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Zips basketball: MAC season begins; questions remain

By George Thomas Published: January 8, 2014

In about two hours the University of Akron men’s basketball team begins its trek for a second consecutive trip to March Madness.

So many things conspired against them in their loss Virginia Commonwealth that they’d have to be crazy to have not left the court unfulfilled. 

But heading into the Mid-American Conference schedule against Ball State this evening, more questions exist than answers.

Let’s start with the known:

  • Quincy Diggs is all that in a bag of chips.  Averaging 11.5 points, three assists, remains effective despite a year off.  He’s also been extremely flexible playing several positions, including the point, and willingly comes off the bench.  He needs to clean up the turnovers.  He averages 3.5 per game, many coming early in the season.
  • Demetrius Treadwell is now playing as expected for the most part averaging 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game after struggling early in the season.

The remaining questions:

  • Will they develop chemistry:  The Zips have been up and down as their 8-5 record shows along with the back-to-back losses to South Carolina, especially the blowout in the second game, and the squeaker win to Marshall has done little to dispel that notion.
  • With chemistry comes….consistency. And so far, beating what already sounds like a tired drum, the Zips are consistently inconsistent. If they can ever solve those issues with chemistry, they can be dominating. 
  • The point guard position remains unsettled:  Dambrot likes scoring from the positing and is currently getting eight points combined from Carmelo Betancourt and Nyles Evans, who at one point looked to be putting things together, but has struggled of late. 
  • Frontcourt youth:  Centers Pat Forsythe, a sophomore, and freshman Isaiah “Big Dog” Johnson are young and at times it shows in their work around the basket, where each has shown inconsistency finishing at the rim.  Practice, patience and time correct this.  Although it’s fair to wonder just how much time is needed.

Dambrot said that the team’s erratic schedule – 21 days off in November, 10 games in 19 days in December – has contributed to the team’s issues.  That’s a likely scenario.  The reality, however, is that if the Zips are going to repeat as MAC champions those remaining questions will have to be answered and they’re going to have to be answered beginning tonight.

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