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The Zips are 6.5-point favorites. In other MAC spreads, Western Michigan is a two-point favorite over the higher-seeded Central Michigan. Kent State is a five-point favorite over Ohio. Buffalo is favored by a point over Miami.
I am in class right now (or class is about to start, if you're one of my professors reading this). But at 12:15, I'll be heading to Cleveland to catch the end of the CMU-WMU game, which will determine Akron's next opponent.
Here are some articles to read at the office while you're waiting for the game to start: Read Tom Gaffney's article about the women's win last night. Gaffney also broke down today's game, saying Akron is looking for a repeat of last year's streakiness. The Buchtelite did a nice job breaking down the men's bracket. In the Eastern Echo, EMU coach Charles Ramsey says his team has a certain confidence against the Zips.
(This next article deserves a blog paragraph of its own.) Habitual truth-teller Terry Pluto wrote about what it will take for the MAC to regain its status of 10 years ago: better scheduling and winning a game or two in the NCAA Tournament.
I am in Cleveland on press row. Western Michigan has come back from a 13-point second-half deficit to take the lead with 3:44 remaining. David Kool is leading WMU with 19 points. Robbie Harman has 18 for CMU.
I was on campus today for a class and a seminar. It's the best time of the year to be a college student--when the skies clear and the sun melts. People are outside for reasons other than walking to class. It seems like everyone is in a better mood. I will miss it next year when I have to be in an office all day.
Speaking of next year, I was thinking that this might be my final weekend of covering sports. I am nowhere close to deciding whether I will keep blogging after taking the bar, but it's likely that my new job at a law firm in Cleveland (along with city council) will preclude it. If I had to guess, I would say that I'll try to do it, and keep doing it until it becomes too much, or until I feel that I can't give my best effort. Gaffney keeps reminding me that I have to blog until he retires (because he doesn't want them to ask him to blog). He's half joking, I think. Michael Beaven would do, and has done, a great job in my stead. We'll see...
WMU has opened up a five-point lead with 2:41 to play. Who would be the better matchup for Akron? The Zips played both teams on the road, beating WMU by nine in regulation and overcoming CMU by four in overtime. Still, I don't know if I want to play Kool (the MAC Player of the Year) in what could be his final collegiate game.
Down six, CMU missed a 3-point attempt. They fouled. Demetrius Ward is at the line for two with a chance to ice it. He missed both. Uh oh. Nevermind. CMU missed another 3 and committed another foul.
It's 2:15 and this game isn't over yet. I assume they'll need 30 minutes between games. That is bad news for the likelihood I'll be able to stay for the entire Zips game. I have a council meeting at 6:15 in Stow. And no, I don't want to risk getting stuck in Cleveland traffic while council is considering the 2010 budget.
WMU missed two more free throws. CMU finally decided to get a layup. The lead is four with 33 seconds left. Kool is at the line.
After some more missed CMU attempts and made WMU free throws, the game is over. So too might be CMU's status as one of the better MAC West teams. Losing its two senior guards, Harman and Jordan Bitzer, will hurt. CMU also will lose its fourth- and fifth-leading scorers. Final score: WMU 69, CMU 60. The Broncos will face either Akron or Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
We are four minutes into the game, but I haven't blogged yet because of a couple technical problems, which are now cured.
Humpty Hitchens and Brandon Bowdry got hit with dual technical fouls because of a skirmish they had in the post.
The media received a notice of "probable starters" that listed Nik Cvetinovic as starting. Zeke Marshall ended up starting. I wonder if this was a game-time hunch of Keith Dambrot.
Cvetinovic easily took Bowdry off the dribble. To say Bowdry was a step slow would be a compliment to the EMU forward. Cvetinovic dumped the ball off to Marshall for a powerful dunk.
A hoard (flock?) of Eastern Michigan fans is sitting behind me. It's novel to hear frustration from fans other than the vocal ones who are normally near me at Rhodes Arena.
