It’s safe to say that fans of the Akron Zips had much different designs for how this season was going to turn out. Top-seeded heading into the Mid-American Conference tourney, the Akron Zips looked to be the odds on favorite to run the table and hear their name on Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Big Dance, the Zips were upset by 6-seeded Kent State.
The Golden Flashes stole the bid and now travel to Sacramento to play UCLA in an opening round game. But the season goes on for the Zips, as they earn an automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament by way of being the regular season champion of your favorite conference in the Rust Belt.
Their reward? A date with 2nd-seed Houston (21-10), who will host the festivities on Wednesday evening in the Lonestar State. The Cougars finished 3rd this season in the AAC, behind Cincinnati and SMU, both NCAA tournament teams. They were upset by UConn in their opener in the AAC tourney, a surprise given their season performance. Their only real head scratcher of a loss was a 19-point thumping by LSU early in the season. Suffice to say, this is a very difficult opponent for the Zips.
Tip time for Wednesday’s game is 7:30 and is viewable on ESPNU. We’ll have more on the Zips and Cougars on Monday. But for now, your full NIT bracket is viewable here.