NCAA Basketball Picks: Kent State vs. Akron

Joe Catalano

Friday, March 8, 2013 4:01 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 4:01 PM GMT

The Akron Zips (24-5, 14-1) have won 19 out of their last 20 games and look to close out the regular season when they host the Kent State Golden Flashes (18-12, 8-7).

The Mid-American Conference Tournament is just a week away and at the moment, nothing appears to be in the Zips way of claiming a 2nd consecutive conference title.

Tip-off is scheduled for Friday, 7:00 pm ET at the James A. Rhodes H&PE Building in Akron, Ohio. This game can also be seen on ESPN 2.

5 Dimes Sportsbook lists Akron as an 8.5 point basketball betting odds favorite and the total for this game is 137.5.

Idiot of the Week Award

This is the award that goes to an athlete, professional or amateur, when everything is going right in their life and they screw it up. This week’s award goes to Akron guard Alex Abreu.

Abreu Arrested!

The Zips are on the verge of closing out the season and most likely earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Alex Abreu has been a huge part of their success, leading Akron in assists and running the offense. His balloon (no cocaine laced) has been busted.

On Thursday, we find out that Abreu has been arrested for felony pot possession and trafficking. This is a serious offense and Akron University has no choice but to suspend Abreu. Abreu could be facing jail time if charged guilty.

My question is “what would possess a person to do this when they’re on the “free ride” of their life, have their entire future ahead of them, and this is the time of the season in which all athletes have been waiting for.

This really throws a monkey wrench in the Akron Zips season. That said, Abreu wasn’t the best player on their team but they’re surely going to miss his services.

No Pure Point Guard

This was the one position that’s irreplaceable. Expect ,guard ,Brian Walsh, to get extended playing time Walsh is 2nd on the Zips at just 1.6 assists per game. This will have to be a team effort that will need careful planning.

Marshall-time

Senior Zeke Marshall has been the model of consistency all season and the 7 footer will carry the extra burden of the loss to Abreu. Marshall leads the Zips in scoring and is 2nd on the team in rebounding. He’s controls the inside offensively and defensively and is a very efficient scorer.

In his last 5 games, he’s averaging 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. In Marshall’s last 4 games, he’s shot 25 of 35 from the field. This is the player to watch for from an Akron perspective.

Kent State is no pushover. They’ve won 4 straight games and 6 out of their last 7 games. With the loss of Abreu, this game has become much more interesting and the pressure is on Akron.

Get at the bookies with our Value Picks of the Day!

Senior Leadership

The Golden Flashes have 2 outstanding  leaders in forward Chris Evans and guard Randal Holt. Evans leads the team at 16.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, but it’s Holt that comes into the games showing the most consistency and momentum.

Randal Holt isn’t known for his shooting, but has stepped it up in the last few games. He’s 20 of 36 in his last 3 games from the field; a far cry from his sub 40% shooting on the season. Holt is also averaging 21 point in these 3 games and has been nearly perfect from beyond the arc. Look for Holt to have a big game as he faces the best team in the conference.

[gameodds]14/223505/43/us[/gameodds]

Outcome

The timing is awful. As good as Akron is, the news of Alex Abreu has to have it them hard, and now they’re left without a pure point guard for this game and most likely the rest of the season. Look for Kent State to capitalize with the help of their top two scorers. Take the points for your NCAAB picks and cash it.

NCAAB

Pick: Kent State +8.5 at 5 Dimes

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