A year after a heart-breaking loss in the Mid-American Conference title game to the Ohio Bobcats, the Akron Zips are once again up to their winning ways. They enter tonight’s game with a 10-0 MAC record while the home team, Eastern Michigan, enters with a 4-5 record in conference.
The Zips (19-4) own the longest current winning streak in the country. The 15-game winning streak is tied for the third-longest in college hoops this season, behind only Kansas’ 18-gamer and Michigan‘s 16-game win streak.
You might have heard a little about Eastern Michigan (11-12) a few weeks back as they held Northern Illinois to an NCAA-record low four points in the first half, en route to a 42-25 win. My cohort Riley Schmitt summed it up perfectly here.
Akron is 19-4 overall on the season and is ranked top-50 nationally in three of four main offensive categories (PPG, APG, FG%), while being just outside in rebounds per game (54th).
And don’t think they don’t play any defense—they’re top-75 nationally defensively in all the aforementioned stat categories, to go along with being ranked 10th in Division I with 5.8 blocks per game, thanks in large part to seven-foot center Zeke Marshall’s 3.5 per game.
The blue-and-gold feature an array of scoring options, with eight players averaging at least five points per game, led by Marshall (12.5 ppg) and junior Demetrius Treadwell (11 ppg). Junior guard Alex Abreu runs the point for an offense that averages 15.2 apg.
The Eagles will have their hands full tonight as they come in alternating wins and losses the previous six contests, losing their last game at Toledo, 60-52.
Their offense is putrid, averaging just over 57 ppg thanks to 39.7 percent shooting. They are a bit stingy on defense, allowing only 59.6 ppg (36th in Division I)–thanks to the 25 allowed against NIU. This is the only meeting between these two this year, but if last year’s result (a 77-47 Akron win) is any indication of what’s to come tonight, it won’t be pretty.
Akron is a wrecking ball in the MAC and they don’t appear to be slowing down—their 10 MAC wins come by an average of 11 points. They’re currently seventh in the Mid-Major Top-25 Poll.
Even though this one is on the road, the atmosphere in the Ypsilanti Center shouldn’t shake the head coach Keith Dambrot‘s Zips–after all, EMU only averages 914 fans per home game.
The Zips should have no problem getting to 11-0 and extending their winning streak to 16 games. It’s showtime.