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.