Keith Dambrot

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Akron

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here

Conference: Mid-American Conference

Coach: Keith Dambrot

Record: 26-6

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 60
– RPI: 49
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Southern as a No. 13 seed playing Syracuse in the second round in Saturday’s bracket projection.

Names you need to know: Zeke Marshall (13.1 ppg, 7.0, 3.7 bpg), Demetrius Treadwell (11.3 ppg, 7.9 ppg)

Stats you need to know: 13. Akron has qualified for the NCAA tournament three times in the last five seasons. In 2009 and 2011, the Zips were topped in their first game by 13 points (Gonzaga in 2009, Notre Dame in 2011). Akron is 0-3 all time in the NCAA tourney.

How’d they get here?: The Zips, who won 19 straight at one point this season, got in with the automatic bid winning the MAC title in a win over Ohio on Saturday in Cleveland. Since its 19-game-winning streak was snapped, Akron was 2-2 entering Saturday’s game.

Outlook: Akron did look like a team capable of an upset, though, that all changed when point guard Alex Abreu was arrested and suspended indefinitely. Now without an experience floor general and the team’s top 3-point shooting threat, Akron’s chances in the tournament have been altered.

How do I know you?: The Zips now have to rely on the point guard play of freshman Carmelo Betancourt. In three games in an expanded role, Betancourt is averaging 3.6 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne


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.