Akron to Zip Past Miami-Ohio is Your NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 6:56 PM GMT

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Still having a chance to finish in second place in the MAC East to improve its seeding should motivate the road team Tuesday night when those Akron Zips (18-11, 2-7 away) pay a visit to the Miami-Ohio RedHawks (12-17, 9-7 home) at John D. Millett Hall in Miami, OH at 7:00 ET with free audio only available at gozips.com.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Akron as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -3 with odds of -110.


Akron Snapped Four-Game Losing Streak
Akron got off to a nice start inside the MAC at 8-3, thanks mainly so some nice three-point shooting, but then the threes stopped falling for a few games and the Zips suddenly went on a four-game losing streak. They put an end to that though on Friday throttling Oho 70-58 back at home. Akron is in fourth place in the MAC East at 9-7, but it is only one game behind both Buffalo and Kent State, who are tied for second at 10-6.

Miami-Ohio meanwhile is fifth at 7-9, and its recent stretch has been the exact opposite of what Akron had done. You see, the RedHawks got off to a 3-8 start in conference, then seemingly out of the blue went on a four-game winning streak and then saw that streak come to an end by being the losing NCAA Basketball pick 62-57 here at home to Bowling Green on Saturday. That recent winning streak included an overtime upset of these Zips at Akron.


Zips Can Still Get First Round Bye
Now we get that Akron has not been great on the road going 2-7 straight up and 4-5 ATS, but they did give a game covering effort in a 67-62 loss at Buffalo the last time they travelled and they certainly have good incentive to win their last two regular season games. That is because they end the season vs. Kent State on Friday, so winning these last two contests would give Akron a chance to finish second and earn a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament.

The significance of that is that teams that play in the opening round would need to win five games in six days to win the conference and get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

And Akron is simply the better team here, ranked 102nd overall on the Pomeroy Ratings compared to a 194th ranking for Miami, so the added motivation of needing to win to possibly earn a bye should be enough to pull the Zips through even on the road.

Akron gets 40.5 percent of its point distribution from three-pointers, which is the fourth highest such percentage in the country, and it should get plenty of good looks vs. a shaky RedHawks defense. At the same time the Zips are ranked a good 79th in the country in defensive efficiency while allowing an effective field goal percentage of only 46.7 percent.


Miami-Ohio Has Defensive Issues
Now Miami will certainly be participating in the first round, but that does not mean that the RedHawks have nothing to play for entirely here as they are currently the eighth seeds in the MAC, and if they can maintain that they would be at home for that MAC Tournament opener, an advantage they put to good use in last year’s tournament by beating Kent State in this building before losing once the scenery shifted to Cleveland.

Still, Miami is just a mediocre 9-7 straight up at home this year besides being five games under 500 overall at 12-17, and a key reason has been a poor defense that ranks 188th in the country in efficiency and a much worse 304th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 52.7 percent. The efficiency ranking is enhanced a bit by Miami being above average in forcing turnovers and getting defensive rebounds, but the stop unit certainly seems lacking.

Offensively, Miami is ranked 182nd in efficiency and the RedHawks do not get many second opportunities. That is because this is a small team that ranks 328th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at just 24.9 percent vs. a national average of 31.1 percent. The Hawks do not start anyone taller than 6-foot-3 and their taller players like the 6-foot-10 L.J. Livingston and 6-foot-9 Logan McLane are only role-player types.


Revenge Time
Finally, Akron shot an uncharacteristic 19-for-59, 32.2 percent from the field and 7-for-32, 21.9 percent from three-point land at home when Miami upset the Zips 57-52 in overtime on February 21st.

Look for Akron to get some revenge now with a more “normal” shooting performance when the Zips visit Miami, OH on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Akron -3 (-110)