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University of Akron Zips blog

Gameday news and notes

By mrasor Published: March 4, 2007

Men's basketball

It seems like there is an abnormal amount of buzz in the community about tonight's game.

A lot of non-Zips fans are asking me about it. A lot of people were talking about it last night at the bars.

(That gave me the opportunity to start my first-ever "Kent State sucks" chant in a public place that's not Rhodes Arena. A Flashes fan responded by displaying the double-fisted bird.)

  • The ABJ's Stephanie Storm previewed the game by talking about the buzz, as well. She mentioned Cedrick Middleton is battling some nagging injuries.

  • The Record Courier talks about some of the celebrities expected to be on hand tonight at the sold-out M.A.C. Center.

  • Kent State is a two-point favorite with the over-under at 140.

  • Danny Sheridan likes the Flashes by 2.5 points.

Here are some things to watch for tonight...

  • As bad as the Zips are at foul shooting, Kent State is worse. The Flashes make a Chris Dudley-like 64.7 percent of their free throws.

  • Akron holds a large advantage on the perimeter. Kent State gives up 3s and, except for Armon Gates, doesn't shoot them very well, either.

  • Julian Sullinger and Mike Scott played well in the first meeting. They profited off Omni Smith's penetration. Sullinger and Scott crashed the boards and scored on many easy putbacks.

  • More apologies go out to Toledo fans, but you'll see the MAC's best coaches and teams duel tonight in the most raucous atmosphere the conference will ever see.

I have to admit I was wrong. I thought Kent State's rebuilding would be much rockier. Jim Christian is my MAC Coach of the Year for making it all work, despite some chemistry and discipline problems.

The Flashes may be as talented as the Zips. They lack experience, but you can definitely see how this rivalry will continue to flourish the next few seasons.

Earlier in the year, I said there would be four MAC games Akron would lose. Kent State, Miami, Ohio and Toledo was the list.

I need to amend that. I really think the Zips are ready to win a big road game. It's hard to say if this will even be a road game in terms of fan support, anyhow.

To win, Akron needs to close the spigot on Kent State's guard penetration. A zone defense might be appropriate, considering the Flashes aren't a great shooting team.

It should be an amazing game and serve as an appetizer for March Madness.

College basketball rules.

Prediction: Akron 70, Kent State 64

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