(03-21-2017 09:29 AM)kreed5120 Wrote:
(03-21-2017 08:41 AM)axeme Wrote: It's hard to measure at this point. Seeing them play vs. Akron doesn't tell us a lot. While Akron was the best team in the MAC for the first 2/3 of the season, they clearly were not the best team in the MAC over the last third. So the team UTA played last night was not really the best measure of how they would have done in the MAC. They were 12-4 in the Sun Belt and lost their title game. They just didn't show Akron those weaknesses last night. And Akron has not been very good over the last 4-5 weeks.
Akron was still good enough to make the title game and good enough to push the eventual tournament winner to the closing minutes. Also, good enough to beat a pretty good Houston team.
UTA smoked a good BYU team just as badly. It should be noted UTA loss to Texas State in the tournament also happened to be their 1st game without their 2nd leading scorer who got injured the game prior and was ruled out for the year. Whatever adjustments they have made since then have appeared to work for them. Kaelon Williams, the guy most benefiting from the extra minutes, has combined for 38 points, 10 boards, and 3 assists on an efficient 15/20 shooting.
Perhaps what's really happening is UTA is just now peaking and they weren't this good all year. Either way what Akron faced last night was better than any team we encountered during MAC play.
That last paragraph is spot on.
Here's some food for thought. Akron played 35 games this season.
In 32 of those games (including all 21 MAC games), they had held a lead in the second half. In those MAC games, I believe they held a lead with five or less minutes remaining in every one, at that.
In two other games (Gonzaga and Creighton) they had been within two possessions at the 32 minute mark (I don't believe they ever led in the second half of either ... know they got to within one against Creighton, can't remember against Gonzaga).
The only game they hadn't either led or been within two possessions late was last night.
Even as mediocre as some want to think Akron played down the stretch (despite essentially locking up the regular season title with three weeks left, advancing to the tourney title game and winning a first-round game in Houston just four days earlier) they were still the best the MAC had to offer.
As much as some MAC fans don't want to admit the Sun Belt is every bit as good as the MAC, this was the first time all year Akron has been taken to the woodshed. I'm going to give all the credit to UT-Arlington and not try to make excuses for why Akron got hammered.
And yes, UT-Arlington absolutely would've been the best team in the MAC this year ... they do, after all, have 27 wins and went 14-4 in the SB (same record as Akron in the MAC).