is a team with a two game lead in mid-June, generated no buzz? You would think its 2005 again with how flat the coverage has been.

It could be attributed to the Red Wings run. More so I believe its that even the "slapiest" fan can see right through this ball club. Not too many for see the Tigers anywhere near first come October.

There are reasons to be excited about this team though.

Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson are both putting on all-star displays. Jackson ranks third in the MLB with a 2.39 era and fourth in whip at 1.06. Verlander is coming down off of one of the most dominant stretches in Tigers history. He went 10 starts without a loss and leads the MLB in K's with 110.

Then theres Rick Porcello. The 20 year old rookie who had a May which seen him go 5-0 with an era around 1.20.

These top three starters are well capable of creating electricity that can power a candle lit city such as Detroit. But the power outage at the plate has rendered Tigers optimism in the dark.

Seven games in a row and counting have seen the Tigers score three runs or less. In the midst of Interleague play, Detroit will continue to struggle to score runs without the luxury of a DH batting four times a game, in National League parks. Not that this team looks much better with a DH.

Last year, fans rallied around the Toledo call-ups. Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas, Jeff Larrish and "insert leaft fielder here" generated a spark in what was a dismal season.
This year, we are seeing why they were simply call-ups and not trade bait or willing everyday players. With injuries to Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen and a struggling Magglio Ordonez, those same cast of characters have been called upon and exposed for the minor leaguers that they are.

Without a slugging Ordonez, .300 hitting Polanco, then healthy Cabrera and Guillen, you've seen Brandon Inge become the Tigers most consistent offensive threat. That scares the hell out of me and it should scare the hell out of you too.

The answer could be rather unconventional. With the current make-up of this ball club, offense could be found in once again reshuffling the order. And no, I'm not talking about Don Kelly leading off. Here's my ideal line up with the DH.

1. Granderson- We've all heard it before. Yeah yeah hes not a lead off hitter. Well whatever, he seems comfortable there and an occasional lead off homer or extra base hit doesn't hurt.

2. Maggs- This is the unconventional part. His power is gone, he can still get on base at a .347 clip and has a .277 avg. The key is that the Tigers need someone on base. While Maggs is way slow for the 2 spot, he can do what Polanco used to be able to do and single himself on.

3. Cabrera- While hes gripping with a hamstring injury, he remains the teams best hitter and on base threat. He can sustain rallies and drive the ball, not with home run power right now but just enough to move runners.

4. Inge- This is another peculiar call of mine but no matter what the order, there will be holes in the lineup. True Inge is a windmill, he can still hit with power and as much power as anyone on the team. Hes come up with some timely hits this season and while I'm scared of him going into a major slump that will knock his avg. done to an expected .240 range, hes still been consistent.

5. Thames- Much of what I said for Inge can be said for Marcus. Hes another strikeout machine. Putting him in the line up everyday would likely up that. Still hes hitting well since returning and I would ride that out. He tore up the NL last year, hitting home runs in five straight games at one point, so when he gets back to playing AL teams regularly, that may be another circumstance that finds him struggling.

6. Polanco- Whatever Polanco's deal is, I would rather have him work it out away from his typical spot in the line up. Sixth still bares some importance but it's less pressure. Such as you expect Inge's avg. to fall, you expect Polanco's to rise. Poly dosent draw walks, so his recent lack of contact creates a deeper impact when he's at the top of the line up.

7. "Insert left fielder here"- Whoever this may be, I believe 7th and 8th in the order are spots that can be sacrificed to a poor hitter. Every once in a while Raburn or Anderson can deliver a surprise big hit, but there is no need for them to be counted on, such as them at the top end of the order.

8. Laird/Sardinha- Both are trainwrecks at the plate. I have to believe Laird will snap out of this at some point. There has to be at least a .250 hitter in there some where. At this point I would love that.

9. "Everetago"- Adam Everett is coming back down to earth from his hot start. If he can pull some more unexpected magic, its a bonus at the bottom of the order. Ramon Santiago has been hitting well most nights. He may get a substantial amount of playing time if this continues. Hes batted as high as second some nights and I don't mind that necessarily but I would rather be safe and play him down in the order.

Another idea could be to swap Inge and Maggs. Inge has speed for a second hitter with some pop and is second on the team with a surprise .367 obp. I believe it would be more productive to get him in the middle of the order to utilize his power though.

Either way there's holes and holes and holes. My figuring is that this is a lineup to try in the home stand against the Brewers and Cubs to see how it goes. If it continues to flounder, the debate on whether to keep or cut Maggs will likely be more clear and the Tigers can either try to improve through trade or bringing up top pro ready prospect Wilken Ramirez (
Also by the All-Star break, Cabrera may be healed up and the Tigers will also know Carlos Guillen's fate in regards to his bum shoulder.

The simple answer could lie within the four mentioned players. Maggs picks up the inexplicable power loss, Cabrera becomes 100% and a miracle happens and Guillen returns. I am not sure why it hasn't been theorized that Ramirez should be brought up soon and play left field or have him play right with Ordonez DHing. My only guess is that Wilken only has two minor league options left and the Tigers want to be conservative. Any one of those simple solutions could be the difference, but they're lofty and only simple in fan blogs and on paper.

