"Last time Akron beat us like a drum."--Chris Jans.
- Akron has won the last 12 over BG.
- Also, 20 of the last 21.
- Akron beat BG 67-50 earlier this year.
- BG's last home win over Akron was in 2003.
- BG has never beaten the Zips in the Stroh.
That's an ouch. In both cases. Akron has completely owned BG over the last 11 years in a way that no MAC team ever has. It would be one thing if they beat us like a drum earlier in the month and that was it but this has been an ongoing act, one with a long run.
Our program is now on the upswing, having a much improved season and playing consistently basketball. Sooner or later, if BG is going to compete for the MAC title, the road will run through Akron. This is the night for BG to keep the streak from going from 20 to 21.
If that happens, there was nothing to suggest it in the first game the two teams played. The game was close for only 7 minutes or so until Akron blew it open and never looked back. As you can see below, the road a huge advantage in shooting to the win. Turnovers and offensive rebounding were more even and Akron had a bad night shooting FTs or the lead would have been even more one-sisded.
Akron is a really tough, physical team and they played really aggressively against BG in the first game, especially on the point guards. I know Coach Jans wants our team to be tough, and I suspect he will have them in that mindset. The Zips are 5-2 in MAC play, tied with BG. They lost @UT--as BG did--but also inexplicably lost @NIU as well. They are 1-2 in the MAC on the road, with the only win being over WMU.
On the charts, we now move to MAC games only to get a more reliable read. Akron is scoring very efficiently in MAC play...what's interesting is that there is a lot of scoring in the MAC so far. Getting 1.06 points per possession is really good, yet only 5th in the MAC. Anyway, it points out the key element in the game, as that scoring runs up against BG's stout defense. As usual, that's where the game will be decided.
Individually, MAC Games only, Akron features its normal balanced scoring, with only one player in double figures but 8 players averaging 5 or more. Pat Forsythe, their 6'11" JR is scoring 10.3 PPG on 64% shooting and adds 5.8 RPG and 1.7 blocks. Deji Ibitaya is 6'4" and is scoring 9.9 PPG on 55% shooting. Noah Robotham, the FR PG, is scoring 9 PPG on 37% shooting and 3.4 assists over 2.4 TOs.
In fact, when you look at the team's individual players it is tough to figure out how they are as good as they are. One of the things that makes basketball great (especially in college) is that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. Akron plays team ball, they know how to compete and win and they are well coached. The know who they are as a team and they are tough to beat. Just ask a decade's worth of Falcons.