News clips from the win...
Plain Dealer --
Bill Livingston's column says Akron's hopes rest with
Plain Dealer -- Game story: The Zips won with defense. CMU's
Chris Kellerman said it was tough to get a shot off.
Akron Beacon Journal --
Patrick McManamon's column concurs.
Akron Beacon Journal --
Tom Gaffney's game story also talks about the defense.
Ernie Zeigler said Akron was hungrier than his team.
The Buchtelite --
Vincent Dorsey points out that Akron also won by hitting its 3's.
ZipsNation.org -- Click the link for the chat transcript during yesterday's game.
More of my notes on Thursday's win...
Cedrick Middleton's stat line was unimpressive (six points, four fouls). Still, he was one of the Zips' most valuable players for the defense he played on
Nick Dials also fits in that category. He scored only five points, but dished six assists without a turnover.
The Zips' starters played an average of less than 27 minutes last night. That bodes well for the rest of the tournament.
No Chippewa shot better than 50 percent from the field individually.
Marcus Van grabbed eight rebounds in the first half. He did not get much playing time in the second half.
The difference in the game: Akron scored 21 points off 3-pointers in the second half. CMU missed all six of its attempts on 3's.
Newspaper previews of tonight's game...
Morning Journal -- Akron will try to match WMU's physicality.
Odds -- The Zips are two-point favorites. The over-under is 127.5.
My game preview --
Akron must match its defensive intensity from last night to win. It's plain and simple. You can forget about the finals if the Zips don't throw a hand in
David Kool's face, stay in front of
Shawntes Gary and keep
Joe Reitz away from the hoop.
The Zips CAN win without playing their best defense. We saw an example of that against Ohio at Athens. It's best not to rely on a 60 percent shooting performance, though.
To me, Gary is the real dark horse for the Broncos (pun intended). He finds ways to score. With Reitz and Kool out there, it's easy to forget about him.
In the teams'
first matchup, WMU outrebounded Akron 37 to 18. The assist-to-turnover ratios were lopsided, too.
As you can tell, I'm not particularly confident about this game. I also thought the Zips were toast in Athens and Oxford. This team has a way of winning games it shouldn't.
My prediction -- Akron 65, Western Michigan 69
I will liveblog from The Q tonight, too. There will also be a live chat on ZipsNation. I might even stay for the Kent State game if Akron wins.
The chat was fun yesterday. It's a cool way to keep up to date and share comments in real time. To participate, you must be a member on
ZipsNation.org, and you must have posted five times. If you haven't done it yet, sign-up is quick. Then just find some old topic and post five times to jump in the chat room.