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Akron @ Central Michigan - Running game notes

By mrasor Published: January 26, 2008

Men's basketball

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    The pregame hosts kept talking about the game being played at Rose Arena, which sounds a lot like Rhodes Arena. It had me wondering if these guys knew what they were talking about, but they did.
    I was hoping Michael Reghi would announce the game. My wish was granted.
    Isn't it soothing to play a defense that isn't as tenacious as Kent State's?
    The Zips are having their way in getting the ball down to Jeremiah Wood.
    It would be so much fun to be this crain operator. Take a look at that video during the next commercial break.
    Back to the pregame show... The hosts mentioned Cedrick Middleton as being "hot." While I don't expect these guys to know everything about Akron, Middleton has been quite cold since MAC play started. His stats: 27.9 percent from the field, eight assists in five games and 7.6 points per game.
    Keith Dambrot addressed it at the postgame press conference on Wednesday. He said he'd keep riding Middleton. The Zips would be much better off with Darryl Roberts getting some of his 28 minutes per game. As I write that, Middleton nailed a 3.
    Nate Linhart, aka the MVP, had a similar funk early in the season. He came out of it by focusing on defense and not trying to force his shots on offense. The problem with Middleton is that his knees aren't in good shape, so you have to ask whether a comeback is feasible while he is still playing a lot of minutes. Why not give him a couple weeks off to rest?
    Don't get me wrong. Middleton can contribute because of his talent and character. A nagging injury and confidence issue is hindering that.
    Wood has missed a lot of chip shots this game. Still, Akron's doing a good job of swinging the ball and finding him in position.
    Akron is getting rather sloppy with the ball. Nick Dials has at least four turnovers.
    My posts are getting less frequent because my puppy keeps nibbling on my legs. It's cute and painful.
    In other MAC action: Ball State is beating Ohio in Athens, 37-27 with 15 minutes left in the second half. Later today, Eastern Michigan will play at Miami and Buffalo is at Toledo.
    The Zips are in unfamiliar territory. Even in the games they lost, they have held a first-half lead. The Chippewas are playing more like Akron than Akron is. They are running the break and playing tight perimeter defense. Even CMU's post play has been superior.
    I like how CMU is engaging Akron's guards at half court, rather than the 3-point line. I think the Zips would be more effective using that strategy, too.
    This is a frustrating game for Akron offensively. The Zips are missing a lot of easy shots. The turnovers speak for themselves. Combine that with a subpar defensive effort and it should not be surprising Akron's losing. There is a lot of time left, and I still think the Zips will win by at least the spread (six).
    As we all expected, Ohio came back to beat Ball State, 61-59.
    Akron has done an atrocious job of defending Nate Minnoy, who is listed as a swingman, but plays like a power forward. He reminds me of Nate Miller from Bowling Green. Jimmy Conyers is probably the best Zip to stop him, but I haven't seen Conyers since the beginning of the first half.
    Minnoy has 21 points -- 17 coming in the second half. If the Zips lose, blame Dambrot's reluctance to use Conyers on Minnoy and Wood's countless blown layups.
    In his conversation with Dave Ruthenberg, Rick Boyages of the MAC said CMU has trouble getting teams to play in Kalamazoo because of its poor location (not near major airports). Akron is pretty fortunate in that regard.
    Middleton drew a charge on Giordan Watson to give Akron the ball with a chance to win. The Zips called their final timeout. They need to feed Wood. Period.
    Akron drove down and CMU poked it away. Dials tried to return back down the floor with six seconds left. He lost the handle in trying to pass to McNees. McNees eventually gathered the ball, but was swarmed and could not get off a desperation 3-pointer in time.
    Bad defense + disorganized, sloppy offense = loss. This should be a wake-up call for Akron, who will have three days to figure out the offense before Toledo visits on Wednesday.
    Final score -- Akron 64, Central Michigan 65
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