TOP RATED PLAY ON:
E Mich have currently lost 3 in a row and 5 of their last 6 games and the Zips are not a team that will be an easy mark to break their current negative trends…Akron is currently 20-4 on the season and is looking to continue their winning ways, as well as showcase themselves today as this one will be played in front of a national audience…Below are the Edges in favor of the Zips that makes me confident that they will get their 21st win and sweep this series, just like they did last season.
EDGE #1:….The Zips are the Better Shooting Team.
One of the reasons why the Eagles are struggling is simply due to their offense not being a good shooting team…Currently, the Eagles are ranked 217th in offensive FG% shooting 43.3% from the field and just 32.0% from long range, which ranks 291st…All shooting combined, they are ranked 271st in effective FG% shooting just 48.1%.
Side Note: E Mich is ranked 263rd in shooting efficiency and 231st in 2PT % shooting, averaging 48.1%.
Akron, on the other hand, currently ranks 45th in offensive FG% shooting 47.7% from the field…They are also shooting 37.7% from long range and overall shooting combined are ranked a very solid 56.1% in effective FG%, which ranks 17th in the nation.
Side Note: Akron is ranked 21st in the nation in shooting efficiency and 9th in 2PT % shooting, averaging 56.5% shooting inside the arc.
Side Note: Akron is ranked 61st in Scoring Margin with a +8.1.
The only stat that the Eagles have that is better than the Zips is at the line, where they average 74.1%, while the Zip average just 67.2%…Still, I don’t believe that this one will come down to the line and below are other reasons why.
EDGE #2:…The Zips 2 Senior “Big Dawgs” Down Low.
One of the main reasons why the Zips have found a lot of success this season is due to them being very strong down low…The Zips have two senior 6’10” big body bangers down low which gives them a solid presence in the paint.
Senior forward Isaiah Johnson at center is a beast and weighs in at 290 lbs…But besides taking up a lot of space down low, he also leads the team in scoring averaging 16.62 points per game to go along with his 7.38 rebounds per game average.
But, what makes Johnson also amazing for a big man, is that he knows and can dish the dimes as well…In fact, Johnson leads to the Zips with his 3.0 assists per game average…A big man dishing it to the little guy for an easy deuce or for a long range bomb…You gotta like that!
Joining Johnson down low is 6’10” senior forward Kwan Cheatham Jr, who leads the Zips in rebounding averaging 7.75 rpg, while also being 2nd in scoring averaging 11.67 ppg…Cheatham is another big body at 240 lbs and he also is good at dishing the dimes as well, averaging 2 assist per game…Again, 2 biggies dishing the dimes, putting up the points and banging the boards…You gotta love that!
Side Note: Akron is ranked 9th in the nation in 2PT shooting %, averaging a solid 56.6% shooting up close and inside the arc.
E Mich, on the other hand, does have a solid biggie down low in soph. forward James Thompson, who averages a solid double-double with 14.22 ppg and 10.83 rpg…But besides him, no one else is as dominant…Furthermore, Thompson although being 6’10” like Akron’s Johnson and Cheatham…he is NOT a big body and only weighs in at a thin 215 lbs…I can see him being pushed around again by the Zips 2 senior “Big Dawgs”, who surely got some weight on the young sophomore.
Side Note: Akron is ranked 78th in Rebounding Margin with a +3.7….while E Mich averages just +0.4.
Akron’s frontcourt strength and consistency overall is impressive and they should lead the way tonight…If not, then I expect the backcourt to also find success…See why, below.
EDGE #3:….The Zips can Rip It from Long-range.
Akron is solid on the perimeter and currently has 3 players, who ranks in the top 15 in the MAC in 3-point FG percentage and are averaging around 40.0% for the Zips…The Zips trio of shooters also take good care of the ball and only average just 11.8 turnovers per game, which ranks 46th.
As of Feb. 8th, Akron ranked 7th in the NCAA for 3-point FG’s made per game, averaging 10.4…They ranked 8th in total 3-point FG’s made with 250…They ranked 9th in 3-point FG’s attempted…And they ranked 65th in 3-point FG% shooting with 37.7%.
E Mich, on the other hand, is not a very good 3-point shooting team as they are averaging just 32% from long range, which ranks 291st …They also rank 291st in 3-point FG’s attempted pg and average just 5.8 three-pointers pg.
This is not a good stat to have in this day and age, as a lot of the game features the long bombs more than ever…The Eagles make just one in three bombs, ranking 255th in the land and that is just not good enough, especially if the Zips gets hot.
Side Note: E Mich is ranked 304th in the nation averaging just 5.8 three-pointers made per game.
OTHER EDGES & THINGS:……Favoring the Zips
*Akron is ranked 9th in the College Insiders Mid-Major Top 25 Poll and currently has a 45 NCAA RPI and 109 Ken Pomeroy RPI.
*The Zips owns the Eagles of late winning 16 of the last 19 games, including the first game this season.
*In the first game between the two, the Zips 2 “Big Dawgs” combined for 28 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assist in the 70-63 win.
Bottom line is I know that all of the Zips 4 losses this year has come on the road…However, this is crunch time and we are headed straight towards March, where there is no time for F’in around…The Zips are the best in the MAC and they know that changing there road woes is something they need to seriously do.
Today vs the Eagles the Zips will have the advantage up top and down low and with the Eagles struggling to light it up from long range, that will cause a problem for them… Pick your poison…Double-down down low and the Eagles risk leaving open 3 point shots for the Zips to hit…Protect the perimeter and the Zips 2 “Big Dawgs” will dominate the paint…The Eagles I believe can only do one or the other and that is not good for them.
Akron to most, definitely looks like a solid team and even good enough to get an at large bid…However, for them to accomplish that, they know that they cannot afford any slip ups from here on out…Long story short, the Zips need to win out and do so in dominate fashion…With this game under a bucket, I’ll side with the better team to get it done tonight……GO ZIPS!
Side Note: E Mich is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.
Side Note: E Mich is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after a SU loss.
Side Note: Akron is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games played on Friday.