USA TODAY Sports
Many bracketologists expected the Zips to get shipped out west, but the NCAA did Akron (and the MAC) a huge favor by keeping the Roo close to home.
The Akron Zips have had their name called, and they are the 12th seed in the South Region in the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. They will face the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the second round on Thursday, March 21st in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Akron has an interesting draw here. Virginia Commonwealth lost in the championship game of the Atlantic 10 tournament but has had a lot of recent success in the NCAA tournament. The match-up can be examined further as the week progresses, but one thing is for certain -- the Zips will have to be as disciplined as possible in order to win. The Rams are as good as it gets at creating turnovers, and that ability is a large factor in their success.
Should Akron advance to play on Saturday, March 23rd, they would play the winner of the Michigan vs. South Dakota State game. MAC fans will recognize the Wolverines as the team that lost to Ohio in the NCAA Tournament last season. While Michigan has some of the best talent in the country, they have not played well in recent weeks and would appear to be a vulnerable team. Of course, you can't entirely write off the Jackrabbits of SDSU. They won the Summit League championship and, although they lost in the second round last year, they gave Baylor all they could handle before falling 68-60.
It will be difficult, but I think Akron has an opportunity for a run to the regional semis in Dallas.
The rest of Akron's region stacks up like this:
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Western Kentucky
(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Villanova
(4) Michigan vs. (13) South Dakota State
(6) UCLA vs. (11) Minnesota
(3) Florida vs. (14) Northwestern State
(7) San Diego State vs. (10) Oklahoma
(2) Georgetown vs. (15) Florida Gulf Coast