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clarkwgriswold

Game 19- Ohio U

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The Zips head into the Hocking Valley Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 to face OU.  OU stands at 11-6/6-4 and has not played a game since an 83-69 win at CMU on February 2nd.  The Zips were scheduled to play OU in game 16 but the Covid got in the way.

 

OU is led by MAC POY candidate Jason Preston who received all kinds of pre-season attention and accolades based upon his development from a little used high school player to top notch D1 guard.  He is averaging 16.4 ppg, 7.4 apg and 7.2 rpg. James Madison transfer Dwight Wilson averages 15.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg while second team pre-season All-MAC second teamer Ben VanderPlas  averages 12.8 ppg and 5.5 ppg.

 

The Zips beat the Bobcats 90-70 at the JAR on December 22nd with Trimble and Jackson combining for 43.  I've been expecting OU to make a run.  Hopefully, Tuesday is not a part of that. 

Edited by clarkwgriswold

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This one should be a battle. The Zips had their best half in a couple weeks to put away Ball State. Hopefully that woke them up a bit. Ohio is going to put up much more of a fight than they did in December, that one is ancient history.

 

Though it was so long ago, the defensive approach on Preston is something I would love to see again. LCJ was right up in his grill for almost that entire game and that forced the supporting cast to beat the Zips. We saw how that went. Of course, those guys are all playing better than that now and Akron's been struggling defensively, so that will be interesting to watch.

 

As I do some research after watching the late game before I call it a night, this 12-3 MAC record for Akron is their best 15-game start in league play since 2017. And that 2017 team started out 12-1 before falling to 12-3 in MAC play which then led to the biggest collapse to end a season in the history of the program. The Zips have won 9 of 10 but it really doesn't feel like it to me. I don't know if I should be worried or not. But as I alluded to earlier, the second half today made me much more optimistic moving forward.

 

Tuesday will not be easy. Hell, not many are easy. But I'd like a nice relaxing celebratory Tuesday evening after burying the Kittens in the back yard, that's for sure.

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4 minutes ago, LoyalZIP said:

This one should be a battle. The Zips had their best half in a couple weeks to put away Ball State. Hopefully that woke them up a bit. Ohio is going to put up much more of a fight than they did in December, that one is ancient history.

 

Though it was so long ago, the defensive approach on Preston is something I would love to see again. LCJ was right up in his grill for almost that entire game and that forced the supporting cast to beat the Zips. We saw how that went. Of course, those guys are all playing better than that now and Akron's been struggling defensively, so that will be interesting to watch.

 

As I do some research after watching the late game before I call it a night, this 12-3 MAC record for Akron is their best 15-game start in league play since 2017. And that 2017 team started out 12-1 before falling to 12-3 in MAC play which then led to the biggest collapse to end a season in the history of the program. The Zips have won 9 of 10 but it really doesn't feel like it to me. I don't know if I should be worried or not. But as I alluded to earlier, the second half today made me much more optimistic moving forward.

 

Tuesday will not be easy. Hell, not many are easy. But I'd like a nice relaxing celebratory Tuesday evening after burying the Kittens in the back yard, that's for sure.

Zips have a tough 4 games ahead while the Rockets can eat cupcakes going into Cleveland which doesn't help them with the regular season title but will make them tougher for the tournament. 

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If any of you are bored on a cold Saturday afternoon as you await that showdown between EMU and Rootstown Agriculture & Merchandising there is a really spirited conversation over on Kitten Attack about "over the back" calls and whether John Groce is smiling under his mask.

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45 minutes ago, NWAkron said:

If any of you are bored on a cold Saturday afternoon as you await that showdown between EMU and Rootstown Agriculture & Merchandising there is a really spirited conversation over on Kitten Attack about "over the back" calls and whether John Groce is smiling under his mask.

Are you the one that said there's an "odd obsession" with OU on this board when I mentioned they were turning things around a few weeks ago?

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19 minutes ago, zippy5 said:

Are you the one that said there's an "odd obsession" with OU on this board when I mentioned they were turning things around a few weeks ago?

