FORT WAYNE – In a scheduling rarity, the IPFW men’s basketball team could play Summit League rival Oakland three times over the next 18 days.
IPFW plays Oakland tonight at Memorial Coliseum, travels to Rochester, Mich., to play the Golden Grizzlies again March 2, and, as a possibility, could face Oakland in the first round of the conference tournament March 9 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Tucked between the first and second games against the Grizzlies will be IPFW’s BracketBusters game against Bowling Green on Saturday.
“If we split with Oakland and North Dakota State wins (over Omaha), we play Oakland 4-5,” IPFW coach Tony Jasick said, citing Oakland’s possible No. 4 seed in the league tournament, and IPFW’s possible No. 5. “If we get swept by Oakland and North Dakota State wins, we will play North Dakota State. If we sweep Oakland, we will play Oakland. There’s a high likelihood that we’ll play them again.”
The wild cards are South Dakota and UMKC, the current sixth and seventh seeds. Should IPFW lose both games to Oakland, which comes into the Coliseum on a seven-game winning streak, and South Dakota and UMKC win their final two games, both could slip past and drop the Mastodons into the seventh seed.
But first things first. Oakland, Game 1, gets immediate priority.
“Forget the fact that they’re really talented, and Travis Bader is an elite-level shooter,” Jasick said.
Bader, who lit up IUPUI for 47 points this season, is often compared with South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters, whose final visit into the Coliseum netted him 53 points.
“Wolters shoots 37 percent from three and he makes six in a row off the dribble – most of them from behind the NBA line,” Jasick said, recalling the Jackrabbits’ 80-74 win. “ … He had to score 53 to beat us.
“He’s got the ball in his hands all the time, and he makes his team significantly better by distributing the ball. Travis Bader is a catch-and-shoot guy. That poses different problems than a point guard who gets everybody involved. But I will say this: Travis Brader is a significant part of our scouting.”