2014 MAC Men's Basketball Tournament: Akron vs. Ohio Preview

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

These two split their regular season series, and one of those games went to double-overtime. This should be very, very fun to watch.

The Akron Zips and Ohio Bobcats tangle for the third time in the 2014 season this evening when they kick off the third round of the 2014 Mid-American Conference Men's Basketball Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Zips are 20-11 thus far during the 2013-2014 season, while Ohio is 23-10.  The pair split their regular season meetings during the regular season.

The second of the two head-to-head matchups wasn't much of a contest.  Ohio won 66-50 at the J.A.R. in February and did so by roaring out to a 36-20 halftime lead.  By the end, they shot 54.7 percent from the floor, while Akron made only 26.8 percent of their shots.  In fact, Akron sank only 15 field goals for the entire game, and that was equal to their number of successful free throws.  It was good that Ohio shot so well, because they were called for double the fouls and earned only six free throw attempts.

The first game, played in Athens in early January, was far more competitive -- it went to double overtime.  Both teams shot effectively, and there were plenty of free throws to go around.  There were also heroics, specifically via Akron's Quincy Diggs.  Diggs tagged the bottom of the basket with a shot inside the final 10 seconds of the first overtime to extend the game.  Then, in the second overtime, he scored the final bucket to give the Zips some breathing room in the final seconds of an 83-80 win.

Diggs combined for 33 points and 16 rebounds in the pair of games, while Demetrius Treadwell added 29 points and 17 rebounds.  For Ohio to advance, those are clearly the two individuals they will need to slow down.  Akron will need to stop the star guard duo of Nick Kellogg and Travis Wilkins.  Kellogg posted 30 points between the two games, while Wilkins added 14.  Maurice Ndour scored 25 in the double-OT loss for Ohio, while Joe Smith helped the Bobcats earn the win in Akron with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Both teams are in the middle of the pack for both offense and defense, so the game could break either way on that frong.  However, this game should be at no loss for excitement, as both rosters are stacked with some of the league's best players.

The game will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST and will be carried live by Time Warner Cable Sports Channel.  It can also be streamed online at ESPN.com or via the WatchESPN application.  It will also be streamed live on the MAC Digital Network.

The winner of this bout moves on to play #1 Western Michigan tomorrow evening, and that game will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST.

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