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.