No.  I think my comment was about the focus on how allegedly great their team was.  I enjoy the back and forth with them.

Edited by NWAkron

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Can I just again say how much I hate 2:00 games.  It's bad enough that we can't get a constant network feed and instead get this hodge podge of games on networks with a reach of 4 people, but then you throw games at a time working folks can't watch or listen.  This last damn year has had enough difficulties, we could at least have some constants in our world like regular game times.

 

The MAC needs to build and maintain relationships with its fans.  I realize that this is an odd year but the league seems to not be much concerned with the impact of its decisions on the fans.

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2 hours ago, clarkwgriswold said:

Can I just again say how much I hate 2:00 games.  It's bad enough that we can't get a constant network feed and instead get this hodge podge of games on networks with a reach of 4 people, but then you throw games at a time working folks can't watch or listen.  This last damn year has had enough difficulties, we could at least have some constants in our world like regular game times.

 

The MAC needs to build and maintain relationships with its fans.  I realize that this is an odd year but the league seems to not be much concerned with the impact of its decisions on the fans.

Fans definitely took the very back seat this season.  It's foremost about the teams and what is convenient and cost-effective for the universities.  Even the MAC tournament isn't fan-friendly.  I don't think the schools even get much of an allotment of tickets...if any.  I was looking on seatgeek and only tickets available were for the women's semi-finals.   

COVID certainly separated the wheat from the chaff with the basketball programs.  The bottom four are abundantly clear, and they can't pin their hopes on an upset in a first-round game.  Anxious to see what the directional schools do with their coaches.  EMU's performance vs PCCC was pathetic.

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I think most of the MAC level schools are stuck with their coaches due to finances or be forced to resort to switching over to an assistant at a much reduced rate, like WMU.  Lots of teams are down this year, including some blue bloods.  Given the odd nature of the year I don't see much coach movement.

 

 

Edited by clarkwgriswold

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RowdyZip mentioned this on the MAC Catch all thread but thought it was appropriate to include here. We and the Bobkittens certainly do monitor each others boards perhaps in a little bit of schadenfreude  (I included that word because a Bobkittens poster said most of our posts appears as though they were done by five year olds 🤣). Anyway I really do enjoy the rivalry with them but it really hasn't been that much of a rivalry for the past two decades. One of their other posters said "If I didn't know any better, I'd read their message board and actually think they've done something significant in their basketball history like win an NCAA tournament game. You know, just one." RowdyZip mostly correctly pointed out "Saw this on their message board and laughed, but then realized you gotta dig deep when your team has finished above Akron in the MAC standings exactly TWICE in the last EIGHTEEN YEARS". I say mostly because it actually has only been ONCE, Groce's first year when the Zips finished 6-12 (and the Kittens were a mighty 7-11).  That's it. They have also tied 4 other times including the fantastic 2012-2013 season when they were both 14-2.

 

Zips have gone 211--114 in that span - including this year - while the Kittens have gone 169-153. Zips has finished in first six times and the Kittens ONCE (the year they tied the Zips). Zips average finish 3.75, Kittens 6.5. The Kitten tournament runs (which yes I absolutely wish we had) are now a decade old. And unless you pull a major upset or make the sweet sixteen your upset tends to get forgotten.

 

So my point here (and I do have one :-)) would you rather have the kind of conference success the Zips have been in now year after year after year or win a couple of tournament games? While I'd love a win in the tournament the Zips success has kept me interested in what happens to them in almost every game over the last two decades as opposed to finshing sixth ever year. Making almost every season meaningful means a lot more to me than the occasional tournament victory (but be very clear I still want that :-)).

