Akron ( #13, South, Portland pod)
vs. Gonzaga (#4)
Thurs., 3/19 at 7:25 PM
Vegas Line: Akron, +11.5
Location: Akron, Ohio
Conference: MAC, At-large
Coach: Keith Dambrot, 206-110
08-09 Record: 23-12, 10-6
Last 12 Games: 8-4, won 4 straight
Best Win: 63-59 at Niagara, December 1
Worst Loss: 83-79, at Northern Illinois, February 15
Off. Efficiency Rating: 101.4, 172nd
Def. Efficiency Rating: 92.0; 10th
Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Nate Linhart, 10.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Unsung Hero: Humpty Hitchins, 8.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): None
Key Injuries: Freshman PG Humpty Hitchins, left ankle sprain. Missed MAC semifinals, but returned (limited) for title game
Depth: 36.5% (53th nationally), percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Shooting; avg 41.9% from field (246th nationally) and prone to foul trouble (avg over 20 fouls per game)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Hell freezes over
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Gonzaga doesn’t run out of gas in the team bus on the way to the arena
Last Year Invited: 1986, lost in 1st round to Michigan 70-64
Best NCAA Finish: 1986, lost in first round
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): Not enough data (Minimum 8 bids)
Six Degrees to Detroit: Akron football team won first-ever MAC football title with win in MAC Championship at Ford Field in Detroit in 2005
Distance to First Round Site: 2470 miles.
School’s Claim to Fame: LeBron James is from Akron and played for Zips Head Coach Keith Dambrot at St. Vincent/St. Mary High School. He occasionally goes back to work out with team.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Losses in the previous two MAC title games. Lost in 2007 on buzzer-beater by Miami and were beat by 19 by arch-rival Kent last season.
Prediction: After getting so close to the postseason the past two years, the Zips finally broke through and won the MAC Tournament for the first time ever. It gets the Zips back to the Big Dance for the first time since 1986 when a guy by the name of Bob Huggins led the Zips through the Ohio Valley Conference and into the NCAA Tournament. Huggins went on to bigger and better things. The Zips floundered for years. Finally Keith Dambrot has them in the tourney, but unfortunately that will be the high point for them. Akron just hasn’t matched up with NCAA tournament-bound programs this year, much like the rest of the MAC. They lost to Pitt by 19, Dayton by 4 and VCU by 4. They also lost by 19 to the A-10′s Rhode Island. Don’t expect much from Akron. Gonzaga should roll in this one.
Major RTC stories: Rydell’s Excessively Tinted Windows
Preview written by Greg Miller of WPSD Local 6