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Akron Zips vs. Ball State Cardinals men's basketball preview: 4-3 vs. 5-2 who gets best of Zips/Cards battle?

Akron travels to Ball State for a must-watch Saturday showdown.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Muncie, Indiana. Worthern Arena

When: Saturday 1:00pm

Watch: ESPNU

Akron Zips

A steady dose of contributions led Akron to a win over Northern Illinois, one of the biggest wins for a MAC team this season. That win notched the Zips up evenly with the Huskies and allowed Kent State to secure the best record in the conference.

Kwan Cheatham led the way last time out with 18 points and 4 triples, while three other Akron players reached double-digits in scoring. After losing two games to Central Michigan and Toledo, Akron is in something of a groove, especially offensively. Akron torched Eastern Michigan for 92 points, though it did surrender 88. The Zips were very workmanlike in wins over Miami and NIU as well, and assisted on 15 of their 19 makes against the Huskies.

The steady dosage of good guard play, strong performances from Isaiah Johnson, and a squad that is getting healthier should bode well for Akron, even in opposing territory over an improving BSU group.

Ball State Cardinals

Quite a fine team on a good day, a head-scratchingly inconsistent team on a bad one. Either way, it's not farfetched to expect Ball State to take down the Akron Zips on Saturday. Despite a 12-point loss to Buffalo (another team that turns the switch on and off), this Ball State squad should not be counted out of any MAC game given its proclivity for defense.

The Cardinals showcased resilience in an enthralling, though highly controversial ending in a win in Ypsilanti BSU has shown time and again that when you play to its pace and if the defense is performing well, that this is a hard team for anyone to defeat.

What really hurt the Cardinals in Tuesday's loss to the Bulls was an inability to score around the bucket. You're not going to win many games scoring 10 points in the paint. That number is going to need to be a whole lot higher to take down Akron.