When we last met up with the Zips in the NCAA tournament, they were given a paltry 15-seed and we sort of knew they had no chance to beat Notre Dame. But then again, it was a down year in the conference — anybody would've been slotted that low.
This will be the fourth NCAA appearance for Akron and they've never won there. The likelihood of a win will depend on how where the selection committee places them, and who their opponent is.
Bracketology is about a soft science that you'll find, but right now ESPN has Akron as a 13-seed playing 4-seeded Michigan in Salt Lake City. That would be awful for them. The Wolverines were ranked No. 1 overall in the AP for a week (then again, so was pretty much everyone) then preceded to finish out the season 6-6. Sure, they lost to Penn State, and Akron beat Penn State (by 25!), but from a talent perspective Michigan is a top-five team and I don't like this matchup at all — especially since they're one year removed from underestimating what a MAC team can do.
Michigan is also the first team Akron ever played in the NCAAs, back in 1986 under Bob Huggins when they were still with the Ohio Valley Conference.
Let's look at some others:
CBS's bracketology: (13) Akron vs. (4) Syracuse. That would be wholly interesting, with 'Cuse's two excellent big men C.J. Fair and James Southerland matching up against Zeke Marshall and Demetrius Treadwell.
Yahoo! bracketology: (13) Akron vs. (4) Kansas State, assuming I am reading their board in the correct manner. This would mean Akron would have an advantage in the frontcourt, but KSU's guards may be able to go nuts on the perimeter.
Sports Illustrated bracketology: You're not going to believe this, but (13) Akron vs. (4) Marquette. The Golden Eagles play really well inside the arc, something the ZIps can nullify. And of all the possible opponents listed so far, they have potentially the weakest (albeit still very tough) defense. It's looking like the best case scenario this side of a 12-seed.
But at least we're getting some consistency in where they're going to land. The Zips had to be one of the most impressive teams on all of Saturday, and bopping Ohio by 19 points will certainly ensure the selection committee doesn't bump them down to a 14-seed on the basis of their point guard situation, but based on what I have read, I am not seeing a 12-seed in their future.
Who do you think Akron will play in the NCAA tournament? And who do you hope they'll draw in the first round?