“Just as it appeared the Mid-American Conference East Division standings were beginning to cement, Bowling Green defeated then nationally ranked Kent State 89-83 Saturday afternoon, keeping the Zips in contention for the division crown. If the Zips win tonight at Ohio, they’ll be playing for at least a share of the division title when Kent State comes to a sold-out Rhodes Arena Sunday night.””
Just as it appeared the Mid-American Conference East Division standings were beginning to cement, Bowling Green defeated then nationally ranked Kent State 89-83 Saturday afternoon, keeping the Zips in contention for the division crown.
If the Zips win tonight at Ohio, they’ll be playing for at least a share of the division title when Kent State comes to a sold-out Rhodes Arena Sunday night.
With Sunday serving as the Zips’ Senior Day for the team’s six seniors, the game has all the making of being something special and serving as a motivational lift for the MAC Tournament.
Three of those seniors – Nick Dials, Cedrick Middleton and Jeremiah Wood have scored over 1,000 points in their collegiate careers. All have battled injury problems this year – and at other times in their careers – but are now relatively healthy. That gives Zips’ fans a reason to be optimistic about the team’s chances of making a late-season and postseason run.
UA head coach Keith Dambrot talked in his news conference following UA’s 76-56 defeat of Buffalo Saturday about the importance of the team making a postseason tournament – whether that be the NCAA Tournament, the National Invitational Tournament or the newly formed College Basketball Invitational.
This program desperately needs to play in the postseason because of what happened last year, whether it is the NCAA, the NIT or the CBI, Dambrot said. This program has only been in the postseason four times.
Unlike a lot of UA fans, I couldn’t agree more. Certainly, I’d love to witness the Zips tear down the nets at Quicken Loans Arena March 15 and punch their second-ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament and first since the 1986 season, but there is a reason this time of year has earned the moniker of March Madness.
Anything can happen in a single-elimination tournament, especially one in which its rounds are played four consecutive days on a neutral floor.
That is why any tournament invitation is better than none. This year’s six-man senior class deserves to be known for more then for being members of the 2006-2007 squad that came within a few ticks of the clock and a desperation, buzzer-beating 3-pointer from a MAC Championship.
Middleton deserves to be remembered as the player who has played the most games in a UA uniform in school history; not the player who clanked the free throw off the rim that started the chain of nightmarish events for the Zips’ faithful last season and lay face-down on the floor as the Miami RedHawks celebrated their improbable victory. .
Dambrot credits his last two senior classes for bringing back a winning mindset to UA’s men’s basketball program.
We’ve taken a program that didn’t have a lot of history and our guys have made it into a winner, he said. Say what you want, but 20 wins is big.
The one thing the guys in this program have is a winning mentality, and I give them a lot of credit for that, because that’s something that’s hard to teach.
I’m sure the team, led by its senior class, will continue to have the same mentality for the remainder of the season – however long that may be.
No matter what happens between now and Sunday and the bearing that Senior Day ends up having on the standings, the game is full of significance for the team’s seniors, and they deserve to be sent off the Rhodes Arena floor for the last time the right way.