The University of Akron men’s basketball team was selected to win two Mid-American Conference titles in a preseason poll released by the league office Wednesday morning.
The Zips were picked to win the 2009-10 MAC East Division and MAC Tournament titles under the direction of coach Keith Dambrot.
UA won the MAC Tournament this past season and made the NCAA Division I Tournament for the second time.
The Zips also had junior forward Brett McKnight and sophomore guard Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens selected to the preseason All-MAC East team. They are two of the ten men's basketball players selected to the preseason All-MAC teams for the East and West Divisions.
Kent State and Buffalo were picked to finish second and third, respectively, behind UA in the MAC East.
Central Michigan was picked to win the MAC West title. Northern Illinois and Eastern Michgan rounded out the top three in the MAC West.
The poll was announced during the MAC’s preseason media teleconference and was determined by a 24-member MAC News Media Panel. UA was picked by 19 of the 25 voters to win the MAC East and MAC Tournament championships.
UA returns 13 letter winners, including four starters, to a team that compiled a 23-13 overall record and were 10-6 in the MAC.
The Zips returning starters are Hitchens, senior forward Chris McKnight, senior guard Darryl Roberts and sophomore forward Nikola Cvetinovic. The only starter lost was Nate Linhart, a four-year standout forward.
Key UA reserves returning are Brett McKnight, senior forward Jimmy Conyers, junior guard Steve McNees, junior center Mike Bardo and sophomore guards Brett McClanahan and Ronnie Steward.
The 2009-10 Zips will also feature highly-touted 7-foot freshman center Zeke Marshall, a consensus top-100 recruit and rival.com’s highest-ranked player to ever sign with a MAC school.
The Zips qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season after winning the MAC Tournament title by defeating Buffalo at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. UA then lost to Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.
UA hosts Mount Union in an exhibition game on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Rhodes Arena. The Zips open the regular season at home against Austin Peay on Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.