College basketball fans by now should be aware of the news that dealt a devastating blow to the Akron Zips‘ expectations just two weeks ago.
Akron’s starting point guard Alex Abreu was arrested and then suspended indefinitely for allegedly trafficking marijuana. Abreu was averaging 10.3 points and 6.0 assists per game prior to his suspension, so that’s not something that the Zips can just replace with the snap of their finger prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament.
Now, credit Akron because they did manage to go on a run without Abreu and win the MAC Tournament against an Ohio squad that danced their own way to the Sweet 16 just one season ago. However, on Selection Sunday, the Zips were matched up with VCU, a favorable pick by many to make a run within the Big Dance.
Bottom line is this: without Abreu, Akron is in trouble.
They call it “havoc” and head coach Shaka Smart has transformed his athletic Rams squad into an in-your-face, give-me-that-ball defensive group that by definition, simply causes havoc.
Entering a contest without your starting point guard and leading assist man is not a good look for a team licking their chops to score the basketball and get up and provide pressure. In order for VCU to get into their press however, they must score on offense and take care of business in the half court.
If the Rams can score, write this one off because there’s no doubt that Akron will be turning the ball over more than usual in this one. If the Zips can’t slow this game down and get stops in the half court, it might get away from them quicker than expected.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS