There’s a word – as it relates to the MAC and the Akron Zips – that has gone unsaid even with UA’s 4-0 start in the conference.
Undoubtedly some have thought about whether the Zips could conceivably go undefeated in the conference after besting Kent State this past weekend.
I don’t care type the “U-word” out of fear of reprisals akin to those dished out for allowing dogs and cats live together, but given the Zips upcoming opponents, it’s entirely possible that the could run the table in the conference. Let’s say that they get through the month of January with a 7-0 record. February is then set up to be their toughest stretch of the season with the combined records of the teams the Zips face being 57-47. That record gets tilted somewhat because they face rival Ohio twice in that span. They get to bring the month in with a bang and finish it the same way because they face the Bobcats on Feb. 2 at Rhodes Arena and Feb. 27 in Athens.
Can they do it? Anything can happen. But a few things are going to have to happen.
In some respects reality has set in for coach Keith Dambrot. He sees it. Those who cover the Zips see it and most assuredly fans have to see it. UA struggles to make shots and have, especially in conference play where they rank a middling No. 7 in field goal percentage with 41 percent. Their rank in the three-point category? The same No. 7 with 32 percent. The shooting has to improve – significantly.
That leads to one of two players – point guard Alex Abreu. Abreu started the season on fire, but of late his offense has been inconsistent. The beauty of his game, however, may come in the fact that he doesn’t let offensive droughts dictate how he continues to play. Witness the clutch three that he hit in the Kent State win last week. However, if he can show more of the player who shot 46 percent overall from the floor and 43 percent from the three, the Zips would be in a lot better shape.
The second player? Demetrius Treadwell. That guy who showed up in a huge way against Kent and for a long stretch lifted his team on his shoulders and willed them back into the game after being down by 10 points? Yes, more of him please. There are times that it looks as if “Tree” as he’s known gets lost and forgotten in the shuffle. He didn’t against Kent and the outcome can’t be ignored. He and Zeke Marshall along with their backups have the potential to be the most dominant frontcourt in the MAC. Fact of the matter is that if he and Nick Harney hadn’t missed the season’s three opening games that ran into the Puerto Rico Classic, the Zips could easily be 15-2.