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There's a pretty solid crowd tonight. The sideline bleachers are about 90 percent full.
Zips' starting lineup:
Nate Linhart and
debuted in the top 25 with a 89-83 loss at Bowling Green. Other results: Central Michigan won at Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan won at home over Ball State.
Akron left its fans standing until 18:04 when Wood hit his second free throw.
Your updated MAC standings have Akron 1.5 games behind Western Michigan and Kent State (assuming WMU wins at Toledo tonight). The other MAC game in progress is Ohio at Miami.
Brett McKnight just shot only his second and third free throws of the season. He is 3-for-3 on the year.
Tom Gaffney predicts a .500 record for Akron next season. The NCAA's rule change of moving the 3-point line back one foot will magnify the Zips' lack of a post threat. I project Akron to win 18 games, reserving the right to amend the prediction if
Steve Swiech can score.
You might be wondering why seeding in the MAC Tournament matters, as long as the Zips get a first-round bye. Here's why... A No. 2 or 3 seed gives the Zips one more round in which to avoid Kent State. It's one more round that a team can do Akron's work, by beating the Flashes.
Hopefully the loss to Northern Illinois taught Akron not to toy around with teams. The Zips procrastinated in putting the Huskies away. Before they knew it, there was two minutes left and the Zips were losing by 10.
Steve McNees just hit a 3. It's safe to say he hit the wall. That might be the downside to redshirting a player. If a player plays as a true freshman, he is only a year removed from playing heavy minutes as a high school senior. Last year, McNees rode the bench and heard opposing fans call him "sunshine."
Buffalo has gotten more easy layups against the Zips than any team all season.
The university is holding a charity golf tournament at Firestone Country Club to support athletics. If the tournament is a scramble, and any team needs a long-ball hitter, let me know.
Dials missed a free throw. In related news,
Barack Obama voted against a tax,
Stephon Marbury won the NBA Teammate of the Year award and
Keith Dambrot swore off Diet Pepsi.
Halftime stats: Middleton has 11 points, Buffalo's
Andy Robinson has five rebounds and two Bulls (
John Boyer and
Calvin Betts) have three assists. Akron is shooting 37.5 percent. Buffalo is shooting 45 percent. The Zips are 6-for-12 on 3-pointers, however.
The halftime show was pretty watchable. There were two neat contests and a show of little kids doing dribbling tricks. It greatly exceeds watching little kids dancing. I'll admit, though, it's probably difficult to find entertainment for 15 to 20 games without paying the entire ticket sale profit.
J.D. Brookhart and
Jodi Kest are in the house for tonight's game. Kest warned me about eating too many brownies. Brookhart said the Zips aren't playing too well. Both are probably right.
Presently, Miami is trouncing Ohio, and Western Michigan is drilling Toledo. Zips fans should root for Miami to win because the Bobcats are on the Zips' heels for the No. 3 seed.
Linhart did not shoot or score in the first half. He is in a mini-funk.
Dambrot has been tame toward referees lately, but he just lost it after a ticky-tack Middleton foul. On the topic of fouls, Buffalo must lead the league in "almost fouls." They slap, pull jerseys and bump without breaking the foul threshold.
Buffalo has gone about nine minutes without a field goal. The Zips haven't taken advantage and pulled away.
After I type that, the Zips nailed three consecutive 3-pointers.
I haven't mentioned this yet, but a win tonight will give Akron 20.
Dials missed another free throw. In related news, the owner of the Odd Corner on Exchange Street donated a large sum of money to the Zips football program,
Michael Moore enlisted in the Marines and ESPN's
Skip Baylesscast his vote for
LeBron James as the NBA's MVP.
The fans behind the media row are hollering at the refs over Buffalo's slappy defense. It might have worked. They called a foul the next time up the floor.
The Zips were 14-point
favorites tonight. The Bulls are making it interesting, like they usually do.
Middleton just hit back-to-back 3's. The second went in, out, then back in. The crowd loved it. Middleton has 17 points.
The Zips have made 11 3's tonight. The flipside is they have only made six regular baskets, going 6-for-23 on non-3's. Part of that is Wood's fault. He's 3-for-9.
MAC update: Miami is up 23 two minutes into the second half. WMU is ahead 12 with 11 minutes to play.
The women's track team
won the MAC Indoor Championship. The men finished second. I would like to write more about track and the other sports, but I simply don't have the time with school accounting for about 60 hours a week. My apologies.
Linhart joined the 3-fest with his first field goal. That makes 13 total.
Greg Gamble leads Buffalo with 18 points. Gamble is from Niagara Falls, which reminds me, I'm really craving a gambling trip to Niagara Falls.
The Zips, and particularly Linhart, have done a good job on Robinson, Buffalo's usual leading scorer. He has only four points on five attempts. Robinson does lead the Bulls with seven rebounds. Wood leads both teams with eight boards.
Akron has 18 turnovers and only 14 assists. The team pulled its shooting percentage up to 43 percent, which is the bottom line of how they will have won.
The fans are chanting, "We want Goddard." I don't think Dambrot will put him in because of the last-second 3's he jacks up, which tend to embarass the other team. On the other hand, there's no reason for the starters to be on the floor.
Now the AK-Rowdies are chanting "first-round bye," which the Zips clinched with the win.
Middleton finished with 20 points. Dials had 17. Wood had 10 and nine rebounds.
Next up is a Tuesday game at Ohio. It looks like it might be televised.
Final score -- Akron 76, Buffalo 56