The pitching south of Rick Porcello is another bleak situation. My only comment at the moment is the Tigers bullpen is fine. Not strong, but the lesser of major concerns. Zach Miner and Alfredo Figaro ( should be considered as interim fourth and fifth starters.

I could go on about the Tigers issues forever. Unfortunately the positives only went on about as long as a Dontrelle Willis start.

You can hear more of my opinions on the Tigers and other Detroit area sports in this blog but also every Thursday on The Real Deal on Sports with Neal Ruhl and Mike Parsons, 11 to 1 pm on 88.3 fm Auburn Hills and streaming live online at WXOU.ORG.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tuesday Show Red Wings game 3

live 2-4pm on or 88.3fm with Paul Short and Corey Hagood.

We Preview game 3 as the Red Wings lead the Stanley Cup Finals 2-0.
The stars have yet to shine for the Wings but the role players are we discuss.

Is/can Chris Bosh become a Detroit Piston we discuss.

Tigers-Red Sox to...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sports Guys Tuesday NHL Playoffs Continue

Join Corey Hagood and Paul Short on Tuesday from 2-4pm on WXOU for "The Sports Guys"

On Air Line: 248-370-4274 or Instantly on aim on wxoudj


Red Wings-Hawks Series update in the Western Conference Finals. Plus Pens-Canes Talk.
Maybe we are talking Stanley Cup Finals Instead?
OHL: Windsor Spitfires and how did the Memorial Cup Finish up.
Detroit Tigers Are they still on a hot streak and how is the AL Central Looking.
NBA Playoffs
NBA: Pistons what now that the NBA Lottery has taken place.

and more

Head Coach Hogan Steps Down: Will Head a Jr. A team

Head Coach Hogan Steps Down: Will Head a Jr. A team
Read More
By Matt Mackinder/MiCHO Exclusive

Sean Hogan leaves OU as the all time leader in wins with 88.

Sean Hogan, the head coach that won two national championships at two different levels with Oakland University's ACHA team, has resigned his post to accept the head coaching job with the Yellowstone Quake of the Northern Pacific Hockey League.

For Hogan, 30, he saw the opportunity in Cody, Wyo., as one he could not resist.
"I have always had a keen interest in junior hockey," Hogan said. "I take great pride in my ability to develop players not only on the ice, but with life skills. I want to play an integral role in helping players achieve their dream of playing collegiate hockey."

That said, leaving Oakland was bittersweet for the White Lake native.

"It was a very difficult decision to leave OU," said Hogan. "I helped build the program to be a national contender year in and year out. I made many great friends in the league, at OU and had tremendous players. I will miss the growing and unlimited potential of the ACHA and Oakland hockey. Mostly, I will miss the coaching staff and players.

"There has always been a unique family aspect with Oakland hockey, I take great pride in our accomplishments and have no doubt that the coaching staff will keep our OU hockey tradition alive and well."

Hogan said that in dealing with the NorPac, the first thing he noticed was the professionalism of the organizations. The league, a Tier III Junior A-level outfit, has full-time coaches, incredible community and ancillary support, and an all-around willingness to grow and move players to the next level, observed Hogan.

"To me, the most important aspect of junior hockey is the ability of the organization to put more emphasis on promoting players than win-loss records," Hogan said. "I noticed that immediately with the Yellowstone organization. Winning is important, but striving to win, and the attitude is what develops players and gives them the opportunity to complete at the next level."

Hogan also feels his coaching style will fit well with the Quake.

"I am a very open communicator with my players," boasted Hogan. "Players will know what is expected and there will be no surprises. With that communication comes accountability, both ways, coach-to-player and player-to-coach. When players know their responsibilities, and know that they will be held accountable to those responsibilities, a team or organization can thrive because no one will be confused as to what is expected of them."

Hogan started coaching at OU as an assistant coach working with the defenseman from 2003-2005 under Craig Furstenau. He took over as head coach in 2005-2006 and captured a national championship in ACHA DII in 2005-2006 and then moved to DI and took the title in 2006-2007.

"I am very excited about the opportunity," continued Hogan, who is replacing another Michigan native in Southfield's Marty Quarters with the Quake. "I have begun the recruiting schedule already. There is no time to be nervous, just to get out and get to work. I do a great deal of studying other coaches and a lot of that studying is of football coaches. What I find interesting about football coaches are their organizational and preparation skills. Tony Dungy wrote in his book, "Uncommon," that when making a decision, discuss all possible outcomes, measure your desire and pray.

"I did all three and I know I made the right decision."

