Two of the top three teams in the MAC meet in Friday night MACtion when Akron visits Toledo for the only meeting between the Zips and Rockets this season. Toledo leads the MAC with a 16-4 record, 8-1 in the league.
The Rockets are the hottest team in the league, entering on a seven-game win streak. Akron is in third place, a half-game behind Ohio, at 13-5, 6-2. The Zips have the second-longest current win streak in the MAC, at four straight. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the NCAAB odds for this matchup.
Akron Zips vs. Toledo Rockets
Friday, January 28, 2022 – 7:00 PM EST at Savage Arena
Skin of Their Teeth
The Zips have been battle-tested on their current win streak. Their four victories in a row have included a one-point win over Western Michigan, a two-point win over Eastern Michigan, and a four-point victory at Central Michigan.
The only game with some breathing room was a 91-66 blowout at Bowling Green, where Akron made a season-high 14 three-pointers in 27 attempts. Bryan Trimble Jr. led the way in the Bowling Green win, going 10-of-14 from three-point range, becoming the first Akron player since 2003 to hit double-figures in three-pointers in a game.
Trimble makes nearly three treys a game, which puts him in second place in the MAC and No. 47 in the NCAAB. Outside of the red hot game at Bowling Green, however, Trimble is making threes at a .279 rate this season.
Akron is also led by junior Xavier Castaneda, who has scored in double figures in 11 straight games. He’s averaging 13.6 ppg and 2.8 assists, as well as being the team’s most reliable defender. “I think his impact overall certainly is even more than scoring,” coach John Groce said.
Inside, Akron has Enrique Freeman, the leading rebounder in the MAC at 10.8 a game. He averages a double-double, adding 12.2 points a night. He ranks among the NCAAB top 10 in rebounds per game (sixth), total rebounds (eighth), and offensive rebounding (ninth) and is No. 13 in defensive rebounding and double-doubles.
Toledo is a perfect 8-0 at home, on the season The Rockets’ offense is led by sophomore Ryan Rollins, who leads the MAC in scoring at 20.0 ppg. He scored 25 points in Toledo’s last game, a win over Buffalo, adding 11 rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
The Rockets have three other players scoring in double figures in junior JT Shumate (15.2 ppg), junior Setric Millner Jr. (14.1 ppg), and junior RayJ Dennis (11.8 ppg). Shumate also leads the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game. The team’s four double-digit scores also all average 5.9 rebounds or more.
Shumate is also second in the MAC with a .488 three-point percentage, and Millner has improved his three-point accuracy to .379, more than 100 points higher than last season. Shumate also ranks among MAC leaders in overall shooting, free-throw accuracy, blocked shots, and offensive rebounding.
While Toledo has a balanced offense that leads the MAC in league play in scoring, three-point shooting, and assist-turnover ratio, the Rockets’ defense is a difference-maker. Toledo leads the MAC in shooting defense and defensive rebounding and is second in three-point defense.
Toledo has a balanced offense, filled with experienced players, and will have the best player on the floor, in Rollins. The Rockets also have an edge on defense which should make the difference in this game.
For your NCAAB pick, look for Toledo to shut the Zips down outside and for the Rockets’ team approach to rebounding to help neutralize Akron’s league-leading rebounder in Freeman.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.