Akron Zips (27-8 SU, 13-18-0 ATS, 15-16-0 OU) vs UT- Arlington Mavericks (26-8 SU, 17-11-1 ATS, 13-16-0 OU)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, March 20, 2017
Where: College Park Center in Arlington, Texas
Lines: UT-Arlington -5
College hoops action on Monday evening and the Akron Zips will square off with the UT Arlington Mavericks in the 2nd round of the NIT Tournament. The Zips enter this contest off a hard-fought 78-75 home win over Houston and they have now won four of their last five games, while the Mavericks are off a huge 105-89 road win over BYU and now they have won 10 of their last 12 games.
Zips Win Tight One Against Cougars
The Akron Zips come the MAC Regular season title, but were upset in the finals on the conference tourney and so here they are in the NIT, instead of the Big Dance. THey are trying to make the most of it and they got off to a good start by taking down a solid Houston team by a score of 78-75 in their opener. It was a hard-fought close game and this is something that the Zips have been used to as 11 of their last 15 games have been decided by six points or less. That’s many heartburn-type games. In the win over the Cougars, the Zips shot just 43.4% from the field overall, but they did shoot 40.9% from long range and they outscored the Cougars 23-14 at the charity stripe. The defense didn’t have a great game as they allowed the Cougars to hit 45.8% of their shots overall, including 46.7% from long range,m but still they were bailed out by the discrepancy at the free throws line. Leading the charge in the win was Isaiah Johnson, who had 21, while Jimond Ivey had 10 to round out their double-digit scorers in the game.
The Zips have put up 75.1 ppg on 44.1% shooting and they have allowed 76.6 ppg on 45.2% shooting in true road games this year. Akron comes in ranked 86th in the nation in scoring, putting up 77.2 ppg, while also ranking 51st in shooting overall (47.1%), 69th in 3-point shooting (37.5%) and 237th in free throw shooting (68.4%). At the defensive end of the floor they have been solid as they come in ranked 127th in points allowed, giving up just 70.4 ppg, while also ranking 192nd in defensive FG% (44.1%) and 258th in 3-point defense (36.2%).
Mavericks Pull Big Road Upset Of BYU
The UT Arlington Mavericks have had a very solid season so far as they are 26-8 overall and they have now won 10 of their last 12 games after taking out BYU on the road in the opening round of the NIT by a score of 105-89. Their defense struggled in the game, as far as points allowed is concerned, but that will happen when you face the uptempo attack of the Cougars. You just have to try and outscore that team and the Mavericks did just that with a very strong offensive outing and this put up 105 points on 55.3% shooting and they hit 11 threes in the game as well. True that they allowed 89 points in the game, but they did so on just 43.1% shooting overall, including just 34.4% from long range. The Mavericks also forced 20 turnovers in the game, while committing just nine of their own. The defense really did play well in the game. Leading their attack in the win was Drew Charles, who had 28, while Kevin Hervey had 22 and Kaelon Wilson had 20 to round out their double-digit scorers in the game.
The Mavericks have averaged 83.5 ppg on 49.3% shooting and they have allowed 69.2 ppg on 40.3% shooting here at home for the year. UT-Arlington enters this game ranked 63rd in the nation in scoring, putting up 78.1 ppg, while also ranking 77th in FG% (46.2%), 246th in 3-point shooting (33.7%) and 268th in free throw shooting (67.7%). At the defensive end of the floor they have been decent as they come in ranked 108th in points allowed, giving up 69.6 ppg, while also ranking 48th in defensive FG% (41.4%) and 30th in 3-point defense (31.5%).
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- 2-7 ATS their last nine games against the Sun Belt
- 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 home games
- 22-8 ATS in their last 30 non-conference games
The Zips really struggled down the stretch of the season and that is why they are in the NIT and not the NCAA Tournament, while UT Arlington has won 10 of their last 23 games and they come in off a huge road upset of BYU. The Zips have been involved in many low scoring games this year, especially of late, but I do not feel that they will keep this one close. The Mavericks are a perfect 13-0 at home this year and they have won those games by an average of 14.3 ppg, plus they have the momentum from the BYU win going for them as well. They have the defensive edge in this one, especially at home as they have allowed just 69.2 ppg on this floor, while the Zips have allowed 76.6 ppg on the road. Look for the Mavericks to pull away late and win this one by 9-12 points.