Akron's next challenge on the road to Madison Square Garden is Massachusetts. The teams will play on ESPN Saturday at noon.
The Minutement score a lot of points (81.9), but also allow a lot (75.8). The statistics indicate a porous defense, but that isn't quite true. UMass plays a fast-paced game, so that skews the stats.
The Minutemen's weakness comes at the foul line (66.7 percent) and, despite their size, on the glass. They have a rebounding deficit this season. However, the team averages more than seven blocks per game.
On offense, swingmen Gary Forbes and Ricky Harris are Nos. 1 and 7 in scoring in the Atlantic-10, respectively. Forbes and forward Etienne Brower are Nos. 5 and 9, respectively, in the league's rebounding leaders. Point guard Chris Lowe averages 6.1 assists per game, which is 16th in the nation.
On defense, Lowe and Harris are among the league leaders in steals. Big men Dante Milligan and Tony Gaffney are among the A-10's top four shot blockers.
Akron will face a strong challenge from UMass' size. Forbes is 6-foot-7. Milligan, Gaffney and Brower are each around 6-8 or 6-9. Two things work in Akron's favor. First, the Zips have one of the nation's best wing defenders to stop Forbes. Nate Linhart never has had a chance to guard someone his own size. If he can defend that well with mismatches, he should be able to lock down Forbes. Second, UMass doesn't use its big men as offensive weapons. They are mostly defenders and rebounders.
Those big guys will give Jeremiah Wood problems, however. They also will plug any dribble penetration from the Zips. That means Akron must have its 3-pointers falling to win. UMass defends the perimeter well, so that will be a challenge.
The Minutement average about 5,000 fans per game, but only 2,112 showed up at the William D. Mullins Center to watch the first-round game against Stephen F. Austin. The home court isn't likely to provide much of an advantage Saturday, either.
The winner will travel to Syracuse for a game on Tuesday. The Orange beat Maryland Thursday night.
Akron and UMass have never played each other, GoZips.com points out.
If you haven't gotten your March Madness fill, check out the schedule for NIT games. There are some great matchups.
I am such an idiot. I forgot to complete my NCAA Tournament bracket on Yahoo. Yeah, I know. I'm the same guy who was a broken record to get everyone to sign up. Anyhow, Zipgrad1990 leads the field of 26 Zips fans by correctly predicting 18 of 20 winners.
Don't think it would slip by me that Kent State tied a record that was set before KSU's president was born by scoring only 10 points in the first half against UNLV. Great way to represent the MAC, Flashes. Although they were the best team in the conference, I knew they could be in trouble in the NCAA Tournament without a go-to player on offense.
Akron held its Pro Day this week.
GoZips.com's story indicates that Davanzo Tate had a good workout.
To this point, however, it looks like Jabari Arthur and Nate Robinson have the best shot at hearing their names called on April 26 or 27.
Some people were speculating why Ohio State pulled its scholarship offer to Devoe Torrence.
Allegedly having sex with 12-year-olds usually does the trick.
Former coach Mike Sweitzer filed a lawsuit against the university for age discrimination.
The best evidence Sweitzer has is a quote from an unnamed university official to one of the assistant coaches, that Sweitzer is a "57-year-old man who may not be able to motivate or relate to the new type of student-athlete, that he could be stuck in his old ways and they may not work anymore."
Sweitzer is also saying that he had a great record during his time at Akron. That might be true, but so do dozens of coaches who get canned each year. The team has stunk for the past three years, and that's what really matters.
I doubt we will see this suit get to court. My guess is the university will settle or the judge will dismiss it.
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