My sincerest apologies for writing about football, instead of futbol or men's basketball, the past week.
Anyhow, Keith Dambrot's Zips announced their 2011-12 schedule, which includes the first-ever visit to Rhodes Arena of a reigning NCAA regional champion (Virginia Commonwealth).
The press release is below. Scroll beneath it for a poll...
AKRON, Ohio – A visit from 2011 Final Four participant VCU in December and an appearance in the 2011 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer in November highlight the 2010-11 schedule for The University of Akron men's basketball team, which was finalized on Wednesday.
The non-conference slate includes six teams with 19-plus wins and six teams that played in the postseason in 2011, highlighted by the first Final Four team (VCU) to appear at James A. Rhodes Arena following its Final Four run.
"We have a very competitive schedule with some tough games both on the road and at home," eighth-year Akron head coach Keith Dambrot said. "West Virginia will be in the top-20 while teams like VCU, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Cleveland State and Detroit are favorites in their respective conferences."
The Zips open the season at home with an exhibition match-up with John Carroll on Nov. 3 before hitting the road to open the season on Nov. 9 for their first game of the 2K Sports Classic. The game's opponent and location will be announced at a later time.
Akron returns home on Nov. 12 to face Hiram College for the first time since the 1986-87 season before hitting the road once more to continue the 2K Sports Classic on Nov. 18-20. Those opponents will also be announced at a later date.
The squad closes out the month of November with a home contest against Detroit on Nov. 26 and a visit to Morgantown, W.Va., to face former Zips' head coach Bob Huggins (1984-89) and West Virginia on Nov. 28.
The month of December sees the Zips play host to five teams following trips to Middle Tennessee (Dec. 4) and Cleveland State (Dec. 10). Akron will face Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 15), Florida A&M (Dec. 17), Youngstown State (Dec. 19) and North Carolina A&T (Dec. 21) at Rhodes Arena before taking a break for the holiday.
Akron closes out 2011 with a visit from former assistant coach Shaka Smart (2003-06) and VCU on Dec. 29. In addition to being the first Final Four program from the previous season to visit the JAR, the Rams will be the first to visit a Mid-American Conference program since the 1997-98 season (Kentucky at Ohio).
The new year will have Akron on the road in Huntington, W.Va., for a battle with former MAC foe Marshall on Jan. 1. The Zips' final non-conference tilt will come in February when they hit the road for their ninth ESPNU BracketBusters contest. An opponent for that game will be announced in January.
The Zips open conference play with two road games – at Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 7 and at Bowling Green on Jan. 11 – before returning home to face off against Ohio on Jan. 14. Akron closes out its first swing through the MAC East with a road game at Buffalo (Jan. 18) and a home meeting with rival Kent State (Jan. 21).
The MAC West portion of the schedule will have Akron on the road to face Ball State (Jan. 24) and Central Michigan (Jan. 28) before home dates with Toledo (Feb. 1) and Eastern Michigan (Jan. 4). The Zips will close out cross-divisional play at Western Michigan on Feb. 8 and at home against Northern Illinois on Feb. 11.
Akron will enter the homestretch with return visits from Miami (Ohio) (Feb. 15) and Bowling Green (Feb. 22) before traveling to Ohio on Feb. 25. The squad closes out conference play with senior day against Buffalo on Feb. 29 and the season finale at Kent State on either March 2 or 3.
The MAC Tournament will take place March 7-10, 2012, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, with opening round games at campus sites on March 5. This season, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will earn a bye into the semifinals while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds earn a bye into the quarterfinals.
The Zips enter the 2011-12 season following their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last three seasons after knocking off neighborhood rival Kent State 66-65 in overtime in the MAC title game on March 12. UA fell to Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to finish the season with a 23-13 record.
Akron has posted six-straight 20-win seasons, just one of 20 Division I programs to accomplish the feat during that stretch, and has advanced to five-straight conference title games – the third-longest active streak in the nation (Gonzaga 14, Butler 6). The Zips have advanced to the postseason in four-straight and five of the last six seasons, participating in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2011, the National Invitation Tournament in 2006 and 2008, and the CBI in 2010.
Season ticket renewal information has been mailed and season tickets are on sale now. Season ticket prices for lower reserved seats at mid-court (sections C and K) are $760 ($500 Z-Fund donation), lower reserved seats at the 3-point lines (sections B, D, J and L) are $510 ($250 Z-Fund donation) and lower reserved seats on the baselines (sections A, E, I and M) are $360 ($100 Z-Fund Donation). Upper reserved season tickets are $185 and, new for 2011-12, general admission season tickets are on sale for $75 (50 percent savings on single-game pricing).
Family packages are also on sale for $210. Fans can add a women's basketball season ticket package to their men's package for the price of $30 for an adult, $25 for youth (ages 3-14) or $50 for a family package.
Akron fans can also purchase the "Zips All-Access 10-Pack." This unique ticket package includes 10 vouchers, redeemable for general admission tickets to any 2011-12 regular-season home athletics contest for the Zips five ticketed sports as well as 10 buy-one, get-one-free breakfast or lunch extra value meal coupons at McDonald's – all for just $100.
Tickets can be purchased online via the ticketing page on GoZips.com, by phone at 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or in person at the Akron Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the intersection of E. Exchange and S. Union streets), Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET.
2011-12 University of Akron Men's Basketball Schedule
Thurs., Nov. 3 – John Carroll (Exhibition)
Wed., Nov. 9 – at 2K Sports Classic
Sat., Nov. 12 – Hiram
Fri., Nov. 18-20 – at 2K Sports Classic
Sat., Nov. 26 – Detroit
Mon., Nov. 28 – at West Virginia
Sun., Dec. 4 – at Middle Tennessee
Sat., Dec. 10 – at Cleveland State
Thurs., Dec. 15 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Sat., Dec. 17 – Florida A&M
Mon., Dec. 19 – Youngstown State
Wed., Dec. 21 – North Carolina A&T
Thurs., Dec. 29 – VCU
Sun., Jan. 1 – at Marshall
Sat., Jan. 7 – at Miami (Ohio)*
Wed., Jan. 11 – at Bowling Green*
Sat., Jan. 14 – Ohio*
Wed., Jan. 18 – at Buffalo*
Sat., Jan. 21 – Kent State*
Tues., Jan. 24 – at Ball State*
Sat., Jan. 28 – at Central Michigan*
Wed., Feb. 1 – Toledo*
Sat., Feb. 4 – Eastern Michigan
Wed., Feb. 8 – at Western Michigan*
Sat., Feb. 11 – Northern Illinois*
Wed., Feb. 15 – Miami (Ohio)*
Sat., Feb. 18 – at ESPNU BracketBusters
Wed., Feb. 22 – Bowling Green*
Sat., Feb. 25 – at Ohio*
Wed., Feb. 29 – Buffalo*
Fri./Sat., March 2-3 – at Kent State*
Mon., March 5 – MAC Tournament Opening Round, Campus Sites
March 7-10 – MAC Tournament, Quicken Loans Arena
* – Mid-American Conference Contest