MAC champion Zips get Irish in NCAA

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South Bend - Notre Dame wanted a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after a stellar 26-6 season that included impressive road wins at Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

Instead the Irish were seeded second in the Southwest on Sunday and will at least get to play their opener close to home - against Mid-American Conference champion Akron at Chicago's United Center on Friday.

The 15th-seeded Zips (23-12) nipped Kent State 66-65 in overtime to win MAC tournament championship.

Notre Dame squandered a 16-point lead and lost to Louisville 83-77 in overtime in the Big East tournament semifinals Friday night, a defeat that may have kept them from gaining a No. 1.

Akron will be making its third appearance in the NCAA tournament, following trips in 1986 and two years ago.

The Zips were seeded sixth in the MAC tournament, but edged the No. 1 seed Golden Flashes behind tournament MVP Zeke Marshall, who blocked nine shots in the title game.

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