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2018 MAC Basketball Preview: Akron Zips at Ball State Cardinals

One of these teams will get to .500 in MAC play

NCAA Basketball: Ball State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Ball State Cardinals (12-8) will host the Akron Zip (10-9) this Saturday afternoon, as both teams enter at 3-4 in conference play. Akron enters the game having won three of their last four matches while the Cardinals have done the exact opposite, dropping three of their last four meetings.


Game Details

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 27th, 2018 at noon
  • Where: Worthen Arena - Muncie, Indiana
  • Watch: CBSSports Network

Players to Watch

Daniel Utomi, F, Akron - Utomi enters the game as the Zips leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 15.7 points and 6.2 boards per game. He broke out of a three game slump against NIU and look for him to stay hot against Ball State.

Jimond Ivey, G, Akron - Ivey has played really well lately. He’s averaging 14.4 points and 7 rebounds over the last five games for the Zips. He also leads Akron in assists, with four per game, while his 6.1 rebounds per game is second, and his 13.1 points per game is third on the team.

Kyle Mallers, F, Ball State - Mallers is second on the team with 10.2 points per game and also adds five rebounds per game and has the best free throw percentage on team (87.5%). Lately he’s struggled to get double-digits in points but look for that to change against the Zips.

Tayler Persons, G, Ball State - Persons leads the Cardinals in scoring and assists by far, averaging 14.3 points and 4.5 assists per game. He has scored 10+ points in the last five games for the Cardinals and is averaging 14.4 points and 5 assists in that span.


Prediction

Ball State should be able to handle the Zips in the end. Look for the game to be close throughout the first half but, as the game goes on, the stronger shooting and depth that the Cardinals have will lead them to pull away in the second half.

Akron Zips - 72
Ball State Cardinals - 84