Akron embracing the basketball side of #MACtion

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Looks like one team is really embracing the cult love of #MACtion. At least to an extent.

Akron is planning it’s own Social Media Night along with unveiling the programs’ new uniforms for the team’s game against Ohio on Saturday. The uniforms will be Nike’s newest addition to college basketball and will “feature the Akron Z in black and white on the jersey, blue and white-accented side panels, as well as the word “Akron” outlined in white on the shorts.

All this is according to a release from the school.

As far as the social media aspect, the Zips have adorned their court with Twitter hashtags #ZipsGameday and #ThinkBigger along the sideline and near the basket supports. According to the release, the #ThinkBigger tag is an adage to coach Keith Dambrot’s motto for the 2012-13 season for Akron.

Fans will also be able to enter for a chance to be a “social media correspondent” for the team by tweeting @ZipsMBB, using the hashtag #ZipsSocialMedia or posting a message to the ZipsMBB Facebook page. The deadline for that is 5 p.m. tomorrow.

There are other ways fans can get involved and win prizes, such as winning an autographed basketball by tweeting photos of their gameday experience to the Zips official Twitter account.

Got to hand it to Akron. Embracing social media is very important to a lot of low and mid-major schools in college athletics, especially for fan engagement and growing a programs’ fan base. In a conference that has one of the greatest hashtag phenomenons in recent memory — despite that it’s primarily intended for football — it’s good to see the basketball side catching up.

#MACtion, baby. Catch the fever.

Photo courtesy of the University of Akron Athletics Department

David Harten is the founder of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.