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55 minutes ago, MDZip said:

RowdyZip mentioned this on the MAC Catch all thread but thought it was appropriate to include here. We and the Bobkittens certainly do monitor each others boards perhaps in a little bit of schadenfreude  (I included that word because a Bobkittens poster said most of our posts appears as though they were done by five year olds 🤣). Anyway I really do enjoy the rivalry with them but it really hasn't been that much of a rivalry for the past two decades. One of their other posters said "If I didn't know any better, I'd read their message board and actually think they've done something significant in their basketball history like win an NCAA tournament game. You know, just one." RowdyZip mostly correctly pointed out "Saw this on their message board and laughed, but then realized you gotta dig deep when your team has finished above Akron in the MAC standings exactly TWICE in the last EIGHTEEN YEARS". I say mostly because it actually has only been ONCE, Groce's first year when the Zips finished 6-12 (and the Kittens were a mighty 7-11).  That's it. They have also tied 4 other times including the fantastic 2012-2013 season when they were both 14-2.

 

Zips have gone 211--114 in that span - including this year - while the Kittens have gone 169-153. Zips has finished in first six times and the Kittens ONCE (the year they tied the Zips). Zips average finish 3.75, Kittens 6.5. The Kitten tournament runs (which yes I absolutely wish we had) are now a decade old. And unless you pull a major upset or make the sweet sixteen your upset tends to get forgotten.

 

So my point here (and I do have one :-)) would you rather have the kind of conference success the Zips have been in now year after year after year or win a couple of tournament games? While I'd love a win in the tournament the Zips success has kept me interested in what happens to them in almost every game over the last two decades as opposed to finshing sixth ever year. Making almost every season meaningful means a lot more to me than the occasional tournament victory (but be very clear I still want that :-)).

 

Old tournament wins get you a nice mural on the wall of the Stow Texas Roadhouse or a nice pic on the wall of some dive bar in the Hocking Valley but at some point the statute of limitations runs on you being able to use them to prop up your program.  The players are gone, the coaches are gone and some of the fans are gone.  Use it for a nice reunion after your legendary point guard gives birth, but move on.

 

I'm glad they had that tournament success as it was a part of Groce leaving town and eventually ending up here. 

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We're at a time where Akron, who has very little history of success, especially in the postseason, who also does not have its own separate practice facility, is a better job than Ohio. Pretty remarkable. 

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1 hour ago, clarkwgriswold said:

 

Old tournament wins get you a nice mural on the wall of the Stow Texas Roadhouse or a nice pic on the wall of some dive bar in the Hocking Valley but at some point the statute of limitations runs on you being able to use them to prop up your program.  The players are gone, the coaches are gone and some of the fans are gone.  Use it for a nice reunion after your legendary point guard gives birth, but move on.

 

I'm glad they had that tournament success as it was a part of Groce leaving town and eventually ending up here. 

I think for the denizens of Nelsonville to understand you need to phrase it as "STATUE of limitations."

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2 hours ago, MDZip said:

RowdyZip mentioned this on the MAC Catch all thread but thought it was appropriate to include here. We and the Bobkittens certainly do monitor each others boards perhaps in a little bit of schadenfreude  (I included that word because a Bobkittens poster said most of our posts appears as though they were done by five year olds 🤣). Anyway I really do enjoy the rivalry with them but it really hasn't been that much of a rivalry for the past two decades. One of their other posters said "If I didn't know any better, I'd read their message board and actually think they've done something significant in their basketball history like win an NCAA tournament game. You know, just one." RowdyZip mostly correctly pointed out "Saw this on their message board and laughed, but then realized you gotta dig deep when your team has finished above Akron in the MAC standings exactly TWICE in the last EIGHTEEN YEARS". I say mostly because it actually has only been ONCE, Groce's first year when the Zips finished 6-12 (and the Kittens were a mighty 7-11).  That's it. They have also tied 4 other times including the fantastic 2012-2013 season when they were both 14-2.

 

Zips have gone 211--114 in that span - including this year - while the Kittens have gone 169-153. Zips has finished in first six times and the Kittens ONCE (the year they tied the Zips). Zips average finish 3.75, Kittens 6.5. The Kitten tournament runs (which yes I absolutely wish we had) are now a decade old. And unless you pull a major upset or make the sweet sixteen your upset tends to get forgotten.

