The Zips play in the MAC conference and were picked to finish fourth preseason. They return three starters from last year’s squad that won the MAC, and was the best team not in a post-season tournament. They lost out on a last minute bank-shot by Miami. (OH) Like IUPUI, they have a couple big men, but not good ones, which means the Zips will most likely play a small, quicker lineup. Coming off a game versus IUPUI, the Viks should be ready to deal with this.
Akron: Jeremiah Wood PSU: Scott Morrison
A strictly inside player, Wood should be a good match-up for Morrison. He doesn’t pass well, and he can’t shoot from the outside. Add on the fact that he gets in foul trouble, and Scotty could really exploit his 5 inch height advantage. Wood may have trouble living up to his reputation as a ferocious rebounder in this match-up, even though he is a candidate for MAC player of the year.
Small Forward #1
Akron: Nate Linhart PSU: Tyrell Mara
Linhart is a lefty, and presents a difficult match-up for opponents with his size and range. However, I think Mara should be up to the challenge, because he is a similar player with a bit more muscle. Both players play good defense, so there probably won’t be many points scored here.
Small Forward #2
Akron: Quade Milum/Jimmy Conyers PSU: Deonte Huff
Because neither team is playing another inside guy, I characterized two positions as SF. I think Milum may get the start due to the match-up problem he presents to the Vikings. The senior is a prolific shot blocker, and extremely athletic. (he was the Ohio state high jump champion in HS) He may matchup more against Mara, dependent on how the coaches choose to set things up. Each of the two options for Akron scored in double figures in their exhibition game. Huff won’t be able to rely on athleticism to win this battle, so he’ll have to play a perimeter game, which makes him less dangerous.
Akron: Nick Dials PSU: Dupree Lucas
This is the match-up of former players at big-time basketball programs in Ohio with Nick being the former Buckeye, and Dupree the former Musketeer. Although he didn’t display his three point touch with an 0 for 7 effort in the exhibition, the shooter can really fill it up at times. Dupree should have every advantage in this match-up besides outside shooting, and they share the same height. If Lucas makes his mid-range jumper, he should outscore Dials.
Akron: Steve McNees PSU: Jeremiah Dominguez
McNees has the obvious height advantage at 6’2″, but that didn’t stop Dominguez in the UCLA game. McNees was a great high school player, and should carry that to the collegiate level after a red-shirt year. The only way PSU wins this match-up is if Dominguez can force McNees out of his comfort zone with his quickness.
Both teams have good benches capable of scoring some points. However, Akron’s is a bit shorter than PSU’s. Julius Thomas and Kyle Coston may see extended minutes in this one due to their size.
After tonight’s thrilling victory over IUPUI I’m leaning towards the Vikings coming through again. PSU will have to address the issues with interior and transition defense, but should be ready for a more physical game tomorrow night.