Appropriately named, Illinois-Chicago seems to have flames coming off the ball.
UIC is a hot-shooting team that makes 45 percent of its 3-pointers, which is fifth in the nation.
At 8-4, the Flames have beaten Bradley, DePaul, Central Michigan and Toledo. It is a better team than the one that beat Akron last year 86-80. The Flames won by outrebounding Akron 45-32, but Jeremiah Wood didn't play because of an injured hip. Also, the Zips went 11-of-22 from the foul line.
Seven-foot center Scott VanderMeer grabbed nine of those rebounds. He could be a menace on the boards again. Point guard Josh Mayo is the real power behind UIC's attack. The 5-foot-11 junior averages 19 points and 3.4 assists per game. Most impressive is that he has made 60.6 percent of his 3-pointers. That's Tim Legler territory. You also have to pay attention to young guards Spencer Stewart and Robert Kreps on the perimeter.
Luckily, Akron plays good perimeter defense. You will see a lot of Darryl Roberts and less Steve McNees than usual. The Zips are 10-point favorites, and that's probably appropriate.
This is the first home game that the Zips actually might lose. But they won't.
Prediction: Akron 72, UIC 61