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Akron Zips vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Where and when: NIU Convocation Center, Dekalb, Illinois, Tuesday, 8 pm EST
The Akron Zips take on the Northern Illinois Huskies at the NIU Convocation Center in Dekalb, Illinois, on Tuesday night at 8 pm EST in Mid-American college hoops. Akron will certainly be looking to continue a stellar stretch of play while also winning their 5th straight game (4th straight in conference). The Huskies, on the other hand, were able to atone for their first road conference loss of the year to the Chippewas of Central Michigan by taking out the Eagles of Eastern Michigan at home by 3 points in an overtime thriller in their last time out. The Huskies have picked up wins in 3 of the last 4 meetings versus the Zips at home while Akron has beaten Northern Illinois in 3 of their last 4 face-to-face meetings, overall.
Akron is currently ranked 2nd in the MAC East division while the Huskies, despite dropping one conference game, remains in the top spot within the Western division of the conference.
Covers.com opened the line with the visitors favored by 3.5-points, yet the line has since moved to 3 points for the contest while the total has been set at 135.5 points.
Zips dangerous from deep in 2019Akron’s ability to push the basketball in transition as well as accurately convert the 3-point shot has been their calling card for success in 2019. The team is putting up 76 points per game on a pedestrian 43% shooting, yet the squad is ranked 34th in the nation in 3-point percentage at 37% for the season. Leading scorer Loren Cristian Jackson (16 ppg, 5 ass) has been instrumental in their success beyond the arc as the junior guard is shooting 38% from long-range.
Sophomore forward, Xyrius Williams (14 ppg, 10 rebs) is only shooting 34% from 3-point range, yet has continued to establish himself on both ends of the floor, particularly in the paint area, as he collects over a block a game. Unfortunately for the Zips, their opponent in the Huskies are allowing just 32% shooting from 3-point range on the year while the team is also allowing just 65 points per game on 39% shooting.
Akron Travels to Northern Illinois https://t.co/chx2XQkuUM— Akron Zips MBB (@ZipsMBB) January 14, 2020
Akron’s defense has also been very stout in 2019 in giving up only 63 points on 39% shooting. In fact, the Zips have not allowed a team to score 70 points since their conference slate began. Northern Illinois has had its fair share of issues on the offensive end all season and will likely struggle a bit in figuring out a defense for Akron that is ranked in the top-60 teams in the nation in major defensive categories.
German must lead the Huskies versus ZipsThe Huskies’ biggest weapon happens to be senior guard Eugene German, who is posted 20 points per game, including scoring 20+ points in 4 of his last 5 starts. German is shooting 44% from the floor along with 35% from long-range on the season in addition to racking up 1.3 steals per game in 2019. He will certainly need to have a big game versus a solid defense for the Zips that have dominated within the conference thus far. German should have some help from junior Lacey James (9 ppg, 8 rebs), who is not only shooting 44% from the field (37% 3 FG), but is becoming a more reliable scorer in posting double-digit numbers in 4 of his last 5 games.
The Huskies must be more consistent on the offensive end as they are connecting on only 42% of their shots on the season. A willingness to rebound the basketball may allow the team to obtain more offensive opportunities since Northern Illinois happens to be ranked 62nd in the nation in collecting a total of 36 rebounds per game. Akron, on the other hand, is giving up 32 boards per outing, good for a ranking of 175th in the country.
n/a (Trends provided by Cover.com)
- Zips are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Tuesday games.
- Zips are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Akron has found its groove on both ends of the floor since their conference schedule began. The team has also won 3 of their last 4 contests versus the Huskies, thus allowing me to strongly back the Zips for this contest. Akron has covered in each of their first 3 conference games and are looking for their 5th straight win, overall, versus the Huskies on Tuesday night. And while the Huskies will certainly put up a fight in this contest, expect the Zips to pull away at some point due to their willingness to remain focused and intense on the defensive end, thus continuing to cause problems for a limited offense for Northern Illinois.
Prediction: Akron Zips -3
Full-Game Total Pick
I will back the under in this instance as it has been the strong play in the last 2 matchups amongst these squads, including during their last contest at NIU Convocation Center in 2019. The under has been the result in 2 of the last 3 road games for the Zips in addition to being the play in 7 of the last 9 games, overall, for the Huskies. While the Zips will indeed put some points on the board in this contest, do not underestimate what has been the biggest strength for the Huskies all season: Their defense. On the other hand, look for the Zips’ defense to hold the offense for Northern Illinois in check as this will certainly affect the total in the end.
Prediction: Under 135.5