Assistant Coach Jeremy Bachusz Promoted to Head Coach

Assistant Coach Jeremy Bachusz Promoted to Head Coach
By OU Hockey
Read Here

Rochester, MI Oakland University Men’s ACHA Hockey is pleased to announce the promotion of new Head Coach Jeremy Bachusz. Bachusz served as assistant coach under the previous Head Coach Sean Hogan for three seasons, where he worked primarily with the forwards and special teams. Bachusz also served as the team's manager last season assisting in travel planning, finances and scheduling. Jeremy brings with him an impressive hockey pedigree and strong playing background. Bachusz played NCAA Division I hockey for Lake Superior State University from 1998-2003, where he both led the team in scoring and served as captain his junior and senior seasons. While at LSSU Bachusz was named the Freshman of the Year his first season and was honored with the Copper Coaches Choice, an award voted on by all the LSSU varsity sports coaches and given out to the LSSU athlete who best displays leadership and exemplary athletic performance.

Prior to his time at Lake Superior State, Bachusz was a heavily recruited and highly touted athlete while playing for the Compuware Jr. A team in the North American Hockey League. While with the Compuware Ambassadors Jeremy was named First Team All NAHL in 1997-1998, awarded playoff MVP in 1997-1998 and was also named MVP of the NAHL All Star Game in 1997-1998. While at Compuware Jeremy was also awarded the Barbara Ann Karmanos Award.

After completing his degree at LSSU, Jeremy signed on to play with the Arkansas River Blades and then the Cincinnati Cyclone both of the ECHL. Despite being a rookie in the ECHL, Bachusz was named an Assistant Captain of the Cincinnati Cyclones. In 2004 Jeremy retired as a player and accepted a position with Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. He currently lives in Royal Oak, MI with his wife Becca, who is serving her residency in General Surgery at Detroit Medical Center. Jeremy’s brother Mike was also a captain of Lake Superior State hockey team and won an NCAA Division I National Championship in 1992.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Prayer of a shot ends Oakland's Basketball Season

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hockey and Hockey. Early OU Hockey Thoughts!

Well in the ACHA Lindenwood won the DI National Championship and Davenport the DII National Championship as expected. Plymouth-Sarnia tied 1-1 Game 3 Tuesday in Plymouth. Caria got the OT winner for the Whalers tonight in Sarnia.

Oakland's schedule is out for next season so far. It is weird the guys on the team are asking me what I think will happen this off-season, what I think of the schedule. I know there is some concern with some people at how angry the coaches are and what they are going to do this off-season. We shall see I guess.

Off the top your first 12 are not hard at all. Depending on who we play at the Showcase. I think again way early thoughts here but I like how it is setup. A chance to get back into the Top 16 on a solid basis with a group of wins early in the season. However the other side is if you get off to a bad or .500 start with the schedule the way it is that would not be good at all. You can't go 0-3-1 vs UM Dearborn again or 2-2 vs EMU no way no how. Right now I would say you have to start the season next year at 3-1 heading into the showcase.

However a good start with those first 12 and based on what I know about the other teams and how early it is I do not want to at this point put a number on it, maybe after seeing a camp session or two. Overall after November you have 9 games that can move you up nicely in the Rankings.

One thing is for sure no excuses about how hard of a schedule it is to start the season, even though this last season was not as hard as some make or made it out to be.

Fri. Sept 25 UOFM DEARBORN ONYX 8:40
Sat. Sept 26 @ UofM Dearborn Dearborn Fieldhouse
Sat. Oct 3 @ Eastern Michigan Ann Arbor Ice Cube
Fri. Oct 9 @ ACHA Showcase
Sat. Oct 10 @ ACHA Showcase
Sun. Oct 11 @ ACHA Showcase
Fri. Oct 16 PITTSBURGH (1) ONYX 8:40
Fri. Oct 23 @ Robert Morris IL Bensonville, IL
Sat. Oct 24 @ Robert Morris IL Bensonville, IL
Thu. Nov 5 @ Oklahoma Oklahoma City, OK
Fri. Nov 6 @ Central Oklahoma
Sat. Nov 7 @ Central Oklahoma
Sat. Nov 14 @ Eastern Michigan Ann Arbor Ice Cube
Fri. Nov 20 LIBERTY ONYX 8:40
Sat. Nov 21 LIBERTY ONYX 8:40
Fri. Dec 4 UofM DEARBORN ONYX 8:40
Sat. Dec 5 @ UofM Dearborn UofM Dearborn Fieldhouse
Sat. Dec 12 @ Michigan State

Sat Jan 8 INDIANA ONYX 8:40
Fri. Jan 15 ADRIAN ONYX 8:40
Sat. Jan 16 @ Adrian Adrian Ice Arena
Fri. Jan 22 @ Ohio University Bird Arena at Ohio University
Sat. Jan 23 @ Ohio University Bird Arena @ Ohio University
Thu. Feb 4 DAVENPORT ONYX 8:40
Fri. Feb 5 @ Davenport Patterson
Sat. Feb 6 DAVENPORT ONYX 8:40
Fri. Feb 12 BUFFALO ONYX 8:40
Sat Feb 13 BUFFALO (2) ONYX 8:40
Fri. Feb 19 @ Liberty Liberty Ice Arena
Sat. Feb 20 @ Liberty Liberty Ice Arena
Saturday Feb 27 @ Adrian Adrian Ice Arena
Saturday March 5-9 ACHA DI National Tournament Bensonville, IL

Sunday, March 08, 2009

ORU and ORU out

Who would have thought coming into the Summit League Tournament that both the Oral Roberts Men's and Women's teams will out on day 1. well they are. Which on the men's side of things I wanted no part of playing the host school South Dakota State University in the opening round. We saw last night exactly why.

