As the tournament rolls around quicker than ever before, the Zags finished last year off to another dissapointment to another cinderella in Davidson. This year however, Gonzaga looks to make a mark in the tournament, and they start with the Akron Zips.
The first question that comes outta your mouth probably isn't if Gonzaga is going to win the game or not, its probably something like this:
"What the hell is a Zip????" Well, origionally short for "Zippers" Akron decided on this nickname back in the early years of their collegiate athletics, and the students voted for their nickname. Don't ask me why either, I read it a few years back, and that is all that stuck in my mind. Anways, the Akron mascot is not a zipper, its actually a female kangaroo named Zippy. Zippy is only one a select few female mascots in the entire country.
The others? Well I will only include some of the more familiar schools, and you can differentiate amongst yourselves....
Lulu the female Bulldog (Gardner-Webb University)
Ralphie the Buffalo (Colorado University)
Udee the Hen (Delaware University)
Frieda the Falcon (Bowling Green University)
Penny the Penguin (Youngstown State University)
Lucy the Lobo [a companion to the origional and other mascot of Louie the Lobo] (New Mexico University)
So, now that we got the whole "Zips" Thing outta the way, lets get to my preview....
In this battle of Gonzaga vs. Akron, I would like to tell you one thing. The Zags like to play any kinda style of basketball. Whether its run and gun or the half court offense, they can play either to full potential. In this matchup with the Zips, I look for them to be scoring on a ton of transition points, and keeping the Zips to a full minimum of half court defense. Keep them running, and also try to keep Matt Bouldin involved in every way possible.
Also, for Akron, they will probably play the half court style game, and they will try to feed the ball to their best players. However, best players don't fit into the mix, when talking about Akron. While they only score about 55-65 points a game, they spread the ball around, and aren't selfish with the ball, nor do they make mistakes. The two highest scorers on their team are Brett McKnight (11.4 ppg) and Nate Linhart (10.1 ppg) ....
Soooo... basically they will play a lot of keep away to my belief and try to keep the Zags off balance (even though that will be hard to do.)
In the game for the Zags, perimeter shooting should take a lot out of the Zips early, as I think Stephen Gray should shoot the 3-ball with rather ease in this one. I think he gets around 4 or 5 makes in this one. Backdoor cuts to Matt Bouldin, and Bouldin lifting spirtis giving alley-oops to Josh Heytvelt will be key too. With Jeremy Pargo not the primary target for this team to get points, I think Pargo will get a lot more assists, and mid range jumpers in this one. Pargo will differentiate between the two, and should have a solid (but not great) game.
Overall, I think the Zips hang tight with the Zags early, but after halftime, they fall apart. I am not sure the Defense of Akron can keep ALL of the Zags weapons down.
Zags win this one something like 84-58.
An overview of the game will be written after the game tomorrow. Should be a good one, and if the Zips win this game or keep it closer than I think, I won't be afraid to admit I was wrong, but that is just how I see it folks.