The fifth step in Akron's midseason breather is tomorrow when the Zips play Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti at 7 p.m.
Here are five Eagles notes...
1) First and foremost, Eastern Michigan's
RPI is 330. That means there are only 13 worse teams in the nation -- including the schools that are in the transition stage to Division I. How does that happen to a team in a respectable mid-major conference? It's easy. Play a lot of road games, and notch your only victories of the year against non-Division 1 schools Marygrove College and Wayne State, which do not count in RPI calculation. Therefore, only 4 percent of the nation is looking up to the Eagles. But somewhere in the Garden State, New Jersey Tech is saying, "We're coming for you!"
Charles Ramsey is in his fourth year on the bench. The year before he was hired, the Eagles were 12-17 (5-13 MAC). Ramsey's seasons have been 7-20 (3-15), 12-18 (6-10), and 13-16 (8-8). This year, Ramsey's team is looking at five wins -- maximum. It's certainly not the step you'd like your fourth-year coach to make. The administration is sure to cut him some slack, however, because Ramsey lost his star senior point guard
Carlos Medlock to a broken foot in November.
3) The Eagles should be accustomed to this foot injury thing. Forward
Brandon Bowdry missed all of last season with a broken foot. This year, the 6-foot-6 sophomore is playing very well. He is fifth in the
MAC in scoring with 15.7 points per game. He is also fifth in rebounding at 6.9 per game. With a nice shooting touch around the rim and at the foul line, you might compare him to this year's lock for MAC Player of the Year,
Jerome Tillman. On the downside, he averages four turnovers per game.
4) Last season, the Eagles' offensive identity was to chuck a lot of 3s. Now that Bowdry is back and the Eagles' top three shooters from last year are gone, the team is shooting only 28 percent on 3s -- worst in the MAC.
Justin Dobbins, a 6-8 post player, is EMU's second-leading scorer. He is averaging 10 points per game on 51 percent shooting.
5) As a team, the Eagles are toward the bottom of the league in scoring and points allowed. They give up 36 percent shooting from 3s, which is second-worst in the MAC. The Eagles are strong on rebounding and blocked shots, however. Perhaps the most staggering EMU statistic is home attendance. Only 1,010 people show up for the average EMU home game. In MAC play, EMU beat Central Michigan at home (but so did Stow High School's jayvee team). Miami beat the Eagles by 15 in Ypsilanti. EMU lost by 22 at Kent State.
Don't expect much of a home-court advantage. Akron defended Tillman well, so I suspect the Zips can keep Bowdry from having a big day. Watch for Akron to employ the same strategy it used Saturday against CMU
. Double down on him and dare him to pitch it out. Miami and Akron seem to be on equal footing, so it would surprise me if the Zips didn't win by at least 12. What do you think?
With National Letter of Intent Signing Day on Wednesday, Akron added another three-star recruit.
, Columbus, Ga.
Akron and Middle Tennessee
Alexander calls himself a sure tackler and playmaker. A story from the summer says Alexander also had offers from Duke, Memphis and Central Florida. I'm not sure why those schools are no longer listed as offering. Rivals.com ranks Alexander as the No. 73 cornerback in the nation. Scout.com does not have a profile for him.
of recruits. I will report live from the Signing Day press conference on Wednesday.