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November 15, 2013

Preview: MT vs Akron

PREVIEW: MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS AKRON:

It has been a great week for the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider basketball team, who enter the Saturday's game against the Akron Zips coming off of a hard fought victory over North Florida at home, 77-70. With the win, MT pushed their record to 2-0 on the season, while also extending their home winning streak to 30 games - now the best mark in the entire nation.

The good times did not stop there, though, as head coach Kermit Davis and the Blue Raiders turned in a nice recruiting class, showing that the future is still bright for Middle Tennessee basketball.

It is time, however, to move on and look at what is in front of them - and that is the Akron Zips (1-1).

The Zips enter Saturday's contest coming off of a 85-63 loss at the hands of Saint Mary's. Demetrius Treadwell, who posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, led Akron in the loss.

The Blue Raiders and the Zips have some recent history, playing one another in each of the last two years. Last season, the two went into OT on Akron's home court, but the Zips would eventually take over in the extra frame, winning 82-77. The year prior, the Blue Raiders got the best of the Zips after jumping out to an early lead at home and never letting up, downing the Zips 77-53. These two teams have met 25 times total over the years, with MT holding the series advantage by a 15-10 margin.

Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. CT inside the Glass House.

THE GAME BREAKDOWN:

Offense:

The Blue Raiders enters Saturday's game averaging 77.5 points per game while shooting a decent 45 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from the three-point line and 66.5 percent from the charity stripe. The free throw percentage could use some improvement, but the other shooting lines are very respectable.

As for Akron, they have allowed opposing teams to shoot 45 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from behind the arc and are letting opponents shoot an average of 27 free throws per game. The Zips are also a middle-of-the-road team when it comes to the defensive glass, averaging 21 per game.

Defense:

Through two games, the Blue Raiders have allowed opposing offenses to average 73 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from downtown, and are sending their opponents to the charity stripe an average of 23 times per game. While MT is giving up more points and better shooting percentages compared to last year, they are improving on the boards. Against UNF, MT stepped it up with 30 defensive rebounds, bumping up their average to 26.5 per game.

Entering the game, the Zip offense has averaged just 67.5 points per game, ranking them No. 272 in the nation in that regard. They are averaging 40 percent from the field, which ranks pretty low as well at No. 274 in the country. It doesn't get any better from there, either, as they average just 22.5 percent from downtown and 62 percent from the free throw line.

PREDICTION:

Looking at this game, the Blue Raiders seem to have the advantage in just about every aspect of the game against the Zips, at least on paper. MT should be able to have their way against Akron on offense and unless the Zips catch fire, they should be able to stop them on defense as well.

I think the biggest factor that needs to be looked at in this game, however, is where they are playing. MT has won their last 30 regular season games at home, which after South Dakota's loss the other day, gives MT sole possession of the longest streak in the nation.

I believe that number will continue to grow and I do not envision this game being exciting in terms of the outcome. Look fro the Blue Raiders to control this game from start to finish.

Final Score: MT 76, Akron 65



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