Beilein ending Oakland series


Michigan will play Oakland in basketball on Saturday as the final game of a four-game series. He'd also like it to be the last time his team faces the Golden Grizzlies in the regular season, period.

Beilein said Friday he has no interest in renewing the series with the emerging Summit League and mid-major power.

"No," Beilein said. "Not at all."

This didn't come as a surprise to longtime Oakland coach Greg Kampe. Kampe said Beilein told him he preferred not to play Oakland after this season -- something Kampe appreciated for its honesty.

"He just came right out and said it's not a good game for Michigan," Kampe told WolverineNation earlier this week. "It's a compliment. I accept it. I'd rather have it like that than you're sitting there calling somebody the next 50 years trying to get games and they say 'No, no, we can't, we can't,' and that's out there. People will do that to you.

"So the fact that he will come out there and just say it is a compliment to us and I appreciate his honesty."

Beilein said he is working on getting as many games at Crisler Arena as possible in the future, which is part of the reason for the decision not to renew. The Wolverines, usually, will travel for marquee games as they have gone to Kansas, Connecticut and Duke in recent seasons and will go to Arkansas this season.

For Oakland, it is just part of an increasing challenge to find games. When Oakland initially went to Division I, teams lined up to play the Golden Grizzlies. Now, though, they have become one of the top teams in the Summit League and knocked off Tennessee in back-to-back seasons.

So it is harder to schedule.

"It's tough," Kampe said. "What we're finding is that teams that are ranked in the top 20 will play us but it's those teams that are in the middle of the BCS or the bottom of the BCS leagues that won't play us because they can't afford to get a loss to an Oakland. So that's hard."

That Oakland, which Kampe took from Division II to Division I in the late 1990s, is in this position is something he never thought would happen. Back when the Golden Grizzlies made the move, he just wanted to make sure he would survive.

Now, he has made Oakland thrive.

"Everybody told me that you go through some really hard times, you'll be lucky to still be the coach," Kampe said. "Most of the schools that have done this, there aren't many coaches who survive it. So I've just been very fortunate, and we've had really good players.

"It's funny because I told our president you had to give me 10 years, but I didn't know what I was talking about. But if you would have told me in the year 2000 we would be in the situation we are in now, I probably wouldn't have believed that was going to happen, no. But I'm proud of it. Very proud of it."