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Shaka Smart leads VCU to Final Four

By Michael Beaven Published: March 28, 2011

Did anyone else notice the enthusiasm Shaka Smart displayed Sunday during Virginia Commonwealth's 71-61 win over Kansas in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament?

Smart, a former University of Akron assistant basketball coach, routinely shows his excitement and passion for the game as the Rams second-year coach. His players see the emotion and have responded, earning a spot in the Final Four.

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Bradley Univ. hires Geno Ford away from Kent St.

By mrasor Published: March 28, 2011

Men's basketball

With all but one player returning, 2011-12 looked like a great season for Kent State fans.

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Akron shows interest in Larry Nance

By Michael Beaven Published: March 23, 2011

-- Correction -- There was a miscommunication surrounding the scholarship offers for Revere senior boys basketball player Larry Nance after conversations with Nance and Revere coach Dean Rahas.

I talked to both tonight after a high school all-star basketball game. What appears below in this blog and in Thursday's Akron Beacon Journal newspaper is accurate. I apologize for the confusion.

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The morning after

By mrasor Published: March 19, 2011

Men's basketball

I arrived back in Cleveland at 7 a.m. today. That was probably the longest, most grueling day I've been through in a while.

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Live Updates - Akron vs. Notre Dame

By mrasor Published: March 18, 2011

Men's basketball

Refresh your browser for updates...

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End of the day

By Tom Gaffney Published: March 17, 2011

After the Zips came to the United Center for their press conference and shootaround at 10:30 p.m. Central time, they left the arena about 1:30  p.m.  The team then went to another facility for a short walk-through, working on the things it must do on offense and defense against Notre Dame.

After a quiet night at the hotel, the team will have a breakfast Friday morning followed by a film session. The game Friday is at 12;40 p.m. Central time, 1:40 Eastern.

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Notre Dame press conference

By Tom Gaffney Published: March 17, 2011

Notre Dame players and coach Mike Brey just finished their press conference and then took the United Center court for a 45-minute shooting session. Here are some highlights, mostly relating to the Zips:
Brey, on UA:  ""They can spread you out and they're got shooters out there on the perimeter. And they can throw it inside to big guys who can grind it inside, and if you overbite, they kick it out to the shooters.''
Brey, on UA:   ""They've played together for awhile. They have won together for awhile. They really know who they are and play to their strengths, stay away from their weaknesses. I think that's why they are in the position they are in.''
Senior Carleton Scott, on UA's Zeke Marshall:  ""He's a long body, an athletic guy and he can block shots. They are a good defensive team.''
Senior Ben Hansbrough, on losing to Old Dominion in the first round last season: ""I think it scarred us for sure. I think it's been the driving factor for us.''

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Press conference quotes

By Tom Gaffney Published: March 17, 2011

 University of Akron players Steve McNees, Nikola Cvetinovic and Zeke Marshall participated in the team press conference at the United Center late Thursday afternoon. Coach Keith Dambrot answered questions after the players. The Zips then held a short shooting session on the court that was open to the public and drew a small crowd.[ep
  Here is one quote from each player and Dambrot:[ql
[ql
   Dambrot, on whether his team will have to adjust to the Irish overall size advantage: ""I am an old school coach. We have to play to our strengths and believe in what we have. We have to do the same things we've done all year, regardless of the opponent.''
   McNees, on the Irish: ""They shoot it and pass it well. So I think it starts on the perimeter. We have to take away their outside jumper as much as we can.''[ep
   Cvetinovic, on returning to the NCAAs after losing to Gonzaga in 2009:  ""It's a different story this year. We had a great game against Gonzaga. We learned a lot from that experience and I think this year that we will show our maturity level and how we've going to play.''
    Marshall, on the four 6-foot-8 Notre Dame players in the starting lineup: ""Well, their overall size is a lot bigger than our team. But, me individually, I'm taller than anyone. I do have some slight concern, but I don't have any doubt we're going to be able to play well against them.''

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Press conferences and open practice

By Tom Gaffney Published: March 17, 2011

There are eight teams playing Friday at the United Center and all will have mandatory press conferences and open practices Thursday. The Zips will be the first team to address the media, starting at 11:20 a.m. Central.  The team then will have 45 minutes to shoot on the United Center floor. Notre Dame is third on the list.

I will have quotes and hghlights from both press conferences here as soon as possible.

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Here in Chicago

By Tom Gaffney Published: March 17, 2011

  Gerry Faust told me at basketball practice Tuesday that Chicago is the "greatest big city in the United States."' It surely was impressive in a three-hour walking tour that I was able to take Wednesday after flying here in the afternoon.
   I have been here at the Big Ten media days for football and basketball when I covered the Buckeyes in the mid-1990s, but rarely had a block of time to explore. Also, I had more time Wednesday to look around than I did in 2009 at Portland for the NCAAs.[ep
   The media hotel is right on the Chicago River, so I was able to take the river walkway out to Lake Michigan. With the temperatures in the low 60s, it as a pleasant walk.[ep
     Then I walked down Michigan Avenue and saw some famous city landmarks, including the Chicago Tribune Building, the Wrigley Building, Water Works and the Chicago Theater. Every known retailer known to man also is located on the street. It also was interesting to see a large statute of Jack Brickhouse, the legendary sports announcer of Chicago teams.[ep
   All over the city, you can see the preparations for St. Patrick's Day.[ep
     Now, from now on, it's all basketball....

