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December 2, 2012
Preview: MT at Akron
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The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (5-1, 1-0) will be looking for their fourth victory in a row as they play the last game of their road trip Sunday afternoon against the Akron Zips (3-2). Tipoff is set for 1:00 PM.
Defensively, in the last two games the Blue Raiders have been dominate on the boards, totaling 78 rebounds in their last two games, while also winning the rebounding battle in their last three games. All of those games have resulted in wins.
In the last two games, MT's defense has held opposing offenses to just 40 percent shooting from the field. On the season, Middle Tennessee has held opposing offenses to under 60 points scored in all but two games.
Offensively Akron is very stout, averaging right at 80 points per game, ranking them 27th in the nation. It is easy to score points though when you can shoot like the Zips are capable of shooting. In their last two games, Akron has averaged 53 percent shooting from the field, while also hitting 50 percent of their three pointers. The Blue Raiders will have to find a way to cool down their hot hands if they want to win this game.
As for Akron's defense, they are fun to watch at times, but at times they can struggle as well. In the last two games they have given up an average of 62 points per game. They are not the best rebounding team even though they have a pretty big frontcourt. In their last two games they have averaged less than 30 rebounds a game, but they do average 38 per game on the season.
One player to watch on the Zip defense for Middle Tennessee will be Zeke Marshall, who averages 4.4 blocks per game. MT is familiar with Marshall, having played the Zips last season, but the 7-footer is a force to be reckoned with.
F Shawn Jones - Coming off a bad performance due to foul trouble where he scored only three points and snagged four rebounds - how will Jones respond against Akron?. A week removed from winning Sun Belt Player of the Week honors, the Blue Raiders will need that type of performance as Jones' physical style will most likely have him matched up against Zeke Marshall. Jones averages 10.5 points and seven rebounds per game on the season.
C Zeke Marshall - Coming off a dominant performance against Penn State where he produced 17 points, seven rebounds and six blocks, the 7-foot, 235-pound senior averages 11.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game. Middle Tennessee might have to depend on shooting from outside, unless they can get the big man in foul trouble early.
This game will be pretty even throughout, but I think it comes down to the team that can shoot the ball the best, and that team is the Akron Zips.
Middle Tennessee NEWS