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Games 4, 5 & 6- Cayman Islands Classic Basketball Tournament


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Now the Zips move on to LSU.

 

LSU is 4-0 off of a coaching change brought about by a recruiting scandal. They also have an almost entirely new roster from last season. The new coach is Matt McMahon who comes in from Murray State.  McMahon bought OVC POY 6'10" center K.J. Williams with im from Murray State.  He currently averages 17 ppg and 7.5 rpg.

 

6'3" redshirt sophomore guard  Adam Miller played 1 season at Illinois two season ago, scoring 8.3 ppg.

 

They were predicted to finish 8th in the SEC.

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Hell. Of. A. Win!!!! That was a John Groce program win through and through. Everyone contributed, and even without playing to their full potential, the Zips just completely overwhelmed them in the second half. Joe Dunn was fired up on the radio! Huge shots from the new guys--Sammy, Hank, Nate if you consider him a new guy. X ran the show well, Enrique was a nightmare for WKU, Clarke and Tribble each hit timely buckets. Wow, that was fun. Groce said on the post game that the level of care in this group is high, and you could tell. The first half was okay, but really felt like a lot of the other Groce early season tournament games. Not today. Outstanding performance. Has a team with that much of a size advantage ever been out-rebounded 43-16? That is effort right there.

 

I said after SDSU how much Hankerson stood out to me. He faded for a couple games, but was very good again today. They had him on the post game, and Joe asked about his time at NIU. He was very honest and talked about how much more fun he is having in our program, and you could hear the happiness in his voice. Groce said that the most vocal man on the bench was Mikal Dawson. Love our program. We're still not out of the woods yet, as there is plenty of room for improvement. Still 2 more games this week. I think we'll need more and better minutes out of Tavari and Amani, hopefully also some Kobe Mitchell as well.

 

On to LSU. Go Zips!!!

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Very nice win.  I got engrossed in work and completely forgot the game was happening until a friend reminded me.  Very similar matchup to Miss St. at 1:30 tomorrow with an LSU team with a new coach (via Murray State) and almost entirely new roster.  LSU was picked 8th in the SEC, 2 slots above Mississippi State.  Let's hope the boys have found their range and can move on to the championship.  I'll be following along via Gamecast 😐

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Just checked out the replay of the second half. It just goes to show you how sometimes all it takes to dominate an opponent is effort and toughness. Freeman was great underneath, no doubt. And the guards finished well around the rim. Defensively, I thought we were fortunate that WKU had a pretty off night shooting it from outside missing a bunch of open ones, but Akron sure did make it tough for them to get anything going inside the arc. Everything in there was contested, and they only had one shot at it per possession thanks to tremendous rebounding effort. Sammy looked much more comfortable, though he did hesitate a few times. 

 

I don't think the offense was anything too special (besides Freeman), but it was a very strong collective effort. When I say that, I mean that they could have shot it a lot better from outside, especially early, and if they had eliminated most of the dumb first half turnovers, this would have been over by the first media timeout of the second half. Most importantly, that was one of the smartest offensive games I've seen from an Akron team. They took smart shots, made much smarter passes in the second half, made smart cuts, made smart shot fakes. They did just about everything perfectly in that matter, and even earned a ridiculous stepback three from Tribble! 😂

 

Tomorrow will be much tougher, there's no doubt about that. And WKU is a great opponent, so there's a lot to be happy about. I'm only more eager now to see what this group can blossom into!

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5 hours ago, LoyalZIP said:

Toledo is going back and forth with UMKC in Estero. Same tournament and arena Akron was in last year, just the sight of the court gives me shivers.

Did anybody realize Toledo was getting votes in the others receiving votes category in the top 25 poll? Their loss to UKMC should take care of that. Their opening schedule was not that good.

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1 hour ago, LoyalZIP said:

I don't think the offense was anything too special (besides Freeman), but it was a very strong collective effort. When I say that, I mean that they could have shot it a lot better from outside, especially early, and if they had eliminated most of the dumb first half turnovers, this would have been over by the first media timeout of the second half. Most importantly, that was one of the smartest offensive games I've seen from an Akron team. 

 

T-E-A-M-I-S-M!

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Barring an epic collapse from Kansas State, our 3rd game will be against one of Nevada (MWC) or Kansas State (Big 12). 

 

This is the best OOC we've ever had (that I can remember), and we've done well to handle our business against the mid-majors. Would love to knock off LSU tomorrow. I truly believe the Mississippi State game is different if we didn't play an OT game against a great opponent 4 days prior. The blowout result was most likely due to fatigue and dead legs more than anything. Having to play a very scrappy Morgan State squad 4 days later did not bode well, either. We saw today what we're capable of with fresher legs. I would imagine tomorrow is much closer than the Mississippi State game was in the second half. Geaux Zips!

