Akron got it right the third time.
Sparked by freshman guard Anthony "Humpty" Hitchens, the Zips,
who watched as other teams cut down the nets the past two years
after the championship, won their first Mid-American Conference
tournament title and the NCAA berth that goes with it by beating
Buffalo 65-53 on Saturday night.
Akron is back in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1986,
and they'll be there for the first time as a MAC member. The Zips
were in the Ohio Valley Conference 23 years ago, when then-coach
Bob Huggins stalked the sideline.
Unleashing an in-your-face defense for 40 minutes, the
fifth-seeded Zips (23-12) harassed the Bulls (21-11) all over the
floor of Quicken Loans Arena, the home court of Akron's most famous
son, LeBron James.