The Akron Zips fell one game short of once again playing for a MAC tournament championship, but their disappointment will (hopefully) be short-lived. They have accepted an invitation to compete in the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Tournament and will travel to Fort Wayne, Ind. to face the IPFW Mastadons at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19th.
This will be the seventh consecutive postseason appearance for Akron. The Zips appeared in the NCAA Tournament and lost in their opening game in 2013 (Virginia Commonwealth), 2011 (Notre Dame) and 2009 (Gonzaga). Akron played in the CBI Tournament in 2010 and lost to Green Bay in the opening round. They also made appearances in the NIT in 2012, when they lost to Northwestern, and 2008. In the latter appearance, the Zips beat Florida State before they lost to Massachusetts. Overall, Akron is 2-10 all-time in postseason games.
Akron has delivered a 21-12 overall record thus far during the 2013-2014 season. They finished 8-5 during non-conference play and won games against Coastal Carolina, Cleveland State and Oregon State, each of whom are playing in the postseason. Their five losses included tough road games at Saint Mary's and Middle Tennessee State, as well as a game against NCAA Tournament participant Iowa State.
The Zips were 12-6 in the MAC regular season and split the regular season series with both Ohio and Buffalo. They also swept fellow CIT team Eastern Michigan. In the MAC Tournament, the Zips earned a second win against Ohio with an 83-77 third-round victory. Then, in the semifinals against Western Michigan, Akron lost an 18-point lead in the second half and fell in overtime.
Akron's primary scorers are Demetrius Treadwell and Quincy Diggs. Treadwell comes tantalizingly close to averaging a double-double per game with 14.9 points and 8.7 rebounds. Diggs earns 12.5 points per game and leads the team in both assists and steals.
IPFW (Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne) owns a 24-10 record to date. They were 12-5 in non-conference games, and that included a win over Bowling Green and a loss at Miami. Against Summit League teams, the Mastadons were 10-4 and earned the #2 seed in the conference tournament. They beat IUPUI and South Dakota State in the first two rounds but fell to North Dakota State in the conference championship game by three points.
The Mastadons rank well on both ends of the floor. They rank 11th nationally by making 48.9 percent of their field goals, and that extends beyond the arc. IPFW ranks in the top 40 in 3-point field goal attempts and in the top 20 in both 3-point field goal percentage and total 3-pointers made. This leads to a 75.9 points per game average, which is 56th nationally. They lead the Summit League in assists, rebounds and steals.
Individually, IPFW has three long-ball artists that rank in the top 250 nationally and top seven in the Summit League for 3-pointers. Luis Jacobo has 69 for the season, while Mo Evans has 61 and Michael Kibiloski has 59.
This will be the first-ever game between Akron and IPFW.