Coming into this week, I thought Eastern Michigan (8-12, 3-4 MAC) would give Akron a good test Wednesday night.
The Eagles have a lightning quick point guard in sophomore Carlos Medlock. He's a pesky defender, great scorer and plays point guard like an upperclassman.
Akron caught a huge break today (literally) when Eastern Michigan announced guard Medlock will miss the rest of the season with a broken right foot.
Just a day earlier, Medlock dropped 26 points to help beat Buffalo. The sophomore led the Eagles in scoring (13.2 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg).
Even though this injury will benefit Akron on Wednesday night, it's truly a shame to see such a talented MAC kid fall to an injury that almost certainly will derail a team's season, and perhaps the player's future (which might have included the NBA in Medlock's case).
How much would Medlock have helped Eastern Michigan against the Zips? Let's look at last year. Akron beat EMU twice, but Medlock tallied a combined 37 points and 11 assists.
Now that he's gone, the Eagles have little chance against Akron. They already were in the bottom four teams in the MAC in scoring offense and defense.
Junior forward Jesse Bunkley, a junior college transfer, becomes the first option on offense. He's undersized at 6-foot-4, but has a decent 3-point stroke. Bunkley is the team's second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game.
Freshman power forward Brandon Bowdry is a decent rebounder at 5.4 rpg. Aside from those guys, there really should be no concern for the Zips offensively.
Defensively, the team allows a lot of points, blocks few shots and doesn't steal the ball too often. Just like against Western Michigan, Akron's big men should be able to use their muscle and athleticism to get easy baskets.
The Eagles are a young team. The Medlock setback probably will devastate the momentum the team had gained by already matching last year's MAC win total. It's possible the team finds a replacement at point guard and rallies again, but it won't happen Wednesday.
If the spread is anywhere near single digits, take the Zips. I would place it at Akron minus 17.
¥ The Zips picked up more votes in the AP Poll today. They now have five, which is good for 47th in the nation.
¥ The BracketBuster matchups will be on ESPNU at 6. I'm not holding my breath on a great team coming to Rhodes Arena.