Men's basketball Akron plays Ohio Thursday at 7 p.m. at Rhodes Arena.
Here are five notes about the Bobcats...
Here is my preview of the first game against Ohio.
2) The headline story was
Bubba Walther during Ohio's last two visits to Akron. The Zips held "Benedict Bubba" to a combined seven points in those two games. Tonight's storyline: Considering the other MAC games, Akron has a chance to get back into first place.
3) Akron and Ohio had an
epic matchup on Jan. 20. The Zips fought back from a 16-point second-half deficit to force overtime on a
Brett McKnight tip-in at the buzzer. Akron held the Bobcats to only three field goals in the second half. Ohio regained momentum in overtime with a 7-0 run that turned a four-point Akron lead into a three-point deficit. Regardless, the comeback was noteworthy. So was Akron's defense on MAC Player of the Year frontrunner
Jerome Tillman, who scored only 12 points.
4) Since Jan. 20, Ohio is 4-7. (Akron is 9-3.) Truth is, though, the Bobcats got a lousy draw against the MAC West. They played the best West teams on the road -- where the West teams would be favored -- and the cupcakes at home, where the Bobcats would win easily. Conversely, Akron played the best West teams at Rhodes Arena, where the Zips would probably win. They played the worst West teams on the road, where Akron could still win. It may seem minor, but Ohio is really better than its record. Since we have recommenced MAC East games, Ohio has played Miami and Buffalo at home, trouncing the RedHawks and choking in the final seconds against the Bulls. My point is, Ohio is better than its record. The Bobcats
will be a factor in the MAC Tournament.
5) Ohio gets consistent production from its three seniors: Tillman,
Michael Allen and
Justin Orr. The Bobcats also have some blossoming underclassmen.
DeVaughn Washington is a productive big man who creamed Akron during overtime of that loss.
Steven Coleman will be scoring for
John Groce's team for years to come.
Tommy Freeman's 3-point shooting has helped the team fill Walther's void.
Miscellaneous I just lost $5.
J. Dean Carro approached me and asked if I was attending the basketball game tonight.
Tonight? I assured him that Akron vs. Ohio was Thursday, and today is Wednesday. We bet $5 on the matter. Sure enough, Akron is playing Ohio tonight in
women's basketball, so I owed him $5.
We argued briefly about the meaning of the bet, but I paid up. You pick your fights. Professor Carro also serves as Akron's faculty athletics representative. He will be sitting on the bench tonight during the women's game.
Professor Carro's implicit point is well-taken. I do not cover women's athletics. It's not that I don't care about women's athletics. It's that YOU don't care about women's athletics. With my limited time resources, it makes more sense to write extensively about the two or three sports that I know and that you follow: men's basketball, football and men's soccer.
I'm not a sexist. In fact, I really enjoyed covering Indiana Fever WNBA games two summers ago. Hopefully the players, coaches and administrators recognize that, even in cyberspace, journalists must decide how to allocate their coverage.
On that point, sometimes I wonder if some people within Akron's athletic department would prefer to go back to the beginning of this decade, when the media did not give a zip about the teams and there was little or no Internet presence.
They often complain about my sources. Well, guess what fellas. The journalism industry is allowed to have methods of gathering information other than news releases from GoZips.com and official press conferences. You work at a state institution. We taxpayers cut your paychecks. A side effect of that is that the media is going to be vigilant. We refuse to be spoon fed all of our information.
An example of this is the
Ryan Bain controversy. Some administrators were irate that I
used an inside source to publish the story before the university was ready. You can complain if I'm wrong, but you can't complain if I'm right. I have multiple sources amongst you, and I have a brain that tells me when to be judicious and confirm something with an official source.
On numerous occasions over the last 3.5 years, I have pulled my punches until hearing something on the record from a coach or the sports information director. Also, when I do publish something unsavory, I have been fair. See the above-linked Bain post.
If Bain was not using improper supplements, then I would have a serious libel issue. But he was. And I don't. And when you complain about me being correct, it's a reflection that you are upset because you DO NOT hold a monopoly on information dissemination regarding the Akron Zips.
There are a lot of good people at the athletic department.
Mack Rhoades is a stand-up individual and treats others with respect. Like in any organization, however, there are venomous snakes whose egos cloud their judgment.
Wow. That was a tangent. Professor Carro is not the reason for this rant, but one thing led to another...
Football Tom Gaffney wrote about the beginning of spring camp. The story discusses the new offensive coaches, in particular.