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Akron Zips vs. Toledo Rockets men's basketball preview

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Both teams need a win after losses on Tuesday night.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Tip is at 7:00pm EST on Friday, January 15 and it will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

MAC basketball is one of the most unpredictable things that exists. After just three MAC games, there is only one team undefeated in conference play, while two are still looking for their first league win.

Akron heads into Savage Arena following a 92-81 loss at Central Michigan on Tuesday, while the Rockets lost a home game to league leaders NIU at home on the same night. Each team is still trying to find their identity. Is Toledo for real? Is Akron really a top two MAC team? This game probably won't answer either of those questions right now, but a win in this game will be a big boost for either team.

The Toledo Rockets (10-6, 1-2 MAC) came into the season with a lot of unknowns. The 9-4 record through the non conference schedule was a really pleasant sign, especially with center Nathan Boothe playing some of his best basketball since he started his career at Toledo. A big loss at Ball State to open league play and a home loss to Northern Illinois are the only two games that the Rockets have played against MAC teams with winning records, as their only league win came at Miami on Saturday.

Fortunately for the Rockets, though, they've won three straight against the Akron Zips (13-3, 2-1 MAC) whose lone conference loss came at Central Michigan on Tuesday, who is playing very well right now. Akron's last win against Toledo came at Savage Arena way back in 2013 as part of the winning streak that eventually grew to 19 games. Toledo swept both games last year and blew the Zips out in 2014 at Rhodes arena.

Neither team is playing well right now despite their good records. Akron is starting to get everyone back into the rotation with Pat Forsythe's playing time increasing and Noah Robotham still getting better after missing the first half of non conference play recovering from a torn ACL. The Zips still love to shoot the three-ball, and they still do it well. The 12-30 clip on Tuesday was good for 40%, but they struggled on defense against CMU's quick guards. Central got to the line often, going 25-28 from the free-throw line. Scoring 81 points is only nice when you can contain the opponent.

Toledo is a pretty young team with most of the back court experience coming from junior Jonathan Williams, who scores over 19 points per game and shoots the three at 38%. Williams coupled with Boothe is a great tandem, but outside of them, the Rockets aren't all that deep,though, as their next two leading scorers are Stuckey Mosley and freshman Jaelan Sanford who are good for a combined 20 points per game.

Neither team is playing their best basketball right now, but that doesn't mean this game won't be a good one. Akron has brought out the best in the three MAC teams that they've played so far, and Toledo has a lot of talent.