CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 18: Head coach Keith Dambrot of the Akron Zips reacts while playing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
A pair of division-leaders square off when Akron visits Ball State.
Winners of nine of the last 11, the Akron Zips hit the road Tuesday to take on the Ball State Cardinals.
With a 12-7 overall record, the Zips sit atop the Mid-American East standings thanks to a 4-1 conference mark. Ball State, meanwhile, heads up the Mid-American West, also with a 4-1 conference record.
Akron has one of the nation’s most balanced offenses. The Zips average better than 72 points per game – good for 84th in Div. I – despite not having any players average more than 10.7 points. Three different Zips average at least 10 points, and no less than seven average at least 7.0 points. Seven-footer Zeke Marshall and fellow big man Nikola Cvetinovic pace Akron on the glass, combining for 11.3 boards per game.
The Cardinals don’t have Akron’s balance, and a lot of the time they haven’t needed it, thanks in large part to 6-9 senior Jarrod Jones, who is good for 16.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Jones, who leads the team in minutes, points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage – to say nothing of a solid seven-for-14 mark from three-point range – has scored in double-figures in all but three games this season.
In their five losses this season, the Cardinals have averaged just 54.4 points, compared with 72 per game in their 12 wins.