Coaches are famous for praising their opposition, regardless of whether or not its merited. It happens at every level, but especially in college basketball when high-major programs play teams from non-BCS conferences early in the season.
Indiana coach Tom Crean had plenty of good things to say about Tuesday's opponent, Oakland, when he met with the media on Monday afternoon. In this case, though, Crean's praise is probably warranted.
When Oakland visits Assembly Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, Indiana (7-2) will see the nation's top 3-point shooter in Travis Bader.
Bader, a 6-foot-5 senior from Michigan, has made 396 shots from beyond the arc in his four-year career. For reference, Duke's J.J. Redick holds the all-time collegiate record with 456 career 3s. That record is very attainable for Bader, who as already made 40 3s in nine games this season.
And while Bader is certainly a volume shooter -- he attempts just under 11 3-pointers per game -- he shoots a pretty good percentage. For the season, he's shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, and he made 39 percent of his attempts last season.
"Never stops moving. He's got some traits of some of the Michigan guys in the past," Crean said. "He does a great job of getting open. He pushes off to get open, he shot fakes, he definitely knows how set you up. He switches speeds, he can shoot it off either foot, which is a real strong trait for a great shooter. He doesn't have to square his feet up to make a shot.
"He's only a threat every time he's got it."
Crean called Bader a "better moving Cooney," referencing the Syracuse guard that scored 21 points on the Hoosiers last week. Bader is averaging a team-best 21.1 points per game, and he also shoots it 95 percent from the foul line.
Added Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell: "He can get the ball up pretty quick, I would say as quick as Cooney. And he's knocking them down. There can be no air space because he can fire from NBA range or anywhere. We've just got to limit his touches."
Oakland has several good individual players, but the Golden Grizzlies have struggled to a 2-7 start this season. They lost seven straight games to begin the year, including a 23-point loss at North Carolina, a 31-point defeat at UCLA, and a 15-point loss at Gonzaga.
Petros, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center, is averaging 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He has three double-doubles as well, so he figures to be a good matchup for freshman Noah Vonleh.
"He's getting better all the time," Crean said. "He's a high-level player. He's just one of those guys, he can score. He screens well, he's got the pick and roll game, he's in good shape.
"They've got some high level players. That's one of the reasons ESPN chose to air this game. They want something to draw some attention."
Mondy, a guard, is currently leading the nation in steals with 4.2 per game.
KenPom.com ranks Oakland 160th out of 351 Division 1 teams. That is one spot below Evansville, a team that visited Assembly Hall recently.