Akron Vs. Kent State Preview: Division Lead On The Line

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 18: Nikola Cvetinovic #13 of the Akron Zips shoots against Tyrone Nash #1 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Notre Dame won 69-56. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Akron and Kent State are set to renew hostilities of their rivalry on Saturday when the Zips host the Golden Flashes.

The Akron Zips are looking to bounce back from a loss in their last outing, an 82-70 loss to Buffalo on Jan. 18 and keep themselves atop the East Division of the Mid-American Conference by beating the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday. Kent State sits one game behind Akron, tied with Ohio, Bowling Green and the aforementioned Buffalo Bulls. Kent State also suffered a loss in their last outing, an 87-65 beatdown at the hands of Ohio. Both teams were on winning streaks at the time, with Akron having a four-game streak snapped, while Kent State had only put together two-straight.

This is a huge rivalry in the area, with the last time these two teams played each other resulting in a shoving match following an overtime win for Akron in last season's conference title game. A win for Kent State would put them into a first-place tie for the division, while a loss would set them back three games.

Getting that win is going to be tough with Akron's balanced scoring attack. Seven players average at least seven points per game, with Zeke Marshall and Nikola Cventinovic being the driving force at above ten points per game apiece. Kent State's attack isn't quite as balanced, but both Justin Greene and Randal Holt average higher than Akron's leaders. It's going to be a hard-fought game either way, with contrasting styles.

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