March 7, 2008 4:11 pm ET by Kyle Whelliston
Kent State at Akron (Mid-American)
James A. Rhodes Arena - Akron, OH
7:00 PM EST
So it's come to this. The final G!O!T!N! of the year, the last contest our virtual crew will travel to on the last day of the regular season. Everything's pretty much been settled as far as the MAC race goes (Kent clinched the regular-season title early this week) and all that's left to fight for is pride.
And when we're talking about Kent-Akron, there's a lot of that at stake. Separated by only 10 miles, they're the conference's least friendly neighbors. In American-style football, they tussle over the Wagon Wheel, but on the hardcourt they prefer just to drive over each other. Kent (24-6, 12-3) pulled a second-half comeback out of a 10-point halftime deficit in the first meeting of the season, 75-69 on Jan. 23, and holds a slim 63-60 advantage in the all-time series. But Akron (21-8, 11-4) had won the previous four matchups, including a bruising 61-54 eliminator in last March's MAC semis that left marks on each and every spectator's eyes.
As for those 2007-08Zips, don't count them out as a potential MAC tourney spoiler. The key to Akron's fortunes in this game and at the tourney in Cleveland likely will be 6-6 senior Jeremiah Wood, the team's leading scorer and rebounder (13.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg) who's coming back from a knee injury that looked liike it would end his season. But he's performed well in his three games back, playing above his season averages with 14.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg.
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