Miami OH at Akron Pick: The slumping Akron Zips will host the scorching Miami (OH) RedHawks in a late season Mid-American Conference battle. The Zips have dropped their last three games and with the conference tournament approaching, they need to get back immediately.
Akron leads the all-time series 34-32, and they’ve won the previous five meetings.
Miami (12-10, 9-8) is enjoying it’s best stretch of basketball, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. The RedHawks have won four of their last five, and after a tough road overtime win over Bowling Green, they could do more than close their season out on a positive note.
The RedHawks average 72.7 points per game, while shooting 43.8% from the field. Senior forward Dalonte Brown is the heart and soul of this Miami team. He leads Miami in scoring (13.8) and rebounding (7.5), and he’s coming off a monster game (29/14) in the road win over Bowling Green.
Dae Dae Grant, Mekhi Lairy, and Isaiah Coleman-Linds make up the backcourt. Grant is second on the team in scoring with 13.7 points per game, while Lairy averages 13.2 ppg, and he leads the team in assists (3.4).
Both guards raised their play in the win over BGSU, scoring 19 apiece. Oakland transfer James Beck joins Brown up front.
Akron (14-7, 12-6) responded to an early slip up at Northern Illinois by winning ten out of their next eleven games. At 14-4, they looked like prime players in the MAC, but a three game skid has raised eyebrows.
Akron averages 78.6 points per game, good for 38th in the country. Senior point guard Loren Cristian Jackson leads the team in scoring at 21.6 points per game, which is good for seventh in the country.
The high volume scorer has single-handedly kept Akron in games this season, and his 27-point effort last week was incredible in a comeback effort.
Junior Bryan Trimble Jr. and senior Maishe Dailey join him in the backcourt. Trimble Jr. is second on the team in scoring (12.2), and he leads the team in three point percentage (40.2).
Enrique Freeman and Camron Reece start up front. Freeman is enjoying a solid sophomore season and he’s grown into one of the best rebounders in the country, averaging 9.1 per game.
It feels like this a must-win for Akron, and it is. The Zips don’t want to enter a make or break MAC tournament on a four game skid. If this were a road game, they’d be in more trouble. Miami (OH) has been hot since their loss to Akron last month, and their coming off of their biggest win of the year.
The Zips have their backs against the wall here, and on their home floor they should respond accordingly. Look for Akron to get back in the win column, and pick up the season sweep over Miami (OH).