MAC Tournament 2013 Championship: Game preview for Ohio vs. Akron

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

For the fifth-consecutive year, either Akron or Ohio will advance to the NCAA Tournament from the MAC. In a rematch of last year's championship game, won by Ohio, the Zips and Bobcats will face each other for the third time this year. Akron won both previous games.

It certainly isn't an original situation in the MAC Tournament championship.

Either Akron (25-6, 14-2 MAC) or Ohio (24-8) has represented the conference in the last four NCAA Tournaments. That streak will extend to five, as the winner of their tilt at 6:30 p.m. ET from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland will move on to the big dance.

Ohio defeated No. 3 seed Western Michigan, 74-63, to advance to Saturday's championship game, while Akron disposed of No. 4-seed Kent State, 62-59.

Akron will again be without starting point guard Alex Abreu, who was arrested earlier this month on drug trafficking charges. The Zips defeated Ohio in two regular season meetings, the last an 88-81 overtime affair on Feb. 27. It remains to be seen how the team will handle its second game without Abreu.

The Bobcats, a fundamentally disciplined team that leads the nation with 18 assists a game, will have to withstand the offensive power of Akron. Ohio shoots very well (.471 from the floor) but will struggle to compete with the much larger Zips on the glass.

Ohio defeated Akron 64-63 in the 2012 MAC Championship, kick-starting an impressive run in the NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats knocked off Michigan and South Florida before falling in overtime to No. 1 seed North Carolina.

Neither team was really challenged by any other MAC teams during the season, sharing identical 14-2 records.

More in College Basketball:

Your Bracketology update

The life and death of Earl Badu

Full coverage of the ACC tournament

Full coverage of the Big East tournament

Full coverage of the Big Ten tournament

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