After winning the regular season title, the Akron Zips were at least guaranteed a spot in the National Invitation Tournament. Losing out on a chance to go dancing, the Zips will open up NIT play on the road to play against Ohio State, who lose to Big Ten champions Michigan State in the quarterfinals of their conference tournament. The two have been placed in the Monmouth-Florida Quadrant as Ohio State (20-13) grabbed a 3-seed with Akron as a 6-seed.
Entering the MAC Tournament as the top-seeded team, but fell to Buffalo in the championship round after Blake Hamilton hit a game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left in the game. The Zips, 26-8, had a 34 RPI but their overall resume wasn't enough for the committee to make them the first team from the MAC to play in the NCAA Tournament as an at-large since 1999.
The Zips bring on a lot of promise for their 2-hour drive to Columbus, led by MAC Coach of the Year Keith Dambrot with First Team All-MAC player Isaiah Johnson and Honorable Mention guard Antino Jackson. Buckeyes have three Big Ten Honorable Mention players in Keita Bates-Diop (6.4 rpg), Marc Loving (13.7 ppg) and Jae'Sean Tate (52% field goals).
The two will meet up Tuesday at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN. Winner of this game will play against the winner of Florida vs. North Florida.