Oakland will face IPFW tonight here in Sioux Falls at 9:30pm. IPFW can shoot the three and one of the keys will be stopping Ben Botts from doing just that. I know Coach Kampe when I asked him said that stopping David Carson is a huge key as well for Oakland. The winner of this game will face South Dakota State University in round two of the Summit League Tournament.

On the womens side of things for OU lets make sure we give praise to April Kidd. She was super great yesterday without a doubt

Saturday, March 07, 2009

@ The Arena

We are at Sioux Falls arena nice building here. Right now its the Womens game between #16 South Dakota State and Oral Roberts its 44-18 SDSU at the half!

Very good crowd here at the Sioux Falls Arena as well

Oakland-UMKC up next I think the ladies are ready to go for this one. Should be a real good game if you are an OU fan!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Presser Highlights

From OU Athletics:

ROCHESTER, Mich. - The Oakland University men's and women's basketball teams addressed the local media one last time before leaving for Sioux Falls, S.D. for the 2009 Summit League Tournament at Sioux Falls Arena. Head coaches Greg Kampe and Beckie Francis, along with selected players spoke about the upcoming championship.

Men's Head Coach Greg Kampe

Opening Statement
"This is the time of the year you play for. You talk about the three days in March and being able to play on Tuesday night. That's just the saying we've had for years now, since our championship game is on a Tuesday night. Every drill we do, every time we do something, we talk about playing on Tuesday night. That Tuesday is five days away. It's an exciting time. We've played extremely well, our last loss was in January. We've practiced very well in the month of February. That's been key for me. I don't think we've had a bad practice in February and that's probably why we've played so well.

"Going into it, we like our team and like the way its grown. Our advantage we believe is that we've got 6-11 (Keith Benson) and can score on the block. There isn't another team in our league that has a 6-11 guy. We have a guy that can make shots from everywhere (Erik Kangas), we have a point guard (Johnathon Jones) that can distribute the ball as well as anybody in the country, as evidence by the fact that he leads the nation in assists. We have some young kids that can come off the bench and really play. We have Dan Waterstradt sitting next to me here who I think is a very, very important player for us off the bench defensively and rebounds, and if you leave him alone he's going to make a shot.

"We have so many offensive weapons that when you have your role players make shots is probably one of the reasons why we are winning. We score at a very unbelievable rate. We don't really run, we walk the ball up the court, and average over 80 points per game during this win streak. So our offense efficiency during this win streak has been very good.

"Defensively we have gone from an average defensive team to a pretty darn good one. We are not a great one yet, but for us to win this week, we are going to have to play great defense. I think we are a good rebounding team that is getting better. If we continue to improve in those two areas, that will really be good for us. The ability to play offense can go away for a half, and if you don't defend, you're going to be in trouble. I like our chances, I like everything about what is going on, we're very excited to go and feel very good about our team."

"They lead the league in three-point field goal percentage, so it's very important for us to smother them on the three-point line and not all them to get going. So obviously we are going to have to play man-to-man and you probably won't see our zone in that game, unless we have a large lead and have to waste time. I think in order to stop them, as good as (Ben) Botts is, (David) Carson is the key and we have to take him out of the game. I think our defense will start there, work through Botts, and Nick Daniels is a very good shooter, I think he is at 49 or 50 percent from the three. What I told our team is that in tournament play, field goal percentage is really, really important. You can look at that one of two ways. You can say ok, we have to shoot better than they do, or we can limit the looks they get. You have to make every shot they take a difficult one. It's not like it's the middle of the season and a guy makes a shot and it's not that big of a deal. Every possession matters. JJ will be on Botts, and I think he's one of the better defenders in the league, so I feel good about that match-up. Will Hudson will start on Carson. We played (Blake) Cushingberry on him when they played here, which is a funny match-up, but he did a great job on him, I think he was 1-for-9 at one point. We feel like we know what we have to do, now we just have to go and get it done."

On the leadership of the team
"Two years ago, we got beat on a last second shot in the championship game. We had great leadership on that team in Shawn Hopes and Vova Severovas who were all-league post players and we lost those. I thought last year we really wondered leadership wise, JJ was a sophomore. So this season Jeff Tungate, my associate head coach, put together a leadership program and I really think it has made a difference with our team. We met every Thursday with our three captains and they were on a teleconference with people that we believe are in leadership roles in the community and sports world, and they would have a 30-40 minute conversation. I think it really made a difference on our team this year. Our leadership has been phenomenal. I don't worry about that at all. We've seen all that you can possibly see. When you lose a guy that is preseason player of the year (Derick Nelson) and you overcome that. How good did Oklahoma do when Blake Griffin was hurt, they didn't lose they got killed. How good did Davidson do when (Stephon) Curry was out, the Citadel beat them. Marquette hasn't won since Dominic James got hurt. The reality of it is when you lose a great player, you don't win. Yet our team was able to overcome that. Now his nickname is Wally Pipp, we don't talk about it. So we are on our way and on our own. We would have never gotten to that point without the leadership of those kids that are sitting here. Erik (Kangas) has done a tremendous job of that. That's one of our strengths. With the adversity we've had. How did you get to 20 wins with all the things that you went through? Well, it's our leadership."

