The Akron Zips (21-4) have become a regular mention in college basketball circles and the Twitter-sphere, thanks to their current 17-game winning streak. The Mid-American Conference front-runner is having quite a season, but remain only one game ahead of the second-place Ohio Bobcats.
Their current 17-game winning streak is tied for the second longest in Division I this year, behind only Kansas‘ 18-game win streak earlier this season. The Memphis Tigers are also currently on a 17-game winning streak.
The Zips have a game Bracketbuster game on Friday against the North Dakota State Bison. It’s definitely not going to be a cakewalk, as NDSU clocks in with a 20-7 record, yet they’re only in third place in the Summit League.
Akron still has four games remaining on their MAC regular season schedule, but they are very close to something historic. The MAC-record for consecutive wins is 21 in a row, set by the 2001-02 Kent State Golden Flashes, who earned a 10-seed in the 2002 NCAA Tournament as they made an improbable run to the Elite 8.
If Akron keeps on winning, the Zips will have a chance to set the record against Kent State on March 8th in Akron, the final game of the regular season. It’s eerie how things like this can play out. A lot still has to be done before then, like a game Friday against NDSU followed by a game against Ohio at the Convocation Center in Athens, where the Bobcats are 15-1.
This is why college basketball is great. A team like Akron, who owns the longest losing streak in MAC men’s basketball history (22 games in 1995-96), might soon own the conference’s longest winning streak.
Their first obstacle in the way of history is North Dakota State. The Bison certainly are a threat, but Akron knows a little something about playing quality opponents. Besides their head-scratching season-opening loss to Coastal Carolina, the Zips have only lost to Oklahoma State, Creighton and Detroit, all teams that could make the tournament.
Akron does everything well on offense, ranking in the top-50 in the country in points, rebounds and assists per game and field goal percentage. Defensively, they’re also pretty stout, holding opponents to 38.5 percent shooting, 21st in the country.
They’ve got a great thing going on in Akron, and head coach Keith Dambrot has this team focused for what might be a historic stretch run.