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Liveblogging from Chicago

By mrasor Published: March 17, 2011

Men's basketball

I have decided to make the trip to Chicago as a credentialed reporter. I will be liveblogging from the United Center on Friday -- and Sunday, if the Zips move on.

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Additional Zips quotes after MAC Tournament Championship

By Michael Beaven Published: March 17, 2011

I apoligize for this being a little late, but I have been busy the past few days. I figured readers might find these quotes interesting as the University of Akron prepares to meet Notre Dame in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Here are the quotes from the court after the University of Akron secured a 66-65 win over Kent State University in overtime in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship Game this past Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland:

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Zips arrive in Chicago for NCAA tournament

By Tom Gaffney Published: March 16, 2011

The Zips traveling party of about 100 players, coaches, band members, cheerleaders and staff members left Cleveland on a charter plane early Wednesday afternoon. They arrived in Chicago in late afternoon and were in their hotel by 4:30 p.m. Central. The only glitch was that one of the buses didn't have air conditioning with the temperature in the mid 60s.

The players had the rest of the day off. On Thursday, UA will have its first mandatory media session at 11:20 a.m. Central. The players will be available for 20 minutes and then coach Keith Dambrot for 20 minutes. The Zips will hold an open practice at noon at the United Center.

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Akron-Notre Dame news clips

By mrasor Published: March 16, 2011

Men's basketball

Below are links to some interesting articles about Friday's game:

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Luck of the Irish?

By mrasor Published: March 14, 2011

Men's basketball

Success in postseason college basketball requires luck.

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Zips to play Notre Dame in 2011 NCAA tournament

By Dan Published: March 13, 2011

For the second time in three years, the Zips are dancing.

Their partner in the 2011 NCAA tournament? Notre Dame, whom the Zips are playing on Friday in Chicago in the Southwest region.

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Live Updates - MAC Championship, Akron vs. Kent State

By mrasor Published: March 12, 2011

Men's basketball

Kent State had the ball with 12 seconds left in overtime and a chance to win. Zips center Zeke Marshall swatted away the first attempt at a game winner, and senior guard Steve McNees deflected a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

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Akron vs. Kent State - Preview

By mrasor Published: March 12, 2011

Men's basketball

Seven months of preparation have led to this -- for two schools that are just miles apart.

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Live Updates - MAC Tournament, Semifinals

By mrasor Published: March 11, 2011

Men's basketball

Keep refreshing your browser for updates during tonight's games...

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Akron vs. Western Michigan - Preview

By mrasor Published: March 11, 2011

Men's basketball

Have you caught your breath from last night? Whew. What a game!

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Live Updates - MAC Tournament, Quarterfinals

By mrasor Published: March 10, 2011

Men's basketball

Keep refreshing your browser for in-game updates from Quicken Loans Arena...

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Lower-seeded Akron favored by 3.5 points

By mrasor Published: March 10, 2011

Men's basketball

Oddsmakers are fairly confident that Akron will win today's game over Miami, which technically would be an upset.

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All-MAC Teams announced

By mrasor Published: March 9, 2011

Men's basketball

Nik Cvetinovic earned Second-Team All-MAC honors, the league announced today.

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Live Updates - MAC Tournament, First Round

By mrasor Published: March 8, 2011

Men's basketball

Keep refreshing your browser for in-game updates...

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Akron vs. Eastern Michigan - Preview

By mrasor Published: March 8, 2011

Men's basketball

The Zips are big favorites to exact revenge on the Eastern Michigan Eagles and move on to the Quicken Loans Arena portion of the MAC Tournament.

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Zips will face EMU in first round of MAC Tournament

By mrasor Published: March 5, 2011

Men's basketball

Akron will play Eastern Michigan Tuesday at 7 p.m., with the winner getting a shot at No. 3 Miami.

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Live Updates - Akron vs. Kent State

By mrasor Published: March 4, 2011

Men's basketball

Keep refreshing your browser for updates during the game...

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Akron vs. Kent - Preview

By mrasor Published: March 4, 2011

Men's basketball

A national audience will watch the MAC's best rivalry tonight.

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Seeding scenarios for Akron

By mrasor Published: March 3, 2011

Sweltering Bobcats chew up Zips

By mrasor Published: March 1, 2011

Men's basketball

Tonight was a perfect illustration of why fans should be terrified of the Ohio Bobcats. ... As if anyone needed a reminder after last year's postseason.

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