On OU's depth versus other teams in the league
"I would have a hard time with other teams in the league, because I don't pay that much attention, I worry about us. That's an issue for us. Johnathon Jones is top four or five in the country in minutes played, and I think Kangas is too. One averages 38 minutes per game and the other 37.5. That's an issue for us. If there's a fault, it's mine. I have a hard time not having Johnathon on the floor. I mean I want to win and he's really good, so I try to put my really good players on the floor. It's an issue, and a big issue. I think if we get to Tuesday night, it won't be. The adrenaline of playing on national T.V. for the Holy Grail in our league, getting into the NCAA Tournament, will take care of that. Every kid that I have ever recruited that is their goal, that and playing in the NBA. If we're there, 40 minutes away, I would think that they will give us the best 40 minutes they have. Getting there is the issue. There's lots of ways you can rest a guy. There's eight-and-a-half minutes left in the half and the ball goes out of bounds and I yank JJ out. In 26 seconds there is going to be a media timeout, and then he gets a little extra rest. So you can do those things and it doesn't look like he rested becaue it says 39 minutes in the stats. You cannot win a championship unless you play Tuesday night, so we are not going to do anything trying to be cool, and smart, whatever, and then cost ourselves. We had an 11-point lead and then it went to six when I sat him for two minutes and they got the momentum and it couldn't stop it and we lose. Most likely my 30 years of experience tells me leave his a$$ in there and we will worry about how tired he is on Wednesday. He's got the rest of the year to rest."

On the seed that the tournament champion will get
"Last year Oral Roberts was a 13, and unfortunately they got the worst draw in Pittsburgh, who was no way a No. 4 seed. It's all luck. What happens and who is in that room. I think they are projecting North Dakota State to be a 13 or 14 right now. I've seen them 15 too, I look at those tings a lot. A lot is going to depend on who they beat. If they beat Centenary, IUPUI and us or Oral Roberts, their RPI will probably drop into the 80s. If we lose to Fort Wayne and Oral Roberts loses to South Dakota State, and they end up playing a team that RPI is not very good, then their RPI isn't going to improve. It's not a deciding factor, but it's something that is there so that they can justify what they do. They will do what they want, and justify with those numbers. I think with North Dakota State being new, not a household name, I think they will be disappointed in where they end up a 15, and feel like they should have been a 13 or 14. I hope they are a 13. Now with us, again it will depend on who we play. If we beat Fort Wayne, Oral Roberts and North Dakota State, our RPI will be down to about 110, maybe lower. Then we will be a minimum of a 15, and if we are lucky, maybe a 14. Then it will depend on what takes place in the other tournaments. Maybe somebody is leading their league and they are a 90 RPI, and nobody else is very high in the league, but they lose and the 150 gets the bid and that will bump everybody else up. Right now, if we were to win, based on RPI we would be a 15. A lot of that could depend on the new system of putting you close to home. They can move you one line up or down. Maybe they will keep us in Dayton and make us a 16. Or maybe, the heck with Oakland, who are they, and they will put us in California because that is where they think we are from and we get to move up to a 14."

On the advantage of having a frontline that shoots a high percentage
"I said that field goal percentage is the key and we lead the league in field goal percentage in league games only. I never look at all the stats, really you have to look at the 18 games you play, because we play Oregon, Michigan, Michigan State, Kansas State and Syracuse, and you look at who North Dakota State played that they didn't play that type of schedule. You throw those stats away and you look at lea.gue stats and we are shooting over 50 percent. That is an advantage to us heading into the tournament. Yes I really like our chances because we can get easy baskets. We score a lot of our baskets with four of five feet. When you do that you get to the free throw line and you have a better chance of making it. Now, I don't know how the game is going to be officiated. It's such a toss up when you get to this point. What if Keith Benson gets into foul trouble, what does that do to us? You just don't know what is going to happen. If they let things go, then it's an advantage for us because we are big and strong. If they call touch fouls, then we are going to be in trouble. You just have to be prepared for both. Have different strategies on how the game is going to be officiated."

On whether the theory of it being tough to beat a team three times
"When you have lost twice to somebody, you tell your team they can't beat us three times. When you have won twice, you tell your team hey it's going to be hard to beat them three times. That's what you talk about. The reality of it is that those games are independent of this one. Those games mean nothing, because those games were played earlier and these are the games that count. The pressure of that changes on how this game is played. Whoever wins this tournament has to win three games. Doesn't matter who you play. Nobody gets to be the champion without playing three games. You have to go in there and it doesn't matter who shows up, you have to play. We don't even talk about who we are going to play next becaue we don't care. Somebody is going to show up, we are going to have to play them and we have to score more points then they do. Then on Tuesday, somebody else is going to show up. A lot of times a good team will get beat in a tournament and a lot of people will say, 'Oh you have it easier now,' no, the good team got beat by them and that means they can beat you too. I don't think it means anything, it's just a psychological thing that coaches use."