 

So my point here (and I do have one :-)) would you rather have the kind of conference success the Zips have been in now year after year after year or win a couple of tournament games? While I'd love a win in the tournament the Zips success has kept me interested in what happens to them in almost every game over the last two decades as opposed to finshing sixth ever year. Making almost every season meaningful means a lot more to me than the occasional tournament victory (but be very clear I still want that :-)).

Great post and great question.  I didn't realize how we've really dominated this rivalry over the past 20 years.  I love cutting down the nets and hanging a banner for MAC Championships (regular season).  But I think that perhaps the reason I didn't realize how thoroughly we've dominated the rivalry with Ohio over the past 20 years is because those NCAA tournament victories weigh so heavily.  They still are fresh in my mind and seem like just a couple years ago, but, now that you point it out, it's has been a while.

 

IMO, those tournament victories are feathers in your cap which don't lose their luster for a long time.  There are a lot of programs which I still consider prominent basketball schools because of former NCAA tourney runs, but who really haven't done anything of note since the turn of the millennium!  UMass, UConn, Creighton, DePaul, Wichita State, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Pitt, Memphis, St. Bonny, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, UNLV, Drexel, Tulane, Cincy, Detroit Mercy, Temple, Charlotte, George Mason, George Washington, La Salle, Rhody, St. Joe's, St. Louis.  Okay, I was largely doing that off the top of my head, so don't over analyze it, but I think you'll get my point.  None (?) of those schools have done much in men's basketball in quite a while, but I still think of them as better basketball schools than Akron because tournament success is what everyone looks at and, I'd argue, remembers.

 

I'd want to see an NCAA Sweet 16 run.

 

However, I know, grass is always greener and if the Wicked Things NCAA Sweet 16 run was contingent on being followed by 20 years of mediocrity... Idk.  Tough one.

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2 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

Great post and great question.  I didn't realize how we've really dominated this rivalry over the past 20 years.  I love cutting down the nets and hanging a banner for MAC Championships (regular season).  But I think that perhaps the reason I didn't realize how thoroughly we've dominated the rivalry with Ohio over the past 20 years is because those NCAA tournament victories weigh so heavily.  They still are fresh in my mind and seem like just a couple years ago, but, now that you point it out, it's has been a while.

 

IMO, those tournament victories are feathers in your cap which don't lose their luster for a long time.  There are a lot of programs which I still consider prominent basketball schools because of former NCAA tourney runs, but who really haven't done anything of note since the turn of the millennium!  UMass, UConn, Creighton, DePaul, Wichita State, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Pitt, Memphis, St. Bonny, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, UNLV, Drexel, Tulane, Cincy, Detroit Mercy, Temple, Charlotte, George Mason, George Washington, La Salle, Rhody, St. Joe's, St. Louis.  Okay, I was largely doing that off the top of my head, so don't over analyze it, but I think you'll get my point.  None (?) of those schools have done much in men's basketball in quite a while, but I still think of them as better basketball schools than Akron because tournament success is what everyone looks at and, I'd argue, remembers.

 

I'd want to see an NCAA Sweet 16 run.

 

However, I know, grass is always greener and if the Wicked Things NCAA Sweet 16 run was contingent on being followed by 20 years of mediocrity... Idk.  Tough one.

 

I would take Wichita State off your list for sure, ... and give some thought to both Cincinnati and Memphis. ... But your point is well taken. NCAA Tournament success - especially of the Sweet 16 kind, does linger. And while Ohio's Sweet 16 run could have been made by half the league that year against two really suspect teams (South Florida, Michigan - the MAC rep hasn't had a setup close to that since) the fact is Ohio took advantage of the opportunity and ran with it, and that is what sticks.

 

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3 hours ago, Blue & Gold said:

Great post and great question.  I didn't realize how we've really dominated this rivalry over the past 20 years.  I love cutting down the nets and hanging a banner for MAC Championships (regular season).  But I think that perhaps the reason I didn't realize how thoroughly we've dominated the rivalry with Ohio over the past 20 years is because those NCAA tournament victories weigh so heavily.  They still are fresh in my mind and seem like just a couple years ago, but, now that you point it out, it's has been a while.

