We’ve had fun live blogging the games all week, so we’re gonna keep it going for the Championship Game. Hopefully people are enjoying reading this as much as we’re enjoying writing it.
Pregame - The one could probably go either way. Part of me says it’s the MAC, so Kent State is going to win and take the automatic bid, since they’d definitely garner an at large at this point if they lost. On the other hand Akron looked solid winning handily against Western Michigan last night while Kent had to scrap for 40 minutes to pull it out against Miami. It’s definitely a late arriving crowd at the Q. With 15 minutes till game time let’s hope people get in the arena and in their seats soon… I’m starting to back off my 15k prediction. Great seats for the AK rowdies tonight in the lower bowl off the corner of the court behind Akron’s bench. Kent students are still stuck in the 2nd level behind the hoop. Makes me wonder if Akron’s ticket office went to bat for the students and blocked off that section for them. If so, they deserve props… if not, I’d be complaining if I were a Kent student.
Rumor Alert - Word has it that Ohio University is about to accept a bid to play in the new CBI Tournament. Like I said, this is a rumor that I don’t have from a really great source or anything, but there’s definitely some buzz about this. In my opinion it’s a much more likely occurance if Akron wins tonight and the MAC sends two teams to the NCAA Tournament, meaning the NIT would be forced to select Western Michigan or Miami, opening up a possible slot for Ohio.
Judging by pregame intros I think the crowd is about 60/40 Kent, but it’s debatable.
14:19 - 11-8 Akron out to an early lead. The Zips are knocking down their 3’s. Linhart has 2 and Middleton has another. Fisher at the line trying to complete a 3 point play when we get back.
11:46 - Tied at 13. Mike Scott with a dunk. Will be interesting to see if he gets untracked. He was quiet against Miami last night.
10:00 - 15-14 Kent. Are they saying Boo or Q?… They’re saying Q.
7:29 - This has been a really exciting tournament so far with some really exciting games and tonight doesn’t look like it’ll be an exception with both teams tied at 19 as we go into the media timeout.
4:12 - Ball movement was the theme of the last 3 minutes as Kent State opens an 8 point lead. As Rashad Woods hits a 3 to go up 28-20 Akron takes a TO.
3:40 - Still 28-20. Akron missing bunnies and Kent is hitting the defensive glass on everything. Akron has gone cold, only shooting 37% compared to Kent’s 52%. The Zips need to sink some shots. They can’t afford to let this get into double digits before halftime.
Halftime - Kent leads 33-20. I’ll say this, at least if Kent wins and the MAC only gets one bid, it seems like the Flashes will look really good doing it. They’ve looked awfully impressive in the first half and it’s starting to make me wonder where they might get seeded in the NCAA Tournament. I’d rather see them get disrespected by the committee and placed as an 11 or 12 seed than coming in as an 8 or a 9 seed and needing to beat a top team in the 2nd round.
Kent shooting 52% from the field, Akron only shooting 29%. Kent winning the rebounding battle 20-13. Kent winning points in the paint 20-8. Kent getting 14 bench points to Akron’s 1. Akron only 3-9 at the FT line. Just a dominating performance by the Flashes in nearly every facet of the game here tonight.
17:59 - Chris Singletary makes a great shot as he’s fouled and converts the 3-point play. Wood has 3 fouls.
15:33 - More missed Akron free-throws, missed layup on the break by Middleton and Q and Scott play two-man which results in a dunk for Scott. 42-27 KSU lead. They just want it more tonight it seems.
Kent State’s dance team with quite an interesting performance. Weird outfits, kinda odd routine set to some strange music with a tribal beat. I think that performance just confused everyone more than anything. I don’t want to be negative, but wow.
11:59 - Did Akron finally catch a break? They hit 1 of 2 at the line, but Daryl Roberts grabs the rebound, sticks it back, and gets fouled. Akron down 12… Roberts with a FT coming when we come back.
11:43 - Rashad Woods, daggers! Kent back up 14.
8:13 - Linhart with a pretty move, gets it to go and Akron cuts it to 10 as Kent takes a timeout.
7:44 - Scott gets away with a player control foul, gets the hoop. Scott steal, Akron called for an intentional foul as he flies in for a dunk. Kent up 53-41 with shots and the ball coming.
7:25 - Scott hits both, Singletary knocks down a layup while getting fouled. Singletary hits the FT and Kent’s up 17. Linhart drills Singletary going for a rebound and the crowd starts to get a little animated.
6:53 - Akron has been terrible at the foul line tonight. 58-41 Kent.
5:03 - 62-45 Kent. They just look like the much better team out here tonight.
3:44 - 63-48 Kent the only question now is who makes the All-Tournament Team. I’ve got Tyler Dierkers and Joe Reitz even though both of their teams bowed out in the semis. I’m also saying Mike Scott, Q, and Al Fisher on Kent State. I realize this leaves me with no Akron players on my Tournament Team, but it seemed like Wood and Middleton both played themselves out of contention tonight. Middleton shot 1-6 from the field and Wood shot 5-14 at the FT line. I’m sure many others will feel compelled to pick an Akron player since their team was in the Championship Game, and that’s fine, but I’m happy to let them figure out which Zip gets the honor.
3:19 - You’ve gotta wonder how much Wood’s knee is bothering him. He played great on Thursday, but he hasn’t looked good Friday or Saturday. With a leg injury like that it could really explain his lack of explosiveness and some of his free throw troubles.
2:19 - Kent is just better. You can feel the excitement of the Flashes fans starting to build as we’re getting closer to seeing Kent put an end to this one. They’re up 70-53.
0:56 - Kent up 72-55. Is Al Fisher your Player of the Tournament? He’s been awesome in big moments, but hasn’t scored a ton of points or anything. Really anyone of Fisher, Scott, Q could get it.
Final - 74-55 final. I say Kent is poised to make a Sweet 16 run this season with the right NCAA draw. Should be an interesting selection Sunday for them seeding wise. They can’t get a much worse draw than Miami did last season when they had to travel all the way out west to play Oregon in their backyard.