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2 hours ago, MDZip said:

Did anybody realize Toledo was getting votes in the others receiving votes category in the top 25 poll? Their loss to UKMC should take care of that. Their opening schedule was not that good.

 

Kowalchoke will probably bribe for more votes despite the result today.  

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11 hours ago, Let'sGoZips94 said:

Barring an epic collapse from Kansas State, our 3rd game will be against one of Nevada (MWC) or Kansas State (Big 12). 

 

This is the best OOC we've ever had (that I can remember), and we've done well to handle our business against the mid-majors. Would love to knock off LSU tomorrow. I truly believe the Mississippi State game is different if we didn't play an OT game against a great opponent 4 days prior. The blowout result was most likely due to fatigue and dead legs more than anything. Having to play a very scrappy Morgan State squad 4 days later did not bode well, either. We saw today what we're capable of with fresher legs. I would imagine tomorrow is much closer than the Mississippi State game was in the second half. Geaux Zips!

if we lost because of an extra 5 minutes of ball 4 days before our 2nd game of the season, we are in for a long year

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21 minutes ago, zippy5 said:

if we lost because of an extra 5 minutes of ball 4 days before our 2nd game of the season, we are in for a long year

Yes, wait for when this person finds out we'll have to win 3 games in 3 days in Cleveland to make the tournament.

 

MSU was just simply the better team. Jans runs a 10-man rotation, which allows him to keep his players fresh. That's the difference between having depth and not having it.

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Some KenPom numbers of note:

 

Zips shoot up 25+ spots to 100, good for 3rd in the MAC behind Toldeo and Kent

 

LSU is a 5-pt. favorite at the books and on KP, which predicts a 69-64 Tigers win.

 

Kansas State and Nevada are rated 60 and 95, respectively.

 

Mississippi State has shot all the way up to 25. Not sure that one is sustainable, but they've been very good to start the Jans era. 

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3 minutes ago, LoyalZIP said:

Some KenPom numbers of note:

 

Zips shoot up 25+ spots to 100, good for 3rd in the MAC behind Toldeo and Kent

 

LSU is a 5-pt. favorite at the books and on KP, which predicts a 69-64 Tigers win.

 

Kansas State and Nevada are rated 60 and 95, respectively.

 

Mississippi State has shot all the way up to 25. Not sure that one is sustainable, but they've been very good to start the Jans era. 

I see zero reason why Toledo would be ranked ahead of us at this point if the ranking is based purely off of on court performance. Toledo has one nice mid major win and a really bad loss. We have two nice mid major wins and a “good” loss, considering it came against a SEC team ranked 25 in their standings. 
 

MSU had a nice win over Marquette last night. They look to be a competitor in conference this season.

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23 minutes ago, LZIp said:

I see zero reason why Toledo would be ranked ahead of us at this point if the ranking is based purely off of on court performance. Toledo has one nice mid major win and a really bad loss. We have two nice mid major wins and a “good” loss, considering it came against a SEC team ranked 25 in their standings. 
 

MSU had a nice win over Marquette last night. They look to be a competitor in conference this season.

 

Unfortunately, I've yet to find a rating system that doesn't account for preseason ranking, which is always subjective and assumes a lot based on previous performance. With that said, the top three of the MAC are the top three MAC teams in KenPom, and I always find KenPom to be the most reasonable rating system. If Toledo loses to ECU or finishes in the bottom 2 of that tournament, they will drop significantly. UA will drop significantly if they put up a clunker like they did in Philly. 

 

Early in they year these things are always a bit all over the place. For example, UA plummeted after losing to MSU, and skyrocketed after beating WKU, both games by 19. Once the year goes on, those jumps become far less likely and everything settles into place.

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27 minutes ago, LZIp said:

I see zero reason why Toledo would be ranked ahead of us at this point if the ranking is based purely off of on court performance. Toledo has one nice mid major win and a really bad loss. We have two nice mid major wins and a “good” loss, considering it came against a SEC team ranked 25 in their standings. 
 

MSU had a nice win over Marquette last night. They look to be a competitor in conference this season.

Kenpom has preseason data baked into their formula to help compensate for the small sample sizes. It isn't until mid-January that kenpom ranking are fully reflective of the current season.

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17 hours ago, MDZip said:

Did anybody realize Toledo was getting votes in the others receiving votes category in the top 25 poll? Their loss to UKMC should take care of that. Their opening schedule was not that good.

 

Nobody gets votes in the "others receiving votes category." Toledo was getting votes in the top 25 poll, just not enough to sniff making the top 25. With the loss to UMKC, the rockets took an important step towards fulfilling their manifest destiny of losing to any team with a kangaroo mascot.

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