If there is one cupcake on the MAC schedule, Akron has reached it.
Northern Illinois has a scoring margin of -10.5. The Huskies have averaged a blowout during their 5-17 season, which includes an 0-9 record away from home.
Their defense suffers from terrible perimeter defense, which allows 41 percent shooting on 3s. The offense averages 18.1 turnovers -- the MAC's worst by a good bit.
When the Zips are at Rhodes Arena, they feed off this very sequence: opponent turnover, Zips 3-pointer, repeat. It's how they open wounds and turn the spear. The Huskies will travel to Akron for an 8 p.m. game tomorrow.
Northern Illinois' strength is grabbing offensive rebounds. Egan Grafel, a 6-foot-10 juco transfer, helps that as a MAC leader in the traditional big-man categories. Grafel averages 5.5 rebounds per game.
The Huskies' scoring is divided among two guards: Darion Anderson and Jarvis Nichols. NIU counted on a third guard, Ryan Paradise, for scoring until he quit the team because of injuries last month. Anderson, nicknamed "Jake," is a freshman who has a chance to be a decent MAC point guard eventually. Nichols is a juco transfer who can shoot the 3.
The truth is, there must be some scorers on every team. NIU is bare bones in that category. The Huskies are in trouble offensively unless they can find a hot shooter each night. Besides Nichols, the other Huskie capable of a big night is Shaun Logan, a do-all juco transfer who resembles a less talented Nate Linhart.
If Akron pays attention to Logan and Nichols, then this won't be close.
ESPN2 will air Akron's BracketBuster game against VCU at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.
The Zips fell three spots to 13th in the Mid-Major Top 25. Kent State rose from 11th to ninth. Ohio dropped one spot to 15th.
Akron had been targeting Wally Judge, a 6-8 forward from Washington, D.C. Problem is, so were Kansas State, Ohio State, Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia and West Virginia. Judge chose Kansas State.
Carl Jones, a three-star point guard whom Akron and Kent State (among others) covet, attended the Zips-Flashes game at the M.A.C. Center. He talked to Rivals.com about the visit, but did not seem overly excited.
A new offer...
Reggie Keely, power forward, Bedford, Ohio Offers: Akron, Cleveland State, Kent State, Miami, Toledo and Oakland Height: 6-8 Weight: 230 Notes: The RedHawks seem to the be early leaders. Keely also likes Dayton, who has not yet offered. Scout.com does not have a listing for Keely.
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