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Five things you should know about Toledo

By mrasor Published: January 27, 2009

Men's basketball
The Zips and Rockets will play Wednesday at 7 p.m.

    Here are some Toledo tidbits...
    1) Stan Joplin was fired as head coach last season after an 11-19 record. It was just one year after he won MAC Coach of the Year honors. His replacement is Gene Cross, an assistant from Notre Dame who played at Illinois during the early '90s. Before getting the job, publications had praised Cross as a recruiter and as an assistant who was ready to be a head coach.
    2) The Rockets will be very fortunate to surpass last season's win total. They are 3-15 with an RPI of 304. Toledo's biggest win has been a one-point decision over UMass, but the Minutemen are having a down year. The Rockets have played a little better during MAC play, particularly at home, where they have beaten Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan convincingly. Toledo's schedule has been difficult. Don't get me wrong, they are bad, but the schedule is almost devoid of cupcakes.
    3) Last season, Akron beat Toledo 68-52 at Rhodes Arena. However, the Rockets held a 14-point lead at one point in the first half. The Zips fought back and outscored Toledo 40-19 in the second half. Akron held Toledo's top two players, Tyrone Kent and Jonathan Amos, to a combined 3-of-22 shooting from the field.
    4) Kent and Amos are back this year, and their individual stats are impressive. Kent averages 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Amos averages 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. They are tall, athletic swingmen. They also combine for 7.7 turnovers per game. Guarding these players is usually Nate Linhart's duty. And he leads the MAC in steals. If Nate is going to shoot for the quadruple double (points, assists, rebounds and steals), this is the night. (I hope you realize I'm kidding.)
    5) As a team, Toledo scores the second-fewest points in the MAC. It surrenders the third-most. The Rockets average only 11.11 assists per game and the most turnovers (17.5) in the MAC. On the plus side, Toledo packs the renovated Savage Hall better than any other venue in the conference with an average attendance of 5,402.

Akron should hold Toledo to fewer than 50 points. The question is whether Akron will shoot poorly enough to make the game close. Because of their recent success at home, I will give Toledo the benefit of the doubt. The Zips will win by seven.
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