Akron looks to extend the nation's longest win streak to 19 when it visits Ohio in a MAC East Division showdown. The Zips come in with a perfect 12-0 league record, but the Bobcats are just a game behind at 11-1. The teams played three weeks ago, with Akron coming out on top by 14. Home is the place to be for Ohio, which is 15-1 in Athens this year and 5-6 on the road.
The Bobcats come off a BracketBusters loss to Belmont on Saturday, so they'll certainly be focused. The Zips' defense has been key to their success; they've held 12 opponents under 60 points, including four of the last five.
TV: 7 p.m. ET., ESPN3.
ABOUT AKRON (22-4, 12-0 MAC): The interior duo of junior forward Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell (10.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and senior center Zeke Marshall (12.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is among the best in the country, and a big reason why the Zips haven't lost since mid-December. Treadwell has recorded a double-double in five of his last 10 games, while Marshall is the MAC all-time and active NCAA career blocked shots leader with 338. Point guard Alex Abreu (9.8 ppg, 5.9 apg) may be small at 5-10 but his impact is just as big as his teammates in the frontcourt. Akron's depth has been showing lately, with guard Brian Walsh and forward Nick Harney each hitting double figures in scoring in their last three outings.
ABOUT OHIO (20-7, 11-1): While Akron is drawing national attention, the Bobcats have been just as good in league play outside of their loss to the Zips. Ohio has won 22 of its past 28 conference games and has won 19 straight league contests at home. Much like the Zips, the Bobcats have a balanced offensive attack, led by point guard D.J. Cooper, who paces the team in scoring (13.4), assists (7.6) and steals (2.1). Cooper is one of three Ohio players with at least 40 3-pointers this year, hitting 54 to join Nick Kellogg (45) and Walter Offutt (41) in the club. Senior forward Reggie Keely has paced the Bobcats in league play with 14.1 points per game and ranks second in the MAC in field goal percentage (.635).
1. Rebounding should be an advantage for Akron, which ranks 40th in the nation at 38 per game and outboarded the Bobcats 40-22 in the first matchup.
2. The Bobcats will be looking to force turnovers - opponents average 18 a contest. And the Zips average 14.2 turnovers in road games.
3. Ohio holds a 35-32 advantage in the all-time series and has won the most important games between the schools in recent years, topping Akron twice in the last three years in the MAC championship game to earn an NCAA tournament berth.
PREDICTION: Akron 74, Ohio 73