Hitchens and Ronnie Steward are on the court together. From across the floor, I'm not sure I can tell them apart. They have similar body types and hair styles.
Jamell Harris banked in his first free throw, then made his second. I almost wonder if it was intentional. Maybe he was paying tribute to a friend or maybe he lost a bet.
EMU moved into a 2-3 zone.
Justin Dobbins has made two consecutive attempts from the post. He celebrated the second with a dance that looked like he was trying to shake ants out of his underbritches. Part II of the celebration included an airball of the and-one attempt.
Two Akron players who will play well this weekend: Darryl Roberts and Cvetinovic.
Three-thirty p.m. is coming. Why is that significant? Sources tell me that's when the fill the media room with food. And let me tell you, food at The Q is exquisite. Last year, it was a seafood/pasta concoction that I can still taste ... scallops, shrimp, crab (imitation or not, it didn't matter).
Neither team has made a run yet. That is unusual in these games. It very well might be a grind-it-out game.
I wish I could be writing more right now for those of you sitting in your offices, but this game is rather dull. With three minutes left in the half, both teams are one foul away from the double-bonus.
Akron's fan turnout is pretty good. There are about 50 AK-Rowdies sitting in the lower bowl. Standing in the lower bowl, that is.
Bowdry has 10 points. He is so athletic and active. If only he could hit the occasional 12-footer, he'd be First-Team All-MAC. In reality, he can't shoot worth a lick.
Akron got the last shot of the half. EMU trapped Steve McNees on one sideline. McNees chucked it across the court to Conyers, who hit a 3 at the buzzer. The Zips ended the half on a 9-1 run.
Marshall scored six points for Akron to start the second half. Watch out if he gets motivated.
Cvetinovic took a fade-away 16-footer with a hand in his face. The result was an airball and Dambrot throwing his hands in the air. This was part of a series of bad possessions that permitted a 7-0 EMU run.
I'm sitting next to Mike Hrusch, Ohio.com's Kent State blogger. He says that the worst three teams for Kent to play are Akron, Ohio and Buffalo--not necessarily in that order. Ironically, those are probably the teams Kent will play.
Marshall wisely was playing off Bowdry, who was a step inside the 3-point line. Bowdry fired a bottle rocket off the side of the rim. The more this guy thinks he can shoot, the better it is for opponents.
Carlos Medlock leads the game with 15 points, but Roberts is playing tight defense on him, fighting through screens.
EMU's coach, Ramsey, spent a bulk of the media timeout staring down two referees. He joined the huddle eventually.
Akron is using an unusual three-guard, two-center lineup.
The Eagles clawed back to within three.
The McKnights have combined for five points, seven fouls and zero mentions in the blog until now.
Cvetinovic fouled out with 7:25 left. He did a great job on Bowdry. Mike Bardo is at the end of Akron's bench stretching out his ankle. Both McKnights now have four fouls, so the Zips might need a body to bang against Bowdry and Dobbins.
A fan behind me (who sounds knowledgeable about basketball) is praising Akron for its guard play, saying McNees and Hitchens are difficult because they can both get into the lane and they can both shoot.
The ball went out of bounds and neither ref in position knew who touched it last. Apparently, neither did McNees, whom the EMU players claimed the ball went off. McNees called for a jump ball. The refs did him one better and gave the ball to Akron.
Chris McKnight fouled out on a call that is getting Akron fans really upset. He came under the arms of Bowdry after Bowdry pulled down a rebound.
Dambrot is stomping his feet after a traveling violation. The fans are really getting upset at the refs, too. The AK-Rowdies are chanting: "Don't drink and ref." Hitchens picked up his fourth foul on another questionable whistle.
Unfortunately, I have to get out of here. I can't afford to get stuck in traffic and be late to the council meeting. I'll blog from tomorrow's game if Akron is still alive.
4:42 -- Akron 61, Eastern Michigan 56