December 14, 2007 6:58 pm ET by Kyle Whelliston
Miami (Oh.) (MAC) at Wright State (Horizon)
Ervin J. Nutter Center - Dayton, OH
7:00 PM EST
As we ease back into post-exam hoops, that little bridge across the holidays towards conference season, we have two teams that won their respective leagues last year. Both teams play slow, bruising styles that have earned them their respective championships, so this weekend the "O" in G!O!T!N! might just stand for "ouch."
Miami has been idle for 11 days, so you might have forgotten about the Redhawks. Remember how Atlantic 14 standout Xavier has that one loss? Miami gave it to 'em. Don't mind that 4-3 record, the drops have been by a combined eight points and came to two power-conference teams and Dayton -- this is a team that plays smart, fundamental-oriented basketball, fouling and turning the ball over about as seldom as a team can. And there's also the team's emergent heart/soul guy: the day after Michael Bramos' selection as MMBOW two weeks ago, he keyed a blowout win against Indiana State the next day. Bramos is averaging 20.4 ppg, and is good at basketball.
The Raiders also have three losses, but like Miami they aren't thinking at-large, they're out to grind down their conference opposition and be the last standing. You know, like last year, when they beat nationally-ranked Butler twice down the stretch and claimed the Horizon League's auto-bid. Wright has already beat Butler this season, and Year Two of the Brad Brownell era is shaping up to be plenty of the same sort of grinding, guts-on-the-floor stuff as last. Keep an eye out for two emerging sophomore guards, Todd Brown and Vaughn Duggins, who have combined for nearly 30 points. This B&D combination may be SFW, but it's still plenty nasty.
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