The competition will stiffen a tad for the Zips tonight as they take on Portland State, the consensus No. 3 team in the Big Sky Conference.
The Vikings won the conference in 2005. Since then, they have been up and down. The Zips are 6.5-point favorites to win the game and play for the tournament championship.
After last night's game, Keith Dambrot blamed the close score on the lack of a true point guard. (It surprises me how heavily he was relying on Ronnie Steward.)
Key players for Portland State include...
Point guard Jeremiah Dominguez -- The junior is only 5-foot-6 but has great speed and ball handling. He will definitely be a matchup problem for any of the Zips' guards except Cedrick Middleton. Dominguez leads the team with 13 points per game.
Shooting guard Dupree Lucas -- He plays tight defense and is capable of scoring more than 30 points on a given night. Lucas hasn't done much this season yet.
Small forward Deonte Huff -- Reading about Huff, he sounds like the player Dambrot wishes Jimmy Conyers could be. He's an athletic shooter, slasher and rebounder.
Center Scott Morrison -- At 6-11, it will be a challenge to keep him off the boards. He isn't the most polished offensive player, but he makes his name defensively. This will be Akron's third game (including Walsh) where they are undersized at center.
Prediction: From the looks of it, Akron can't play much worse than last night. They must run a more sound offense, and that probably means more minutes for Steve McNees. Portland State basically plays three guards. The Zips should match that. Rebounding and foul shooting must improve, too. I think they will.
Akron 71, Portland State 62
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