Some unofficial musing as we head for Cleveland Print E-mail
Written by J. Scott Fitzwater   
Tuesday, March 09 2010
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It's the best week of the year.  Let's have some fun, shall we?  We already revealed our official rewards, so let's do some other stuff.  After all, we still have two days until the quarterfinals.  Gotta have something to bide the time.

Here's my all-division teams.  The sixth men are just there because I'm about to imagine these teams playing a seven-game series and they're the ones I would take for these teams.

All-MAC East                                   All-MAC West
Justin Greene, Kent                       Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan
Brett McKnight, Akron                    Jarrod Jones, Ball State
Chris Singletary, Kent                    Xavier Silas, Northern Illinois
Rodney Pierce, Buffalo                  David Kool, Western Michigan
DJ Cooper, Ohio                            Robbie Harman, Central Michigan
Sixth Man: Zeke Marshall, Akron  Sixth Man: Justin Dobbins, Eastern Michigan

Look at those teams for a moment.  If you were to play them in a seven-game series, the West has a serious chance of winning, don't they?  They have better shooters than the East and probably better rebounding.  The East has better defense, a little more versatility on offense, and Marshall off the bench to change the defensive look.  I don't know.  I think that goes at least six.  Kent fans might consider Anthony Simpson a serious omission, but I'm pretending there's a no more than two players from one team rule.  And I like Marshall's defense, even though Simpson would give the East a needed offensive boost.

The funny thing is this highlights the gap between the East and the West.  The West might have the best individual players.  But aside from those six, does anyone stand out in the division?  Not really.  There are a number of players in the East that can be argued for inclusion, like Simpson.  There's also Kenny Hayes of Miami, Tommy Freeman of Ohio (one of the best pure shooters in the country), Max Boudreau and/or Titus Robinson of Buffalo.  And more.  The depth blows the West away.

Let's hand out more superlatives:

All-Name Team
Rodriquez Sherman, Kent
Humpty Hitchens, Akron
Adekambi Laleye, Buffalo
Flenard Whitfield, Western Michigan
Brawley Chisholm, Ball State
Sixth man: Josh Freelove, Toledo

I realize Humpty is not his real name.  But everyone calls him that.  So there.

Quote of the Year
I can't believe you asked that question; I really can't believe it.  Let me see here. Kentucky Wildcats. No. 4 in the country. I'm hearing four first-round draft choices. And you're asking me how that got away from me?

- Charlie Coles after John Wall hit a buzzer beater to lift Kentucky to a two-point win against Miami.

Game of the Year
Nobody saw this, thanks to our abomination of a TV contract, but Ohio and Akron played 50 minutes of compelling basketball Feb. 14.

The Zips were seven point favorites and gathering momentum on their title run.  Ohio was struggling and had already surrendered a home loss to Akron, so few expected the Bobcats to win at the JAR.  Akron struggled from the free throw line and from behind the arc, and Ohio was able to keep the game close, even seizing short leads even though they also had trouble making shots.

Akron kept pulling out to short leads in the last five minutes, but they could not extend their lead past four.  Armon Bassett's three pointer tied it with 2:28 remaining and DJ Cooper's jumper with 38 seconds left tied it again after Chris McKnight regained the lead for Akron.  The Zips could not score in the final moments, sending the game into overtime.

UA scored on their first two possessions of the extra frame and led by six halfway through the period.  However, a deluge of Bobcat threes, capped by a difficult Tommy Freeman bomb with 10 seconds left, evened the score at 80 at the end of overtime.

Akron again jumped out to a five point lead 90 seconds in.  Cooper scored four unanswered in 30 seconds to pull within 1 and hit another jumper after Brett McKnight hit two free throws.  The Zips could not score despite have the ball for a full minute and the ball was in Cooper's hands with the game on the line.  Cooper drove toward the basket... and fell.  Traveling.

Chris McKnight scored 25 points and pulled down 18 rebounds for Akron.  Jimmy Conyers had 20 points and 11 rebounds.  Reggie Keely had 16 points and 20 rebounds for Ohio, and DJ Cooper officially announced himself as the Next Big Thing in the MAC with a 33 points, 7 rebound, 5 assist, 3 steal performance.

In the end, Akron's superior depth (their bench outscored Ohio 48-12) was able to keep them fresh enough to fend off a shallow Bobcat team.  And 3,469 people were on the edge of their seat for 50 minutes.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, March 09 2010 )
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