Posted on: March 13, 2010 8:40 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2010 8:57 pm

Did I catch a "niner" in there?

Thomas Beisner

8:30 PM

For the first time since 2005, Ohio University has something to celebrate other than the greatest Halloween party in the history of the world.  Thanks to a dynamite backcourt duo of junior Armon Bassett and freshman D.J. Cooper, the ninth-seeded Bobcats are going dancing after knocking off third-seeded Akron in the MAC final, 81-75.

Bassett, a 6'2" transfer from Indiana, continued his dominance of the MAC tourney, going for 25 points on 8-16 shooting.  Bassett, who averaged 16 points in the regular season, absolutely went off in Cleveland, averaging 29 points in the Bobcats' four upset wins.  But, against a hungry Akron squad, the play of a struggling freshman was what the Bobcats needed to make a difference.

In their previous two games against Kent State and Miami, Ohio was able to advance without much contribution from their second-leading scorer.  D.J. Cooper combined for 1-10 shooting and four total points in the two contests, well below the 13 points he averaged in his inaugural college campaign.  Against the Zips, though, Cooper found his stroke again and put up the type of LeBron James-esque statline Cleveland has become accustomed to.  Cooper finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds and six assists, with 5 of those points and one crucial block coming in the extra period.

For head coach John Groce, it's a return to the tournament for the first time since Florida broke his little Buckeye heart in the national championship game in 2007.  This time, he'll again play the role of underdog - a position he seems to be comfortable with.

Ohio University, it's time to get your Cinderella outfits out seven months early.  You're going dancing.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Akron, MAC, Ohio
Posted on: March 13, 2010 4:26 pm

Get ready for some Buckeye on Buckeye MACtion

Thomas Beisner

4:00 PM

Under the watchful eye of second-year coach John Groce, an Ohio cult hero responsible for assembling OSU's Oden-Conley-Cook recruiting class, the ninth-seeded Ohio Bobcats have put together a Cinderella-like run in the MAC tournament.  After an overtime victory against the Ball State fighting Boom Goes the Dynamite Guys, Groce's squad beat down top-seeded Kent State by 17 points.  Now, after a 12-point victory over "MAC Daddy" Charlie Coles and his Miami Redhawks, all that stands between the Bobcats and a miraculous trip to the NCAA tournament is the Akron Zips.

However, the third-seed Zips don't plan on going into the night quietly.  Thanks to stats so evenly distributed Karl Marx wears a Zips hoodie, Akron has conquered their neighbors to the north, beating Eastern Michigan Thursday and Western Michigan on Friday.  Coach Keith Dambrodt, LeBron James' high school coach, doesn't have the luxury of a 6'8" 240 pound superstar anymore, so he relies on balance, playing eight guys at least 17 minutes per game. 

With neither team having a shot at an at-large bid, it's do or die tonight in Cleveland, which I'm sure is not the only time that statement's been made.  Maybe the first time it hasn't been literal.  If the Bobcats prevail, the NCAA tournament will have yet another heartwarming story and if the Zips should win, Kentucky might lose superfan LeBron James, whose front-running fandom (Yankees, Cowboys, Kentucky, Jordan's Bulls) knows no bounds.

It's the MAC and it gets started at 6 pm.  Don't miss it.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 11, 2010 11:46 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 12:19 am

Late night updates

John Wilkinson

And the Big East does it again. What a finish as West Virginia and De'Sean Butler escape at the buzzer, restoring a semblance of normalcy in an otherwise parallel bracket. 

We breezed through the first part of Conference Championship week and found it to be a bit chalky quite frankly, then the Big East goes out today and completely turns our blogging world on its head. The most feared conference in all the land with it's self-important "double-byes" and permanent NYC home, has been dwindled to four: an 8-seed, 7-seed, 5-seed and a 3-seed. 

And yes, De'sean Butler is nails. Stay tuned for more Big East updates.

--For the game of the night we go to the MAC, where the Akron Zips survived Eastern Michigan 97-89 in double OT. Eagles guard Carlos Medlock poured in 42 points in the upset bid, the second most in MAC tournament history. Even more amazing, the seven technicals called between the teams with three ejections. That's just how they do things in the MAC. Dog v. dog. Ohio University provided the other big news, as they throttled top-seeded Kent St. 81-64 to earn a spot in the semis. 

--PAC 10 regular season champs by default, the Cal Bears, disposed of the wounded Ducks of Oregon, 90-74 in quarterfinal action. The loss wrecks coach Ernie Kent's pre-tournament prognostication, and soon, his job. Cal guard Tajuan Porter set the PAC 10's career 3-point record with his 343rd to break the mark held by former Zona guard Salim Stoudemire. The win moves Cal to the semis and a date with UCLA, which surely makes Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz quite happy, which will ultimately lead to the termination of the band. 

--The Mountain West held true today, with top seeds New Mexico, BYU, and San Diego St. all advancing despite each getting pushed to the end. UNLV tips off against Utah sometime before sunrise, I hope. On a day where conference MVP Darington Hobson racked up 28 points for New Mexico, runner-up Jimmer Fredette went off for 45 in a 95-85 BYU win over TCU. Fredette made 23-24 free-throws and topped 40 points for the second time this season. 

--The C-USA appears to be a one bid league now with a pair of bubbles bursting in Memphis and UAB. Memphis may still have a shot a a bid but they'll need some help or just a 96-team tournament. Also, Marshall fell to Tulsa tonight 80-64, meaning the most intriguing player most of us have never watched will not be in the dance. Seven-foot freshman Hassan Whiteside is being projected as a lottery pick and recorded a set of triple-doubles this season.

--In the Southland, my NCAA Tourney sleeper Sam Houston State survives 89-85 against SE Louisiana to set up clash of top seeded gents, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, for tickets to the deb ball. 


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