Akron (21-12) at IUPU-Fort Wayne (24-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gates Sports Center (2,300) -- Fort Wayne, Indiana. Television: None. CIT Record: Akron 0-0, IPFW 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The winningest team among the 32-team field of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament will take the floor on Wednesday as the IUPU- Fort Wayne Mastodons welcome the Akron Zips to the Gates Sports Center for first-round action.
Akron ended the regular season with the fourth best league record among Mid- American Conference schools. However, the Zips' goal of repeating as the MAC Tournament champions was halted in the semifinals as they suffered a 64-60 overtime setback to Western Michigan. Akron is arguably one of the top mid- major programs in the nation. The Zips are looking for their 22nd win, which would place them with Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh as the only teams with at least 22 victories in each of the last nine seasons. Coach Keith Drambot's unit has stepped up its play defensively to limit the opposition to just 61.9 ppg over the span of its last 14 games.
With its 24-10 overall ledger, IPFW has already set a school record for victories in a single season. The Mastodons have never played a postseason tournament game as a Division I program. Coach Tony Jasick's team reeled off five consecutive wins to reach the Summit League Tournament title game, but it was denied a trip to the Big Dance as it lost, 60-57, to North Dakota State at Sioux Falls Arena. IPFW will be very difficult to stop if it gets into a rhythm as it averages 75.9 ppg on 48.9 percent efficiency from the field with 14.4 assists per game against 12.4 turnovers per contest.
This will be the first meeting in history between Akron and IPFW on the hardwood.
The Zips have been one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the MAC this season (.348) with 7.1 makes per game. Senior forward Demetrius Treadwell is not a threat from the perimeter, but his ability to score in the paint has helped him net a team-high 14.9 ppg and opened up outside shots for his teammates. Treadwell is also pulling down 8.9 rpg, while senior swingman Quincy Diggs is second on the squad with 12.5 ppg and 4.7 rpg. Treadwell has registered 11 double-doubles in his last 18 games, which landed him on the First Team All- MAC. Senior forward Nick Harney (8.3 ppg) will be looking to recover from getting shut out by WMU in the MAC Tournament semifinals.
Senior forward Luis Jacobo and junior center Steve Forbes are pacing the Mastodons in the scoring column with 14.6 and 12.1 ppg, respectively. IPFW has plenty of depth beyond Jacobo and Forbes as eight players in total average at least 6.5 ppg. The 6-foot-5 Joe Reed is the team's leading rebounder at 5.4 rpg, while senior guard Pierre Bland regularly stuffs the stat sheet for averages of 9.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.3 apg and 1.8 spg.
IPFW has only lost two of its 14 home games this season. The Zips are just 6-7 in true road tests. Akron led WMU by 17 points at the intermission of its last outing before a heartbreaking collapse during the second half allowed the Broncos to rally back. If the Zips cannot erase that devastating loss from their memory and re-focus, the Mastodons will move into the second round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 72, Akron 63
03/19 10:34:33 ET