Junior Johnathon Jones

On what this team looks like when on defensively
“Really anticipating and just playing the whole possession for 35 seconds. When we do that, we’re unstoppable. When we play defense well, that helps our offense. When we get out on the break, we can get shots. It really eliminates what the other team wants to do. We just have to keep doing that in the tournament.”

On seeing his name on ESPN for his assists
“It feels good, but I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, with everyone knocking down shots. When I see that, it’s really a team thing. I give a lot of credit to my teammates for knocking down the shots and really stepping up in key moments. It’s a good thing for me and my school and the recognition that we are out there and people notice that.”

On making the All-Summit League first team
“It’s a big deal. Coming into the season, that was one of my personal goals. Now, I have to take that into the tournament and keep leading the team like I have been and hopefully, we can come out with the championship. It’s a big goal, but I’m not going to take it as much. I’m just going to keep playing well and keep giving my teammates the ball so we can win this whole thing.”

On reaction to finding out they were playing IPFW in the first round
“They’re a tough team and it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row. We have to prepare like we have been the last couple of times and go in there with a mindset that they’re not going to roll over because it is just one game. We have to out there and play hard, because they’re not going to give up and it won’t be an easy win. We have to go there and execute.”

On what IPFW presents offensively
“They really pressure on the wings and pressure on the ball really well, so I have to get past the initial wave of defense to set up our offense and get Kangas and the rest of the shooters and bigs on the inside really involved to help eliminate that.”

On what Oakland brings to the table
“Going into the tournament, we really have to go inside out. No one can really guard our height and then, coming off the bench we have a lot of depth with Stradt (Dan Waterstradt), Blake Cushingberry and Matt (Samuels), so I think they’re going to play a large role in keeping the players rested. I think with Kangas hitting a lot of shots, it’s going to open things up a lot more for our bigs, so they’re really going to get a lot of open looks and one-on-one coverage.”

On feeling whether they feel extra pressure in March
“There’s not much pressure. We’ve been doing this the whole season and we’ve been getting better every day. It’s going out there and executing what we have and really minimizing the mistakes and that’s what we have to do in the tournament. Take away the mistakes and execute.”

Senior Dan Waterstradt

On what this team looks like when on defensively
“I think when we play defense that well, the thing that we’ve committed to this year is communicating. When we’re out there talking, pointing and telling guys coming on whether we’re in zone or not or switching screens, it’s kind of like an anaconda. When they get their prey, it’s just suffocating. They see that and think that’s good defense.”

On mindset of the team entering the tournament
“Right now, like you said, we’re really focused and glad we’re on this seven-game win streak. But, I look at it as part of my job to keep these guys grounded. In years past, I think we got two or three wins under our belt and we started getting over confident and getting a little cocky, thinking that we’re going to come into this building and roll over or win a game just because we’re on a win streak and playing well. Now, we don’t think that. We think we’re going to go in and win, whether we’re down in the first 15 minutes or at halftime, we think we’re going to win and I think that’s what’s different from last year. We went to the tournament and hoped we were going to win, but I don’t think the entire team was behind it. We’re going there now with a good belief that we’re going to take home the championship. We’re really confident, especially with our young guys coming off the bench and playing really well. Matt Samuels is playing really well right now, working his butt off in practice. It’s more confidence than anything and to be able to work hard and have fun at the same time because when you win, you have fun.”

On confidence of being able to win on the road
“Well, in the beginning of the year, I think it was really funny because people said we were a scared team on the road and couldn’t win. It’s funny, because we played Oregon and beat them at their home. That’s one of the toughest places, I think, to play in the country. We played Cleveland State that’s made it in the mid-major poll and we should have won that game. We should have won at Iowa, we lost by eight or nine points. We played Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, which is a tough place to play and we played Kansas State at their place. I think we overcame that tremendously, especially when we went into Las Vegas and took two out of two wins out there. Yeah, we lost to Southern Utah, but I think that was the tail-end of that two-week road trip we were on that was pretty tough. Coming back to now, like I said, we’re playing with a bunch of confidence and everybody is playing extremely hard whenever we’re out there. When you can play hard and play smart, that’s a pretty deadly combination out there.”

On what kind of leader Johnathon Jones is
“He’s a lead by example kind of guy. They kind of hand the talker role over to me, so we get out there and he’ll say his words and when he says something, he means it. It might only be a sentence or two, but he’s saying it from the heart and he means it. But when he goes out there, his role as a scorer can be reduced and become a distributer, that’s what helps our team out. He goes out there and does that and gets the ball into Kito (Keith Benson) and somehow finds Erik Kangas and gets him the ball. That’s when we’re an extremely good team and that’s the type of leader he is. He can get guys the ball when the other teams target them. When Kito’s got somebody up in him or when Kangas has two guys on him, he can get them ball and score. That’s something we need and that’s a reason why we have been so successful this last month.”

