Where is Oakland University? Location, city and more to know about Golden Grizzlies basketball team

The Golden Grizzlies are going dancing.

Every year, mid-major schools that are far from household names play their way into the NCAA Tournament. Oakland University is one of those for 2024, as the program makes its first appearance in March Madness in over a decade. 

Oakland emerged out of the Horizon League this year, winning the school’s first-ever conference championship in men’s basketball. With its auto bid, the Golden Grizzlies were assigned the No. 14 seed in the South region. 

Oakland goes up against a perennial powerhouse in the first round, as Kentucky holds the No. 3 seed in the quadrant. While the location of the University of Kentucky is right there in the name, Oakland University’s location is less obvious. (Spoiler: No, the team is not located in Oakland, California.)

Here’s what to know about the Golden Grizzlies in March Madness

Live NCAA bracket news | TV schedule | Printable PDF

Where is Oakland located?

Oakland University is located in Rochester, Michigan, a city in Oakland County. It is located in the southeastern part of Michigan, sitting between Flint and Detroit. It is worth noting that Oakland’s campuses also extend into Auburn Hills.

Rochester is about 26 miles straight north of Detroit and about 60 miles northeast of Ann Arbor. 

Oakland University has over 50 major buildings, totaling 1,442 acres. It enrolls 12,179 undergraduate students and an additional 3,203 graduate students, per the school’s website

EXPERT PICKS: DeCourcy (UConn) | Bender (UConn) | Iyer (UConn) | Yanchulis (South Carolina women)

What conference is Oakland in?

Oakland’s athletic programs compete in the Horizon Conference. The conference was founded in 1979 and includes 11 teams, all located in the Great Lakes region. 

The current full members of the conference are as follows:

  • Cleveland State
  • Detroit Mercy
  • Green Bay
  • Milwaukee
  • Northern Kentucky
  • Oakland
  • Purdue Fort Wayne
  • Robert Morris
  • Wright State
  • Youngstown State

16 vs. 1 | 15 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5

Oakland name origin

Oakland University was originally named Michigan State University-Oakland when it was first founded in 1957. The school was founded through a donation by Matilda Dodge Wilson, the wife of John Francis Dodge, who established the Dodge motor company in Detroit. 

At its start, the university operated under the Michigan State University Board of Trustees. However, in 1963, it was renamed Oakland University after the county in which the school was located, and by 1970, it became officially independent from Michigan State. 

REGION-BY-REGION GUIDES: South | Midwest | West | East

Oakland NCAA Tournament history

Oakland’s berth to the 2024 NCAA Tournament marks the fourth time the program is competing in March Madness. It has not won a game since 2005, when it made its first appearance and earned a victory in the opening round (which later became the First Four). Oakland has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2011.

Below is a brief summation of those results:

Tournament Result Final game
2005 Won opening round game; 
Lost in first round
96-68 vs. No. 1 UNC
2010 Lost in first round 89-66 vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh
2011 Lost in first round 85-81 vs. No. 4 Texas

UPSET PICKS: 10 seeds | 11 seeds | 12 seeds | 13 seeds

In total, the Golden Grizzlies programs own a 1-3 record at the Division I tournament. 


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