Akron vs. Buffalo - 3/12/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Buffalo Bulls (19-14) at Akron Zips (26-7)
College Basketball: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm (Quicken Loans Arena)
The Line: Akron Zips -4.5 -- Over/Under: 150.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN 2
The Buffalo Bulls and Akron Zips will square off at Quicken Loans Arena this Saturday night for the MAC Men’s Tournament Championship.
The 3-seed Buffalo Bulls used a big first half to defeat the 2-seed Ohio Bobcats, 88-74, to advance for the right to play for a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Buffalo used a 13-3 run at the end of the first half to build a 41-29 halftime lead and lead comfortable throughout the 2nd half in the victory. Buffalo was outstanding on the offensive end as they shot 48.4% from the field and 51.9% (14-27) from beyond the arc. The Bulls held the Bobcats to 40.3% shooting from the field and outrebounded Ohio by a 46-36 margin. Leading the way for Buffalo was Willie Conner who had 22 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists. On the season, the Bulls have been led by Lamonte Bearden (13.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.6 spg), Blake Hamilton (12.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.4 spg), and Willie Conner (11.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 apg). Offensively, Buffalo is averaging 77.7 ppg on 43.8% shooting from the field and 32.9% shooting from beyond the arc. The Bulls average 7.2 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 0.93. Defensively, Buffalo is allowing their opponents to average 75.6 ppg on 43.4% shooting. The Bulls have a rebound margin of 2.5 and a turnover margin of -0.3.
USA TODAY Sports
The 1-seed Akron Zips used a 9-2 midway through the 2nd half to help hold of the 12-seed Bowling Green Falcons on Friday afternoon. The Zips was able to get out to a 41-35 halftime lead and got 11 straight points for Isaiah Johnson to help get some separation for the win after Bowling Green cut the Zips lead to a 53-52 margin. Akron was outstanding from the field shooting 54.7% from the field and 37.5% (9-25) from beyond the arc. The Zips held the Falcons to 36.2% shooting from the field and won the turnover battle by a 12-9 margin. Leading the way for the Zips was Isaiah Johnson who had 23 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and a block. On the season, the Zips have been led by Isaiah Johnson (13.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 bpg), Antino Jackson (11.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.3 spg), and Reggie McAdams (11.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Offensively, Akron is averaging 77.4 ppg on 43.3% shooting from the field and 39.0% shooting from beyond the arc. The Zips average 11.8 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.33. Defensively, Akron is holding their opponents to an average of 68.1 ppg on 41.5% shooting. The Zips have a rebound margin of 1.0 and have a turnover margin of 0.6.
The Bulls are 4-0 ATS in their lats 4 neutral site games and 6-2 ATS in thier last 8 games following a straight up win. The Zips are 4-1 ATS in thier last 5 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neurtal site games.
Akron was able to defeat Buffalo in both matchups this season as the Zips won at home by an 80-70 margin and won at Buffalo, 75-71. Buffalo has been impressive in their first two games of the MAC tournament as the Bulls have averaged 91 ppg. Akron has had to battle in their first two games against 8-seed Eastern Michigan and 12-seed Bowling Green, however, the Zips have one of more well-rounded teams in the country as they rank in the top-100 in both scoring offense and defense. Akron is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country as they average 11.8 three-pointers per game and as I think the Zips will be able to slow down the Bulls offense a bit, I’m leaning towards taking Akron as long as they are only favorites by a few points. Please check back for updates when the lines have been released.
Update - Akron is a team that I think could pull off an upset in the NCAA Tournament if they can get the win today and as the line is somewhat reasonable at -4.5, I'm sticking with the Zips to cover in this one.