The Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com has bought out Rasor on the Zips.
Don't worry, I will still blog each day. I just have a different employer.
If you think about it, it makes sense. Writing an unbiased blog about the university that pays me is a giant conflict of interest.
Here are some good stories from today's Buchtelite...
¥ Sports editor Adam Ferrise breaks down Akron's fearsome defense. ¥ I broke down Eastern Michigan. It's a different story than the preview I posted below. ¥ Ferrise talks about the BracketBuster matchup with Austin Peay. ¥ My column asks students why they don't attend Zips games. (The average student attendance is 358.) I'll post the column below...
I didn't see you at the Zips game Saturday.
Yes, you - the typical University of Akron student reading this column.
Only 379 of you showed up Saturday to watch the most dominant UA squad since the university went to Division I in 1981. And that is higher than the average student turnout this season of 358.
Yes, that means only 1.5 percent of the students care enough to attend a game for their Mid-American Conference-leading Zips.
On Saturday, they muzzled a potent Western Michigan offense. Akron put together some terrific possessions on the other side of the floor, too.
Watching these games, you needn't worry about boredom. They make defense fun to watch. Junior center Quade Milum hops like a track star. In fact, he is one. Most of his leaps are used to swat interior shots.
Akron also boasts a tremendous athlete at guard named Cedrick Middleton. With his slashing to the hoop, long-range shooting, speed and defense, he might be the most complete player in the Mid-American Conference.
Heck, I haven't even mentioned seniors Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis - LeBron's buddies who have been the anchors for Keith Dambrot since he took over as coach.
You're missing a lot. Oh yeah, and the games are free for students, too.
I don't mean for this to be a pep rally on a newspaper sheet. I see the lack of student attendance as a shame for each of you who sit home. You are missing high-energy basketball.
I am well-acquainted with your excuses. You are skeptical. This is not the ACC, or even the Missouri Valley Conference. A MAC school has little chance to make SportsCenter highlights, much less the Final Four. I won't dispute that.
A couple of my friends are non-Zips fans, but they gave the team a chance on Saturday. They left Rhodes Arena impressed by the product of basketball the Zips display. In fact, my buddies plan to return for the final five home games.
It shouldn't be all on the students, however. The athletic department must do its job, too. The game-day production is shoddy. Most of the students are sprinkled throughout the bleachers.
How about killing the lights during player introductions? What about placing a larger student section - not exclusively for AK-Rowdies - behind the visitors' bench? I'd like to see a halftime show that is moderately entertaining. (In other words, playing "Let's Make a Deal" with silly prizes is out). Let's also advertise with more billboards to create a buzz in the community.
I'm sick of hearing about Greg Oden and the Buckeyes, who play basketball 125 miles away from where we live. Let's have some hometown pride. Water cooler discussions should focus on Akron, not a school in Columbus.
So here's the plan. Find a friend and demand you guys spend a couple hours taking in a Zips game.
You will come back.
Sorry about the delay, but here are some things to read between breaks in the action tonight...
¥ Tom Gaffney discusses several different issues regarding the crossover games and Northern Illinois. ¥ Danny Sheridan says Akron will win by nine. ¥ So do oddsmakers.
Akron minus nine is exactly what I predicted the line at yesterday. Therefore, I can't really make a guess either way.
You can watch the game through NIU's site by clicking here. Then click the Akron game. Then click "watch" on the right side of the screen. It should work as long as you have a new version of Internet Explorer.