Final - And Akron is going dancing as the take down Buffalo 65-53. In the end, Buffalo just didn’t have enough offensive firepower to stay with the Zips who were white hot from the field all game long. If Akron has their shots falling they could give someone a game in the tournament. It needs to be a good draw though, and not a team with a ton of size. Congrats to the Zips and good luck in the NCAA Tournament.
0:18 - The fans are not happy the Buffalo is sending the Zips to the line again. 65-51…
0:35 - Akron fans believe that they’ve won.
0:49 - Brett McKnight with a 3 as time runs down. 62-47.
1:21 - Remember our pregame discussion about the over? I’m awesome… (shakes head).
1:28 - McKnight finishes the pretty feed. Akron should be dancing. They’re up 14.
2:01 - I’m confused. Which team is trying to run clock here?
2:52 - Daryl Roberts hits a 3 on a reversal pass. That’s trouble. Akron up 12 again.
3:13 - Boudreau hits a shot and fouled! 54-45 UA, we’re got a ball game here… He misses the FT…
3:51 - UB playing Hack-a-Bardo? It’s working to an extent. Buffalo has it down to 53-41 and Boudreau’s at the line when we come back. UB needs to turn the defensive intensity WAY up too. No problem if there’s a foul, like we said earlier, not great FT shooters on either team.
7:56 - 49-34 we’re just not seeing a whole lot from Buffalo here. If they want to get back in this, now’s the time.
11:21 - Akron up 47-31. It’s reallllllly tough to figure out a potential Player of the Tournament with the way that Akron has been spreading their attack.
15:44 - Akron comes out shooting hot. Buffalo does not. Akron leads 43-27 and this one is reaching the danger zone only 4 minutes into the 2nd half. Buffalo needs to find a way to get points and fast or this could get out of reach. Following Mad Max: He scored 21 last night, he’s got 2 so far tonight. Gotta involve the bigs…
Halftime - A good half of basketball and Akron leads 33-25 at the half. Akron shooting 55% from the field, and an even better 5-7 from 3. UB only shooting 38% from the field. To make matters worse the Bulls have gotten to the line 14 times, but they’re only shooting 57% on freebies… That’s not a championship effort. 20 of Akron’s 33 points are bench points thanks to 10 from Hitchens and 10 from Brett McKnight.
They’re playing great moments from the MAC Tournament on the jumbotron. First is OU’s last second win against UB in OT of the 2005 Championship game. Buffalo fans seem indifferent. Of course next up in the 2007 Championship where Penno banks in his miracle 3 against Akron. Akron fans boo… Loudly.
3:01 - 29-20 Akron leads. Looked like Buffalo was about to make it a game as they closed it to 4 on a 3-pointer. But Hitchens comes back down the court and hits a dagger from way beyond 3.
5:19 - 24-16 Akron leads. Buffalo has been outplayed overall so far, but they’re still keeping it close. Wow, these teams are both terrible from the FT line.
9:18 - UB works it inside, they get a bucket, they create a steal, and Robinson puts in a fastbreak layup. McKnight going to the line up 15-12.
9:58 - Roberts hits a 3 and Akron is up 15-8. UB really needs to bang inside, but they’re settling for jumpers that they haven’t been getting to go.
11:40 - 12-8 Akron leads… Just commenting on how both of these teams are pretty young, and should be very good next year. Akron loses Linhart and Conyers. Buffalo loses Gamble and Andy Robinson. Lots of talent coming back on both sides and tons of talent coming in across the league. This is good news for the MAC which had a bit of a down season this year.
14:23 - Akron leads 8-7. After I praised Hitchens he comes in hits a 3 and on the very next possession he comes up with a steal and a fastbreak layup. When you’re wrong a bunch you need to point it out like this when you’re right. 6 turnovers so far (4 by Buffalo) that’s what I meant when I called this game sloppy to start.
16:01 - Sloppy game so far. UB up 5-3. We have a Hitchens sighting, he just subbed in for McNees. Good news for Akron as he’s been a really valuable player for them this tournament.
20:00 - Does a 122 1/2 O/U for this seem too low? I’ve been off on these all week, but I’m taking the over.
Pregame - Well first of all, I’m an idiot. In the 30 seconds that I spent writing my final post last night I forgot about the 1986 Akron NCAA Tournament Team. I could complain about not having an editor on a blog, but really it’s just like I said, that I’m an idiot. That said I like Akron’s chances tonight. They’ve shot well all tournament and I expect them to take about 20 three’s tonight and to connect on more than 33% of them. If that happens I think it could be tough for Buffalo to keep up with their scoring.
That said, can UB beat Buffalo inside? Boudreau and Watt are both more skilled low post players than anyone on Akron. Can Chris McKnight use his strength to keep them out of the paint? Can Linhart stay out of foul trouble? That’s important for the Zips.
If Akron wins tonight they’re the lowest seed (as a 5 seed) to ever win the MAC tournament. Ohio University did it as a non-bye team in 2005, but that was as a #4 seed when Marshall was still in the MAC and only the top 3 seeds got byes.
Big thumbs down to whoever’s decision it was to put True Blue, UB’s student section in the second deck tonight–I’m told it’s up to that school’s athletic departments to decide how to use their ticket allotment–The AK Rowdies have seats in the lower deck behind the Akron bench. That’s the way it should be. Akron and Buffalo have two of the stronger student sections in the MAC, and it’s a shame to see the True Blue treated like second class citizens by their own athletic department (if that is in fact how tickets are appropriated).