The Akron Zips have yet to lose a home game early this season, and they look to keep that streak up tonight against the Wright State Raiders. Let’s dive into a preview and a best for the game.
On paper, Akron doesn’t have one glaring strength, but with a 5-4 record, they’ve been able to get the job done. The Zips have an offensive efficiency rating of 104.6 on KenPom, which is 120th in the country. Xavier Castaneda is the offense's focal point, averaging 18.4 points per game and attempting an average of 8.1 three-pointers a game. As a team, the Zips attempt the 40th most three-pointers a game in the country.
To give an idea of how Akron has operated for most of the season, in their most recent game against Jackson State, the Zips led by 28 points in the first half but were outscored by 15 points in the second half.
Defensively the Zips have struggled to force turnovers, creating only 11.3 a game, which is 300th in the country. This could help explain holding a team to just 26 points in the first half but allowing 46 points in the second half.
We’ll see how they fair tonight against this fast-paced Raiders offense. Wright State runs at the 32nd-highest tempo in the country, according to KenPom, which has led to them attempting an average of 63.2 field goals per game. They aren’t just chucking up shots all game either, they’ve been a highly efficient shooting team with a 48.2% shooting percentage. Trey Calvin is their go-to guy, averaging 17 points and 5.2 assists per game.
The Raiders have not been able to match their offensive success on the other end of the floor, as they have a defensive efficiency rating of 103.6, which isn’t great considering their opponent's average offensive efficiency ranks 273rd in the nation, according to KenPom.
Wright State can be found as +7.5 point road underdogs tonight, and they are my best bet for this one. The Raiders' tempo and shooting ability will give the Zips a tough match-up. Akron has not shot the ball well this season despite their heavy reliance on the three balls, so if Wright State can force them to play at their fast tempo and make them force up quick shots, then the Raiders will have the advantage.
The Raiders also hold an advantage on the glass. Wright State limits opponents to just 5.8 offensive rebounds per game, which is fifth in the country. With their impressive 81.4% defensive rebounding percentage, the Raiders should be able to limit second-chance looks for the Zips, which there could be a large amount of since Akron is shooting 40.2% from the field.
I think Wright State is a little overvalued here with this number, especially since they are 1-7 ATS this season. It’ll be an interesting match-up to watch unfold, but Wright State should be able to stay in this game from start to finish.
Wright State (+7.5)