Akron's dream not over

USA TODAY Sports

The Akron Zips fell to Buffalo Saturday night 81-67. The loss signaled the end to the nation's longest winning streak, a top-25 ranking, and put a big dent in the Zips' at-large resume.

Akron's motto for the season has been "Think Bigger" and they've made it known throughout the year that their goal is not just to win the MAC, but to make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Tuesday was a big step towards this goal for the Zips as they took down their biggest threat in the MAC on the road, the Ohio Bobcats. The big win earned the Zips some more national media attention as they extended the streak and were looking at entering the AP top 25 come Monday.

As the Zips tend to do, they followed up a big win with a lackluster performance when they traveled to Buffalo. This should not come as too big of a surprise as the Zips had to overcome a 20 point deficit in the teams' first match-up. The combination of poor shooting from the Zips and lights out shooting from the Bulls led to Akron's demise. The execution on the defensive end was seemingly non-existent at times throughout the game.

Akron will not be ranked on Monday and the winning streak is no more, but that does not change the goals of the season. Akron can take care of business at the JAR this week and then head into Cleveland as a number 1 seed with two wins away from the tournament. The big concern for the Zips is that they might not only have to beat the Bobcats in the tournament but also Buffalo. The Bulls have played the Zips tough twice and are a lot better than their 12-17 record would signify.

Of course, the next question for the Zips is their at-large resume. The team's second loss to a team outside the top 200 will put a large hit on their at-large chances. A lot of things would need to go right for Akron with minimal surprise conference tournament winners and some struggles from the rest of the bubble teams, but an at-large bid is still potentially within reach. I'm sure the Zips and Keith Dambrot would prefer to win the tournament rather than have to sweat out a Selection Sunday.

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