On reaction to finding out they were playing IPFW in the first round
“It’s going to be extremely tough because every team when they get into the tournament plays with a lot of emotion because they know it could be their last game. Everyone sees March Madness and anything can happen. Especially here, anything can happen. A couple of years ago, they went in a seventh seed and won it. We’re not taking them lightly, that’s for sure.”

On going into situation of going on the court for maybe the last time
“It’s a weird thing, that’s for sure. You try to convey to the young guys how important it is. It’s my last time and I try to let them know that in little ways. They’re playing hard, so I’m happy, whether we win or lose. As long as they play hard, it makes me happy, but I want to win. Going out there every time is like every time since I’ve been here. You give everything you can and all you have and hopefully, you come out with a win. Every game in that tournament is a tough game and there will be no games you walk through. It’s a weird feeling, but you get past it once the game starts. We just play our game.”

On feeling whether they feel extra pressure in March
“Well, Kampe is our coach, so yes (laughs). Yes and no. I don’t really think about it, personally. When he yells out a play, you know it or you don’t. You should know it by now. You get out there and do what we’ve been doing all year. Hopefully, it’s good enough because I think we’ve proven that we’ve a good offensive and defensive team and we can get after it.”

Senior Erik Kangas

On what steps, as a shooter, taken to adjust to a new arena
“Every basket is only 10 feet, so it’s not a big deal, I hope. I’d just like to go there, take a few shots, go through a good workout and try to get a feel for it.”

On the turning point to go from 3-5 record
“I can’t think of anything specifically. I think the mindset of the team all year was ‘Be consistent.’ We had a tough schedule in the beginning and a long road trip for two weeks and we knew it was going to be tough. We just had to be consistent enough and fight through it.”

On added pressure being a senior
“Definitely, but with the pressure, there’s excitement, too. I think since it’s my last chance, I think that would push me even harder, to never take a play off and make a couple of extra plays. There’s definitely a sense of added pressure because I don’t want to let myself down and let me team down.”

On emergence of Keith Benson and effect on his game
“That means the other teams have to play on us all the time. There’s double teams and they can’t really hedge on me as much, so that gives me more room and I think I give him more room down there too, so it goes both ways.”

On turning from a shooter to a scorer
“I think you have to develop a mindset. When I first came here I was a shooter and that’s what I was for a couple of years until Coach Kampe said, ‘If you want to be great, then you’ve got to be more than one-dimensional.’ I took that and wanted to be great. So, I took that in the off-season and learned to catch and go to the basket, rather than catch and shoot. So, in open gyms, I had to develop a mindset to go to the hoop more often.”

On taking the court knowing it could be the last time he plays
“It’s huge, knowing my career is coming to an end. I really want to play my best and I feel like the one thing I haven’t accomplished is getting into the NCAA tournament and getting that ring. It’s really going to push me and motivate me to play hard.”

On moment that brought team together after Derick Nelson being redshirted
“I think when it happened, we thought it was a major setback. But, I think down the line, everyone’s done a phenomenal job to step up and that’s been the key to overcome the loss of Derick.”

Women's Head Coach Beckie Francis

Opening Statement
“This is an exciting time. We’re entering March and March Madness is always fun, especially if you’re in it. We’ve been having really good practices and we’re on a nice roll right now. The team feels really good and healthy and it’s just a blessing to be where we are. I have great leadership with Jessica Pike, April Kidd and Aubrey Freshour, our seniors. They don’t want this season to end and they act like it. So, we’re just excited to get out there. We have one more practice on this court in about 30 minutes, so we’re excited to go.”

On plan to defeat UMKC and biggest concern for tournament
“The way to beat UMKC is the same thing we’ve done to beat them by double digits both times we played them. They like to penetrate, so we’ve got to really work on containing them and keeping them in front of us and out rebounding them. They have a very good all-league player in Chazny Morris and we were able to contain her. April, Sharise Calhoun and Hanna Reising and a couple of other players have D’ed her up and that’s going to be our focus, to shut her down. Our biggest concern, believe it or not, is that this team wants it so much. My biggest concern is us not calming down and going out, having fun and enjoying the moment, because some coaches have to pump their teams up and get them ready. Their teams wants the season to be over and they’re tired. This team wants it so bad that we have to be careful and that we go out and enjoy it and not get too nervous.”

On Oakland’s depth compared to the rest of the league
“When you asked Coach Kampe that question, I had a warm feeling all over because I said, ‘You’re right.’ That’s why this team is so good and why we have won 24 games because we are deep and we’ve counted on that all year. When we go to the bench in the tournament, it’s not going to be a surprise for them. They’re used to the playing time, used to the minutes, used to crunch time. I’m really looking forward to that. I think both ways is good. I think Kampe has a nice situation too, but it’s comforting to know that our bench has produced all year and they know that we’re going to need them there.”

