Akron 2010 CBI Tournament Preview
Akron Zips - Mid-American Conference (24-10, 12-4)
Big Wins: 1/13 at Ohio (67-62), 2/14 Ohio (91-88), 2/24 Buffalo (77-67)
Bad Losses: 11/15 Austin Peay (77-80), 1/17 at Buffalo (65-78), 2/1 Eastern Michigan (59-62)
Coach: Keith Dambrot
Probable Akron Starters:
Anthony Hitchens, Sophomore, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 2.8 apg
Steve McNees, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 2.4 apg
Jimmy Conyers, Senior, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Chris McKnight, Senior, Forward, 9.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Zeke Marshall, Freshman, Center, 5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Key Akron Roleplayers:
Nikola Cvetinovic, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Brett McClanahan, Sophomore, Guard, 3.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Brett McKnight, Junior, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Darryl Roberts, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg, 1.5 apg
Why The Zips Can Surprise:
Akron usually plays tough defense and that keeps them in just about every game. Coach Keith Dambrot’s squad rarely allows the opposition to take a quality shot and that is even when they can get a shot off. The Zips force a ton of turnovers and usually will get more attempts than the competition. A talented group of forwards will be counted on to do a majority of the scoring. Brett McKnight is the team’s leading scorer yet again with 10.1 points per game. The 6-6 junior can hit the outside shot, but is more dangerous attacking the basket. The same can be said for his brother Chris. They have similar games, but Chris spends a little less time on the perimeter and is a better interior scorer.
Jimmy Conyers has stepped into a big role and has turned into a dynamic scoring big man and the team’s best rebounder. The 6-5 senior has been a roleplayer at best since 2005…until now. His emergence has made the frontcourt very strong. Add former starter Nikola Cvetinovic, who now usually comes in off the bench, to the mix and the Zips have another experienced forward. Zeke Marshall may not be experienced, but he is one of the most highly touted recruits to step foot in the Mid-American Conference in recent years. The seven-footer has yet to find his scoring touch, but he is a solid rebounder and a great shot blocker.
Why The Zips Can Disappoint:
When a team relies so heavily on big men, it is the free-throw shooting that usually suffers. However, that was not the case last year when Coach Keith Dambrot’s squad led the MAC in that category. This time around their shooting from the charity stripe has dropped considerably and that could come back to haunt this team sooner or later. The outside shooting is not very impressive either. Darryl Roberts has turned into a quality shooter and knocks down 40.7 percent of his attempts from long range. Steve McNees and Brett McClanahan are also threats from outside, but both have been rather streaky and Akron needs those shots to fall if they want to pull of an upset or two.
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Who To Watch for Akron:
The good news is that Anthony Hitchens can also hit the long ball. Yet, more importantly, he is the steadying point guard who keeps this team under control. Hitchens is also a good mid-range scorer who is not opposed to taking the ball to the basket and finding his teammates. Between Hitchens and McNees, Akron has two quality ballhandlers and they will need to keep the turnovers down as low as possible to squeak out a win or two.
Akron By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.9 (148th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.2 (70, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (167, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (81, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (150, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (205, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.5 (269, 10)
Rebound Margin: 2.6 (94, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (135, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (162, 5)