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2017 NIT Tournament: Akron Eliminated by Texas-Arlington 85-69

And just like that, there is no more SHOOTYHOOPS

NCAA Basketball: Akron at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

I believe it was Boyz II Men who said that it was so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. If you are an Akron Zips fan this morning, yesterday is easy to say arrivederci to as the Zips ended their season in blowout fashion 85-69 at the hands of the 6th-seeded Texas-Arlington Mavericks (27-8) in NIT second-round action.

7th-seeded Akron (27-9) jumped to an early 3-0 lead with 18 minutes remaining in the first half, but once lost they would never lead again. The Zips were thoroughly outplayed, outgunned, and out SHOOTYHOOP’d as the Mavericks put on a clinic with several highlight reel dunks and a raucous home crowd. It was typical for UTA, as this was their 14th consecutive home victory. With the win they will host 8th-seeded Cal State-Bakersfield.

For the Zips, I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed for them and their fans, as this season was destined to be far more than an NIT second-round flameout. On the bright side, the Zips did finish with a school-record 27 wins and did get a postseason victory. They won the regular season MAC Championship, and given how much chaos ruled this season in the Rust Belt, that’s a feat unto itself.

With the loss, it closes the book on MAC basketball this season and shifts attention to the spring sports calendar and the always exciting NFL Draft. What it also does is open the door for significant questions about the state of MAC basketball and what can be done to improve the product on the court. From a national perspective, the MAC is largely irrelevant and closer to the bottom than the top as it stands with mid-major conferences. I know that Tuesday Night Lights and football and such is sort of the brand of MACtion, but I won’t lie and say that I wish life were different for MAC hoops.

Thoughts and suggestions about ways to improve the conference roundball action can go in the comments. We’ll champion the good ones.