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Irish Insights

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Zips bank on experience

Akron is searching for its first victory in its third trip in the NCAA tournament.

And Zips coach Keith Dambrot isn't holding back what he thinks his team will need when it faces Notre Dame at 1:40 p.m. Friday in the United Center in Chicago.

"We've been in enough games that, if we play well and they're average, we're going to win," Dambrot said during Thursday's news conference.

Dambrot's players are confident that their last trip to the NCAA tournament will help them this time around.

Akron fell 77-64 to Gonzaga in the 2009 tournament, and the players from that team two years ago believe that experience will help them this year.

"The first time, we were kind of taken back by everything, the big lights," Akron guard Darryl Roberts said. "We were ready for it, but we weren't as ready as we are now. We are really focused on making sure we play well. We know what the atmosphere is going to be like. We are ready to win a game or two or three."

As confident as the Zips are going into their game against the Irish, they know it will be a challenge to slow down Notre Dame's offense.

The Irish average 76 points per game, and their five starters average 9.7 and 18.5 points. Akron has been stingy on defense, giving up 65.6 points per game while holding opponents to 41.4 percent shooting.

"It's extremely difficult," Roberts said of preparing for Notre Dame's offense. "The do an excellent job of screening and never standing still. If you are always constantly moving, eventually something is going to happen where the team screws up and they get a basket.

"They are a great team. It's going to be extremely difficult for us. They move the ball extremely well. They shoot the ball extremely well. It's going to be a tough task for us."