I apologize for not writing a lick about the win over UNC-Greensboro. Whenever I neglect my duty, just check out ZipsNation.org, where fans are intelligent and, for the most part, level-headed.
I was in Columbus for New Year's Eve. It was quite an evening. Here's photographic evidence.
Anyhow, Akron conquered the Spartans, 75-53. Like I predicted, the Zips dominated the boards and forced a lot of turnovers. Oh, and only 735 people showed up. (However, it is refreshing when schools tell the truth about attendance.)
Next up is Rhode Island on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Here are five things to know about the Rams...
Rhode Island is 8-4 with an RPI of 43. The most impressive game was a three-point loss -- at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In the 82-79 loss at Duke, guard Jimmy Baron scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half. It wasn't until Mike Krzyzewski told his lockdown defender, Kyle Singler, to guard Baron that the Rams cooled off. Baron is son of head coach Jim Baron. The son is a 6-foot-3 guard with a killer stroke. He leads the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game. He makes a phenomenal 45 percent of his 3s.
The Zips and Rams have two opponents in common. Both teams won at Farleigh Dickinson. Akron won by 44. Rhode Island won by 15. The Zips and Rams also both played Virginia Commonwealth. Rhode Island won at home by six. Akron lost on the road to VCU by four. The sample size is not large enough to conclude superiority of either team, but it should demonstrate that the teams are on the same level.
Lamar Odom is Rhode Island's best basketball product. Cuttino Mobley is a close second. In his only season at Rhode Island, Odom hit a 3 to lead the Rams past Temple to win the Atlantic 10 championship. Mobley and the Rams advanced to the Elite Eight in 1998. If the two had played at the same time, that would be one amazing team.
The Rams are 11th in the nation with an absurd field goal percentage of 49.9. They score 81.5 points per game, which is 15th in the nation. If Akron is to win, Jimmy Conyers must play up in Baron's shirt. Baron might be too tall for any of Akron's guards to defend. The Rams also have four capable rebounders. Their size (6-6, 6-8, 6-8 and 7-0) will mean that Mike Bardo will probably get a lot of playing time.
Defense is where the Rams have a weakness. They allow 73.5 points per game. Their opponents shoot 46 percent from the field. Opposing guards, in particular, have had big scoring games against the Rams. Akron's defense can play its absolute best, but a win will require at least 40 combined points between Humpty Hitchens, Steve McNees and Darryl Roberts. I predict a six-point loss.
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