A pair of MAC schools from the Buckeye State take the floor in search of a conference victory in this crossover matchup. The Toledo Rockets are on the road as they travel to face the Akron Zips Saturday afternoon. Toledo was dropped 74-67 at home by Central Michigan in their last contest Tuesday night. Akron cruised to a 72-49 win over Northern lllinois on the road Tuesday night in their last game. The Rockets lead the all-time series between the teams and have won the last three meetings, that includes a 63-52 win at home on February 5, 2019.
Toledo Rockets Looking to Get Back on TrackToledo has been two different teams this season. The Rockets started the year 8-2 with their lone losses a two-point defeat at Valparaiso and a two-point overtime loss at Notre Dame. Toledo has a lack of great wins in that stretch as the best opponent they dropped in that stretch was Marshall, who they downed twice. Since that point in time, the Rockets have seen things crash back to earth. Toledo has dropped five of their last six and their lone win in the stretch was a triumph over Western Michigan at home. The Rockets are only 1-3 in the MAC after losing to Central Michigan at home Tuesday.
The Rockets are 93rd in the nation in scoring offense by putting up 75.7 points per contest this season. Toledo is tied for 51st in rebounding by collecting 40 rebounds per contest while the team is 55th by dishing out 15.6 assists per game. The Rockets are in the middle of the pack defensively as they are 154th in scoring defense by allowing 68.1 points per game. Marreon Jackson leads the team with 17.2 points plus 6.2 assists per game this season. Luke Knapke chips in 15.2 points plus 8.1 boards per contest while Spencer Littleson adds 11.4 points a night. Keshaun Saunders puts up eight points per game this season. Willie Jackson (11.5 points, 12.5 rebounds) and Dylan Alderson are capable secondary scoring options in the Rockets’ rotation. Toledo is shooting 43.1 percent from the field as a team on the season. The Rockets are knocking down 9.2 three-pointers a game while hitting 36.5 percent from beyond the arc. Toledo is average at the free throw line, hitting 71.7 percent from the charity stripe on the season.
The Rockets are a mixed bag when you get down to the numbers according to KenPom.com this season. Toledo is 40th in the nation in three-point shooting but stands just 255th in two-point percentage (46.8 percent) this season. The Rockets are 96th in offensive rebounding percentage (30.6 percent) but they are 328th in block percentage (11.7 percent) and 281st in steal percentage (10.3 percent) this season. Toledo is 50th in the nation as far as getting points from three-point shooting as 36.9 percent of their points come from beyond the arc. The Rockets are a below average team in tempo, ranking 227th in the nation in pace with 68 possessions per game.
Akron Zips Try to Keep RollingAkron has been terrific this season and with Buffalo going through a bit of a retool, they have to be considered the favorite in the MAC this season. So far, the Zips have lived up to that billing as they have cruised to a 14-3 mark overall and a 4-0 mark in conference play, putting them atop the MAC East race. Akron’s lone losses have come to West Virginia and Louisville on the road in addition to a defeat to Liberty on a neutral floor. The Zips haven’t recorded any wins over powerhouse teams as their triumph at home over Ball State last week was their signature win so far.
Jackson ends half with a layup +2, a steal, and a 3-point play... +5 ... Akron leads 44-20...#1Akron #NoRegrets— Akron Zips MBB (@ZipsMBB) January 15, 2020
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The Zips are an above average offensive unit as they are 80th in the nation with an average of 76.5 points per game. Akron is 47th on the boards this season with 40.3 rebounds per contest and 126th in assists by dishing out 14.3 per contest. The Zips are excellent on the defensive end of the floor as they are 30th in the nation, allowing 61.4 points per game. Loren Cristian Jackson leads the team with 16.6 points plus 5.3 assists a night. Tyler Cheese (15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds), Xeyrius Williams (14.1 points, 9.8 rebounds) and Channel Banks (11.2 points) are all averaging in double figures. Camron Reece, Deng Riak and Greg Tribble are important pieces in the Zips’ rotation. Akron is shooting 44.1 percent from the floor. The Zips are knocking down 9.4 three-point field goals per contest while shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. Akron is very good at the charity stripe as they have converted at a 75.8 percent mark as a team on the year.
The Zips, according to KenPom.com, are good on both ends of the floor. Akron is 64th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 66th in defensive efficiency this season. The Zips are 20th in the nation in three-point shooting, 40th in free throw percentage and 81st in effective field goal percentage (51.8 percent) on the year. Akron is 14th in effective field goal percentage defense (49.3 percent), 18th in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.5 percent) and 28th in two-point field goal percentage defense (43.3 percent) this season. The Zips are content with a faster pace as they are 86th in the nation in tempo with 70.7 possessions per game.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
- Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Rockets are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Rockets are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games
- Zips are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Zips are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game
- Zips are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win