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The #25 Buffalo Bulls (20-3 / 8-2 MAC) and Akron Zips (14-9 / 6-4 MAC) will take the Rhodes Arena floor on Tuesday night for the first of 2 meetings in conference play, as the two will meet again in 2 weeks further down the road in upstate NY.
Until we get there, the Bulls arrive to the dance favored by a touchdown on the road, as they just extended their 21-game home win streak to 22 last time out against Central Michigan on Saturday, 90- 76. The Bulls needed to rebound from their loss to Bowling Green the game previous, although the Falcons and Bulls still sit tied atop the MAC East Division standings at 8 – 2.
The Zips are certainly in the fight, and that 6 – 4 conference record has them at least a little ahead of the pack of MAC teams that sit .500 or worse entering this week. There are plenty of those, by the way, as the MAC West Division only has Toledo above the even mark in conference play.
Bulls Needing A Win To Stay With Bowling Green In MAC East
With the Bulls having lost the heads-up battle with Bowling Green, their 8 – 2 tie atop the MAC East will still leave both teams waiting a long time for the rematch since the two won’t meet again until the final day of the regular season.
At least the Bulls will get to host that second meeting with the Falcons on March 8, but the Bulls have 7 games left to play before they get there and Akron will appear twice on the slate over the next 2 weeks.
— UB Men's Basketball (@UBmenshoops) February 12, 2019
Buffalo swept last year’s series with the Zips, and the line setters are obviously expecting a Bulls win tonight with the -7 hanging on them on the road.
The Bulls just picked up home win #22 this past weekend after taking down Central Michigan, 90 – 76, and it really wasn’t as ugly as a score as it looks until you start breaking down the second half of that game. My buddy and I watched every second of it, and I gave out the Chippewas at +16 on the site with more vested interest knowing I had the play on the board here.
The 14-point win cashed our tickets, but I mean what a jump start the Chipps had and they simply came out the second stanza a completely different team. I guess we could say that Buffalo came out simply more aggressive and motivated, after the Chipps were up big early and managed to hold a 43 – 38 lead to the half.
Wait for it? That sound you hear is the rim clanking and doinking time and again, and I was sitting here fuming man! They were up so big and simply let it all slip away, and I felt lucky to even see them hold on to lose by only 14, and that says a lot.
Cj Massinburg was simply CJ Massinburg again, as he landed right on his season average of 18 points on the night with 3 boards, 3 dimes, and 4 made 3-pointers on 7 attempts.
Massinburg’s backcourt mate Jeremy Harris led all Bulls scorers with 19 points to bring his average up to 14.1 PPG, although he needed the decent night after being held under double-digits the last 3 games previous.
Zips Hoping Their Defense Can Slow Down The Running Of The Bulls
With the current run of wins the Zips have ran off, Akron is suddenly in the think of MAC East Division race, and a win from a Buffalo affair could send shock waves around the MAC.
We are excited for tomorrow night's t-shirt giveaway provided by @GVArtwork! Be one of the first 1,000 fans to receive your t-shirt. For tickets, visit https://t.co/mQF3JwYV9H or call/text 888-99-AKRON. #1Akron #GoZips #AkronMade pic.twitter.com/UtszgMhVWr
— Akron Zips MBB (@ZipsMBB) February 11, 2019
Akron will have two shots at the Bulls over the next two weeks, and they will also have both meetings with Bowling Green left to play which will give them 4 games straight up against the two division leaders at the moment.
The Zips are only 2 games behind Buffalo and Bowling Green in the standings, so make no mistake that the Zips see what’s in front of them as a huge opportunity to make their own statement. Can they make a run?
Well, the Zips have just won 4 of their last 5 games and those wins came over Central Michigan, NIU, Ohio and Kent State, who all but Ohio are in this fight towards conference tourney placement.
The Zips didn’t just beat Kent State last time out, they handed them their ass in a huge 72 – 53 defensive statement game after losing to Toledo the game previous. Toledo is walking away with the MAC West Division title, and can clinch that puppy soon enough with a #1 or #2 seed waiting for them come MAC tourney time.
The Zips would love to steal their way into that race for the #1 seed from the East Division, and they can surely do it.
Akron held Kent State to 4 of 25 from behind the arc (16%), and held the flashes to 20 of 61 from the floor (32.8%) last Friday.
Sophomore guard Loren Cristian Jackson led all scorers on the night with 18 points, making him a double-digit producer in 9 of his last 10 outings. Jackson sits 2nd on the squad in scoring behind junior forward Daniel Utomi‘s 13.9 PPG, as Utomi came away with 14 points in the win over the Flashes.
• Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
• Home team is 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
• Bulls are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 Tuesday games.
• Bulls are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
• Bulls are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Mid-American.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I will take the points with Akron at home tonight, expecting their defense to at least try to slow down Buffalo enough to keep them in this game all night.
Not that I expect a low-scoring game here, because I don’t in fact.
I see a Akron even providing a possible surprise upset, so the 7-points is fine by me with an expected 77 – 75 home win.
Akron +7 is the 4* Play on the Side.
Prediction: Akron +7
Full-Game Total Pick
Something smells fishy to me about this total, which is why I think it might creep in over late, but over this number nonetheless.
The Over 143 is the 4* Play on the Total.
Prediction: Over 143