Will this be the year Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish can find their way back to the Final Four? We'll know in the next three weeks but in order to do so the Irish will have to first survive the #15 seed in the Southwestern Region, Akron.
Akron Zips: 23-12, 9-7 in the Mid American Conference
Scorer - Nikola Cvetinovic (11.9 ppg)
Rebounder - Nikola Cvetinovic (7.0 rpg)
Assists - Alex Abreu (3.5 apg)
Akron played their way into the NCAA Tournament by winning the MAC Tournament on March 12 with a 66-65 overtime win over Kent State. The Zips finished third in the eastern division of the MAC before going on their run in their conference tournament.
7-footer Zeke Marshall caused havoc on Kent State in the MAC title game, scoring 9 points, grabbing 13 boards, and blocking 9 shots. Zeke did however foul out of six games this season while picking up 4 fouls in 12 other contests.
You'll see a lot of three-balls from the Zips as 34% of their points came via the three-pointer this year. Catch them on the wrong day and it could be a bad ending. The positive of them being so three-point-happy is that they rarely get to the free throw line.
Akron played just five games all season against opponents ranked in the top 100 and went a combined 0-5, losing by an average of 14.4 points per contest.
More to come throughout the week, but in case you missed it the Irish will play the early game at the United Center on Friday (12:40 CT). As a result I won't be able to go because I'll be stuck at work...