Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dancing with the Stars: Akron Zips

Conference: Mid-American Conference

Record: 23-12, 9-7

Rankings: 123 (KenPom), 134 (Sagarin), 117 (RPI)

Potential Seed: 15/16

Best Players: Nikola Cvetinovic (12.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.1 apg), Brett McClanahan (10.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.5 apg), Zeke Marshall (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 53% FG)

Big Wins, Bad Losses: Akron's best non-conference win was against Creighton on BracketBusters Saturday when they beat the Bluejays by seven at home. The Zips had just two top 100 wins, both of which came against Kent State, one of them in the league's title game. It wasn't for a lack of trying -- they lost to Dayton, Cleveland State, Miami FL, Temple, and Minnesota.

Tendencies: The Zips biggest tendency this season? Underachieving. Akron was a favorite to win the conference this season, but they struggled mightily away from home and lost some games they probably could have won. The strength of this team is in the front court with Nikola Cvetinovic, Zeke Marshall, and Brett McKnight who combined to win the conference tournament title game with two free throws (McKnight) and a block (Marshall) at the other end.

How They Got There: The Zips tend to play a lot better at home than they do on the road. Akron was 14-2 at home this season but just 4-9 on the road. Luckily for the Zips, the conference tournament was played less than hour from campus, which is probably why the No. 6 Zips won four games in four days.

Outlook: Akron has talent. They played teams tough this year, only getting blown out by Temple in the non-conference. They have some size inside as well. They have the talent to spring an upset if they get the right matchup. The problem? They had such a disappointing regular season that they'll end up playing a team they can't beat.

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