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Akron vs. Western Michigan - preview

By mrasor Published: February 6, 2012

Men's basketball

Western Michigan is somewhat of an enigma.

Looking at the Broncos' MAC results will leave you wondering if this is a team built for the MAC Tournament, or whether it's a team destined to lose in the first round.

On Saturday, the Broncos took Kent State to overtime at the M.A.C. Center. Ten days earlier, they gave the Ohio Bobcats a good game in Athens.

But then again, this is the same team that was left speechless by a 72-48 home stomping against Bowling Green.


Statistically, you're looking at the conference's worst defense. But when you give up 110 points to Duke, your stats will be skewed.

When you look at the Broncos' roster, you think, "These guys could do damage at the Q." Their two senior guards, Mike Douglas and Demetrius Ward, score a lot and take care of the ball. The rest of the team, not so much. The Broncos' turnover margin is second-worst in the MAC.

The Broncos' horse, no pun intended, is Matt Stainbrook. Stainbrook is a haus; he ranks eighth in the conference in rebounding and 12th in scoring. Along with the rebounding contributions of Ward and Douglas, this is a very good team on the offensive glass.

But the Broncos crashing the boards is a good sign for the Zips fast-break offense (assuming they choose to run). When the WMU guards seek offensive rebounds in or near the paint, it leaves clear paths to the opposite basket following a well-placed outlet pass.

I expect the Zips to win, but the Broncos can be very good at times. The line is not out yet, but I'd put it at Akron minus six. Update: Akron is a 3.5-point favorite.

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