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Five things you should know about Youngstown State

By mrasor Published: January 26, 2009

Men's basketball
I went back and forth about whether this game was worth previewing.
On one hand, I've done it most the season. On the other, this game is darn near irrelevant, win or lose. The tiebreaker was that Keith Dambrot said he's glad his team is playing today, rather than just practicing.

    Five partial Penguin proposals...
    1) Tom Gaffney previewed the game. Dambrot told him that this is a difficult stretch. I cannot remember a week in the middle of the conference season where the Zips play three times. It should be a good simulation for the MAC Tournament, however.
    2) The Penguins are 4-12 with an RPI of 269. Looking at common opponents with the Zips, YSU lost by eight at home to Buffalo and by eight at Kent State. Playing both of those teams at Rhodes Arena, Akron beat Kent State and lost narrowly to Buffalo. Akron's RPI is 129. The Penguins, however, are coming off an exciting 64-60 home upset of Cleveland State in which YSU shot 45 percent from the field.
    3) It seems we have an influx of AK-Rowdy members who are new to the blog. So here's some background: Akron and Youngstown State played each other regularly in the 1980s when both teams were members of the Ohio Valley Conference (the conference that now holds mostly Tennessee-area schools). Akron was independent for a while before joining the MAC in 1992. In 2001, Youngstown State joined the Horizon League, which is not quite as good as the MAC, top-to-bottom, but includes Butler, a perennial top-25 team. Youngstown State traveled to Rhodes Arena last season and lost by 20. The year before, Akron won by nine at the Beeghly Center. Akron leads the all-time series, 54-31.
    4) Dambrot praised the Penguins' athleticism. The stats, however, show they don't play much defense, allowing their opponents 70.8 points per game and 46 percent shooting from the field. The Penguins shoot the ball OK themselves, but there are no 3-point threats. Six-foot-4 shooting guard Kelvin Bright leads the team with 13.9 points per game. Point guard DeAndre Mays averages 10.8 points, 3.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds. Jack Liles is the team's top rebounder. At 6-7, he averages 6.2 boards per game.
    5) The Zips are 4.5-point favorites. The over-under is 129.5 points. For you gambling degenerates out there, Akron is 6-7 against the spread and 3-8 in passing the over-under.

If this game meant anything, then the Zips would cover the spread for sure. Because it is a non-conference game in a season of little hope for an at-large NCAA (or otherwise) bid, Dambrot might rest his starters for Wednesday's game at Toledo. I will take Akron against the spread, but just barely.
Special thanks to "Smooth" Danny Kadar for teaching me to add polls. Check out his Browns blog when you get the chance.
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