On how important is tournament from the program’s perspective to get recognition
“I haven’t really haven’t thought about it that way. I really don’t want to put pressure on myself or the team. We’re just looking at this as going in and repeating what Pike just said: we’re just worried about a game on Saturday and not caring what name is across their chest. Then, we have another game on Monday and another game on Tuesday. The media and the hoopla is wonderful and we experienced it April, Riikka Terava’s and Pike’s freshman year and that’s good, but we’re just really focused on playing really well for three games and we don’t care who we play.”

On whether preparing for a team takes on different tact after playing them so recently
“Actually, yes and no. We’ve been preparing and that’s why I love this team because we focus on what we do and maybe eight minutes on defending a pick of what another team does. It was a little relieving that we played them so recently because when go out on the floor in a few minutes here, I can say, ‘Remember that pick we just went over a few days ago?’ And they’ll get it. So, it was a little bit easier preparing, but again, we focus on what we do and give them five to eight minutes of what the other team does. We just want to go out, play well and worry about us.”

On whether you thought the this team would set records like they have in the beginning of the season
“I’m not sure. I do remember every time I came home and my husband would ask me how practice was and I would always say, ‘It was great,’ and I would say that every year 69 out of 70 practices. I think the first indication was with the first couple, and I may use this as a measurement for now on, is we have a drill we use at the end of practice called the two-minute drill. We time it and this team has consistently broken the record for what we have ever had for the eight years I’ve been doing the drill over and over again and I just said, ‘We’re really good and really fast.’ We also can break that record in that drill because we had so much depth and we never had any let down. It didn’t matter who we put in there. It was consistent all year and it was really interesting. Maybe that can be a barometer.”

Senior Jessica Pike

On the mindset set of the team going into the tournament
“We’re just really excited right now. We’ve playing some of our best basketball all year, especially as of late, and our defense has really picked up, so we feel like we’re ready and focused going into this tournament.”

On still having to win two other games to get to the championship
“I heard Coach Kampe say at the men’s press conference that you can’t play the championship game unless you get to Tuesday. So, you have to win those first two games to even get a chance to play. It’s UMKC first for us and they’re going to come out with a vengeance. They’re a seventh seed and they have some really great players. They’re going to try and win and we know that seeds really don’t matter at this point. It’s do or die for everyone.”

On ending career at NCAA Tournament, the same place the seniors started as freshmen
“It would really mean everything to us. To come in as a freshman, it’s almost overwhelming to do that all your freshman year. You almost don’t really know what’s going on, you’re just along for the ride. Now as a senior, it’s why you play, to leave with a championship that last year. That’s what we’ve been talking about all this year since we started.”

Senior April Kidd

On mind set of the team going into the tournament
“I actually feel like we haven’t lost all season. I feel like we have all this confidence going into the tournament and I think we’re going to feed off all that and go out with all of that energy, go out and win.”

On whether it’s a positive to have an ‘us against everybody in the building’ mindset
“I think so. We, like MJ said, for the last two years, we’ve played at Oral Roberts and they’ve had some pretty big crowds and this year, we play in South Dakota with the big crowds. I don’t think that’s anything we can’t handle. We did actually did a pretty good job of playing in their place earlier, so it’s something we have to face when we play them. I think we’re ready for anything that comes at us, especially fans.”

On ending career at NCAA Tournament, the same place the seniors started as freshmen
"I think my freshman year when we won, it was an overwhelming feeling and this year, I don’t even know if the feeling can be bigger, but I feel like it can be. I’m nervous because I want it so bad, so I feel like we’ve already won it. I think that it would be a really big thing if we won this, so we’re going to go get it.”

Junior Melissa Jeltema

On mind set of the team going into the tournament
“It’s just nice to win in the end and have more confidence for the tournament. We’re ready to go.”

On playing in a hostile environment in South Dakota
“We’re just kind of used to that because of the last few years. We played at Oral Roberts and that’s their home, so we’re used to having the fans against us. So, we’re not too worried about that.”

In Sioux Falls

We are in Sioux Falls a chilly day here sort of. despite some travel issues in Detroit/Chicago we are here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Kampe Show or Summit League Tournament Preview Today Due To OC being closed

I'm currently at OUTV in Varner Hall and We are unable to get into the Oakland Center due to the bomb threat so we are unable to get to the WXOU Studio for Kampe's Show and The Summit League Tournament Show. We will see you on Saturday from the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls The Oakland Post has information here

Sunday, March 01, 2009

OU Summit League Tournament Preview Show Tuesday 3-4pm

As The OU Men's and Women's Basketball teams are having the best regular season, with at least 20 wins for each team, since moving to DI we invite Oakland University Men's and Women's Basketball fans to join the WXOU Sports team on Tuesday from 3-4pm for a Summit League Tournament Basketball Preview Show. We will take your calls at 248-370-4274 or your messages on AIM at wxoudj as the Grizzlies Prepare to head to Sioux Falls, SD for a chance to become Summit League Tournament Champions.

Listen Live on 88.3FM or

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Season Thoughts?

I have many thoughts on why OU missed the National Tournament. After today's show I had a few people that said it seemed like I was holding back on a few things and yes that is true. My most specific thoughts and reasons are not for here nor the show.