The Akron Zips' men's and women's basketball teams are ready to hit the hardwood for the upcoming season.
During the team's Media day event women's head coach Jodi Kest says her team depth is better than it's ever been.
"It's tough to run our up-tempo scheme when you don't have a lot of depth," she says.
"This year is different, because we have thirteen players we can count on, and we can easily rotate ten kids."
Ten returning players will be on the roster this year for the 2011-12 team. However, the Zips will be missing Kara Murphy, who left as the school's all-time leading scorer.
She says her expectations heading into her sixth season at the helm of the Zips hasn't changed.
"I don't know where the MAC is going to pick us, but I know our goals have always been to get better every practice and every game, win the MAC Tournament and get to the NCAA's."
Last year, the Zips' womens team finished with a record of 14-16 overall and 6-10 in conference play.
One of the key players for the Zips this year is former Archbishop Hoban graduate Rachel Tecca.
"During the summer I worked on my strength," she said.
"Overall, I've improved my strength and conditioning and have also worked to improve my jumpshot."
Last year Tecca set a new program record with 16 double-doubles, while averaging a team-best 15 points and 9 rebounds
The women's program will play host to Ohio Dominican in its only exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 5 at noon, before traveling to South Bend, Ind., to face Notre Dame in the Preseason WNIT on Friday, Nov. 11.
For the Akron Zips men's basketball team, it's all about taking the next step, which for them means getting to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Keith Dambrot, now in his eighth season at the helm says that his focus for his team hasn't changed for this year's squad.
"We built this program on knowing how to win, even when we were 12-10 last year, we knew how to win, and we will carry that into this season."
Last year was a season of ups and downs for the Zips' team, but the they won eight straight games and 12 of their last 15 to win the MAC title for the second time in three seasons and advance to the program's third NCAA Tournament against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Akron junior center Zeke Marshall says he turned the focus of his game towards the offensive side of the ball during the offseason.
"I have to be more comfortable on offense," says the 7-footer.
"I've improved my strength, post moves, and am looking to get better every practice, every game."
Marshall was named the 2011 MAC Tournament MVP and to the MAC All-Tournament Team, averaging 8.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.3 blocked shots and 1.8 assists per game last season.
The Zips lost seniors Steve McNees, Brett McKnight, Darryl Roberts, and Mike Bardo, who were part of two NCAA tournaments, an NIT, and a CBI.
Despite losing those players, senior forward Nik Cvetinovic says he plans on continuing that winning tradition in his final season.
"I'm pretty sure every guy coming in here knows what the expectations are this season, and they'll look to follow through with those expectations and that's to win the MAC Championship."
The men's program opens its season on Thursday, Nov. 3, when it plays host to John Carroll in the squad's only exhibition game at Rhodes Arena at 7 p.m. ET. The Zips then travel to Starksville, Miss., to face Mississippi State on ESPNU on Wednesday, Nov. 9.