 

IMO, those tournament victories are feathers in your cap which don't lose their luster for a long time.  There are a lot of programs which I still consider prominent basketball schools because of former NCAA tourney runs, but who really haven't done anything of note since the turn of the millennium!  UMass, UConn, Creighton, DePaul, Wichita State, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Pitt, Memphis, St. Bonny, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, UNLV, Drexel, Tulane, Cincy, Detroit Mercy, Temple, Charlotte, George Mason, George Washington, La Salle, Rhody, St. Joe's, St. Louis.  Okay, I was largely doing that off the top of my head, so don't over analyze it, but I think you'll get my point.  None (?) of those schools have done much in men's basketball in quite a while, but I still think of them as better basketball schools than Akron because tournament success is what everyone looks at and, I'd argue, remembers.

 

I'd want to see an NCAA Sweet 16 run.

 

However, I know, grass is always greener and if the Wicked Things NCAA Sweet 16 run was contingent on being followed by 20 years of mediocrity... Idk.  Tough one.

There are other MAC schools that have tourney runs over the years including that team up the road in Brimfield.   Eastern Michigan beat Duke in first round!  The difference here is that those coaches stayed or didn't come back and coach at your rival school.  Most of them failed apart from the guys who left Canada one after the other.  The Akron/OU rivalry heated up with Groce and Dambrot.  In the tourney Groce got lucky or outcoached Dambrot twice.  But he also bombed out between those two NCAA appearances with that same squad minus the player turned felon Armon Bassett.  He also had OSU's Holtmann as an asst.  Groce is a unicorn in that he came back to the same conference to coach the hated rival.  Putting myself in a Bobcat's shoes,  I may feel like there is some unfinished business without being sure what that business is.

Edited by NWAkron
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59 minutes ago, The Hip Zip said:

Kitties open up a 2 pt favorite, total at 151.5. That surprises me given their prolonged pandemic pause.  

somewhat surprising.  Despite no divisions this year, sure looks like the finish to every other regular season when the Zips must run the gauntlet of the superior East Division (apart from PCCC this time).  

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Curious to see how they defend Preston.  Do they play him with the much smaller LCJ and try to pester him and beat him to spots or do they put a larger defender on him and body him up?  Tribble seems to have become our guard defensive specialist so we could see him on Preston some.  They also need to keep Wilson off of the boards as the did in the first game.

 

The Zips can't afford to sleepwalk though a half and expect to have a second half run to pull away in this one as they did with Ball and NIU.

Edited by clarkwgriswold

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34 minutes ago, clarkwgriswold said:

Curious to see how they defend Preston.  Do they play him with the much smaller LCJ and try to pester him and beat him to spots or do they put a larger defender on him and body him up?  Tribble seems to have become our guard defensive specialist so we could see him on Preston some.  They also need to keep Wilson off of the boards as the did in the first game.

 

The Zips can't afford to sleepwalk though a half and expect to have a second half run to pull away in this one as they did with Ball and NIU.

Play Preston just like we did last time. Until he adjust, I don’t think we should. Pressure that ball & don’t let him get comfortable!

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12 hours ago, NWAkron said:

somewhat surprising.  Despite no divisions this year, sure looks like the finish to every other regular season when the Zips must run the gauntlet of the superior East Division (apart from PCCC this time).  

all 3 losses are to the "West," who'd a thunk it?

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I thought we are much worse defensively this year so I checked the stats from last year to this year and was amazed how similar the stats are from last year.  Last year our average win was by 8.8 points (75.7-66.9)  and this year it is by 9.4(79.3-69.9) points.  Last  year we shot .428 from the floor and this year we shot .461 from the floor.  However, last year out opponents shot .40 from the floor last year and now shooting .44 from the floor.  Last year we shot 305 from 3 pointers and this year we improved to .351.  However, our opponents improved  from 303 to 361.  This season is very much last season except we are better offensively and worse defensively but not by a great deal.  

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