After reading several of your e-mails, I think Zips fans have reached a consensus: Akron will only play in the NCAA Tournament by winning the MAC Tournament.
With an RPI of 197, the Zips will need a nearly flawless remainder of the regular season to be a bubble team. And as Ray Mernagh showed in his new book, 1 Chance 2 Dance, the selection comittee probably considers the MAC a one-bid conference.
The Zips had perhaps their last chance to make an argument against that on Saturday. Despite only losing by two, Akron lost respect in the Mid-Major Top 25, falling from ninth to 14th.
With the MAC, as a whole, lacking big wins this season, even a 14-2 or 13-3 conference record won't impress the committee much. The Zips would need to couple that with a win over a big name in the Bracket Buster game and breezing through the remaining scheduled nonconference games against Loyola Marymount, Youngstown State and Duquesne.
In many ways, this team has exceeded my expectations. Jeremiah Wood is the same energetic rebounder and scorer that I remember before his knee injury. Nick Dials has looked better without his knee brace. Team defense has been excellent.
Unfortunately, the Zips lost three games by a combined 10 points. Those 10 points will likely be the reason Akron must win it all in Cleveland.
Either today or tomorrow, I will break down Loyola Marymount, Akron's opponent on Friday.
Andy Alleman said he didn't get anything really cool for Christmas.
It was the day after when he received an invitation to the NFL Combine in the mail.
The event, Feb. 21 through 27, includes about 10 players at each position most likely to be drafted.
If you remember, Domenik Hixon was not invited last year, but the Broncos still drafted him in the fourth round.
Alleman might have even higher potential. NFLDraftScout.com lists him as a third or fourth rounder and the fourth-best guard in the draft. The site also says his stock is rising.
If you haven't noticed, the Cleveland Browns could really use two guards. They will probably go through free agency for one, the draft for the other. You might see Alleman follow Charlie Frye north on I-77.
"It would be nice to go there," Alleman said. "Believe me."