I don't know how to excoriate a basketball team that had every different type of adversity thrown their way. Suspensions, arrests, injuries and even illnesses were chucked at this team. At some point that's going to catch up to you. Oh, and VCU is a menacing team who played a perfect game.
The Rams finished the game with five turnovers. Akron had 21. The full-court press just never let up, and VCU kept making shots until the clock emptied out all their seconds.
The Zips were forced into a seven-man rotation once Deji Ibitayo had back spasms and the flu befell Brian Walsh and Pat Forsythe, who played a total of 12 minutes. Walsh tried to go but just didn't have the strength and had to leave for the locker room. The senior did all he could but sometimes your body just says no. These aren't excuses, but reasons.
What made this game so shocking was that they obliterated Ohio, mostly because of their defense, even without Abreu. In this case, the defense had no shot, the shooting wasn't there (they didn't make their first 3-pointer until 5:19 left in the second half) and neither was the depth.
It set a new mark for futility. The worst MAC loss coming into this game was 27 years ago; Ball State fell to Memphis 95-63 and the Cardinals were down just six points at halftime. Losing by 46 is now the new worst game. It's also the biggest margin of victory by any team seeded third or worse. And here's the kicker: in their six regular season losses, the Zips lost by a combined 49 points. Ick.
The last impression is usually the one that sticks in your head, but everything up to this game was incredible for Akron. They won 19 straight games, achieved a brief Top 25 ranking, won the MAC regular season title and won the MAC tournament. Keith Dambrot won MAC Coach of the Year and Zeke Marshall became the conference king of blocked shots. These are all accomplishments many teams would love to have. When we get right down to it, wins in the NCAA tournament are program-changers, yes, but at times they seem to be occur the magic wand in Marble Madness; randomly and without favor to specific teams. Akron had no magic and no luck. VCU had it.
But the Zips do have a good future for 2013-14: Demetrius Treadwell seems to be scraping the surface of his potential, and Carmelo Betancourt will be more prepared for a larger playing role, assuming Alex Abreu does not come back. They have great shooting ability freshmen Jake Kretzer, Reggie McAdams and we'll see what happens to Pat Forsythe playing more minutes. Other MAC teams will continue to hate playing this team. They will probably lose more than two conference games, because regression's a merciless dominatrix, but they still have something to play for: an eighth straight MAC championship game appearance. Why not.