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Ohio Bobcats vs. Akron Zips men's basketball preview: sMACk Talk, renewed rivalry style

The Zips and Kitties have gone a while without a meaningful matchup. There's only one way to celebrate. sMACk Talk.

The Ohio Bobcats visit the Akron Zips in the biggest MAC game of the season on Tuesday. Ohio needs a win to put themselves in position to take the regular season championship and the number one seed in the tournament, and the Zips can lock up the regular season title and one seed with a win. Is there a better way to preview this renewed rivalry than Talkin' sMACk? I think now.

What: Ohio Bobcats at Akron Zips

When: 8:00p.m. EST on Tuesday March 1, 2016

TV: ESPN3, American Sports Network

Matt Hammond: Ah, we meet again, kitty cat. After a couple of down years, the Bobcats finally learned how to basketball again. That is, until the mighty Zips invaded the Convo back on February 2 and pulled away with an 80-68 win. Now that Ohio is back playing meaningful games, what went wrong in the meantime? Was there too much hype around #SAULBALL too early?

Kaleb Carter: Ah zippy zip. I mean, nice of the fighting Dambrot's to come back to Earth and lose again this week. To Miami of all teams. I'm sure that was fun. I mean, y'all are good for some nice wins here and there, but at least we don't lose to the RedHawks. I mean the hype around Saul Ball faded. At least we know the hype was legitimate now that Ohio is good once more. We might lose to BG but at least it's not the crapshoot that Miami is.

MH: I see it more as just taking the night off to give the boys some rest given the fact that they've been able to keep the outright lead in that MAC for so many weeks now. The Miami game is in the past anyway, just three days after the Bowling Green beat up on Ohio like it was a Wednesday night in November, they remembered that they were a basketball team and proceeded to do what they do best: lose to Akron by a lot. But enough about the Bobcat beaters--err-- Falcons, what intrigues you about this eventual Ohio U loss on Tuesday night at the hands of the Zippers?

KC: Apart from Campbell's latest game, he was absolutely murdering as of late. Seriously, you think he isn't going to go off on y'all this time around? Good luck with that. We're coming into the J.A.R. and we are wrecking y'all. No way around it. Treg Setty scored 24 last time out, Kaminski netted 22 and Simmons had 31. You can't possibly feel comfortable going into this one. So much for rest. The Zips straight up lost to the RedHawks. No other way around it. And oh, football jokes. Congrats on the BEST season in program history with 8 wins, I'm sure the Zips and Bowden's boring behind are very proud. And Ohio lost by a lot? Okay. Whatever you need to get through Quicken Loans. Ohio is about hit its run. The Zips need to run and hide while they still can.

Meanwhile, yes Ohio lost at home. So why can't Ohio turn it around, especially after Akron just played some CRAP competition.

MH: Oh believe me, I hope this isn't the last time these two meet up this year. Nobody in the MAC comes close to these two, if you ask me. I also like when Akron has easy games in Cleveland.

So, why does Jaaron Simmons play so many minutes? Does #Saul even have a bench? Is it worse than is was last year?

As far as Tony Campbell goes, I look forward to his matchup with the Big Dog, Isaiah Johnson. They played against each other before college and are playing at the top of their games this season. Honestly, I'd like to see them in a cheeseburger eating contest against each other as much as I want to see them go at it on the court on Tuesday (that's a compliment). So while Big Dog has yet another field day against the Kittens (18 points, 9 rebounds last time around) what will they do to stop Steph Cur--I mean Reggie McAdams or Jake Kretzer or Antino Jackson or Noah Robotham or Kwan Cheatham or Josh Williams from continuing to shoot the three at around 40% or better?

KC: As far as Simmons goes, Saul didn't even try to bring in another point guard because he knew just how reliable Simmons would be, and he has been proven right. In the meantime, Ohio has a proven group of guys who can distribute the ball even if Simmons were to have an off-game, but I do very much enjoy having a PG who plays 38 great minutes of ball per game (that's a guy who is coming off possibly his best game of the year too)

I would love to take on Johnson or Campbell in a cheeseburger eating content, but that's mostly because I wang free cheeseburgers. If you'll recall last time, McAdams and Kretzer didn't set the world aflame from beyond the arc, the Zips win could be largely attributed to Williams, This time around I'm fully confident in Ohio to get some stops and grab up a win out of the JAR. Co-regular season champs sounds pretty good.

MH: There are going to be a lot of fun match ups in this one. Simmons vs. Robotham and Jackson, Kaminsky and Setty vs. McAdams and Kretzer, Tony Campbell vs. Big Dog. This one is about to be sweet, no wonder the MAC wanted this one to start an hour later than the rest of the games. Everyone wants to see this one. That said, what's your prediction? Will the Kittens go home with their tails between their legs?

KC: Everyone wants to see this indeed. And boy do the Bobcats want this one. As a Zips fan, doesn't the idea of watching the Bobcats celebrate a co-championship make your blood boil? I think Ohio will continue its excellent play against some of the MAC's best and will find a way to shut Akron down from beyond the arc. Ohio wins 77-72. Your thoughts?

MH: Like Ohio celebrating a co-championship like they did back in 2013? How'd that turn out? Anyway, I expect some of the same in this one as the previous matchup. Akron may not have Pat Forsythe back, but I don't see the shooters having that poor of a performance again, especially with the high stakes especially at home. I see it being a game for the ages with the Zips reminding Ohio who's boss with an 82-72 win, cutting down the nets for the third time in five years.