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Akron (21-11) vs. Western Michigan (21-9)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 6:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Quicken Loans Arena (20,562) -- Cleveland, Ohio. Television: TWSports, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Akron 13-2, Western Michigan 13-2. Away Record: Akron 6-7, Western Michigan 6-7. Neutral Record: Akron 2-2, Western Michigan 2-0. Conference Record: Akron 12-6, Western Michigan 14-4. Series Record: Akron leads, 23-18.

GAME NOTES: Semifinal round action of the Mid-American Conference Tournament gets underway Friday with a matchup between the fourth-seeded Akron Zips and the top-seeded Western Michigan Broncos at Quicken Loans Arena.

The team that comes away victorious will earn the first spot in the conference championship bout, which will take place on Saturday.

In a third-round matchup and a rematch of last year's MAC championship game, Akron took down intrastate rival Ohio, 83-77, in one of the more highly acclaimed rivalries in the conference. The Zips have now won four games in a row, and will face Western Michigan for the second time this season.

Western Michigan was a dominant force in conference play this season, going 14-4 in the MAC during the regular season en route to the team's MAC West Division regular-season title. The Broncos, who earned a triple-bye into the semifinal round of the conference postseason with the top overall seed, won 10 of the team's last 11 games to end the regular season. The Broncos last defeated Central Michigan, 78-64, last Friday.

Akron leads the all-time series with Western Michigan, 23-18. The teams met once earlier this year on Feb. 12, which Western Michigan won by a score of 57-54.

Ohio owned the first half against Akron Thursday night, as the Bobcats went into the intermission with a 38-33 lead over the Zips. But in the second period, Akron found its offensive stride. The Zips connected on 61.5 percent of their shot attempts in the half and outscored Ohio, 50-39, to take the lead and the game. Quincy Diggs led the team with 20 points, and Demetrius Treadwell tallied a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Reggie McAdams came off the bench to add 10 points in the win. Treadwell paces the Zips on the season with 14.9 ppg, adding a team-best 8.8 rpg average to his resume. Diggs chips in 12.5 ppg with a team-high 2.6 apg mark. The Zips are netting 68.2 ppg through 32 games played, and are giving up 66 ppg to opponents.

Central Michigan gave its intrastate rival Western Michigan quite the scare last Friday, as the Chippewas led 38-33 at the end of the first half in the Broncos' season finale contest. With the top overall seed in the tournament riding on the game, WMU plotted a comeback by outscoring Central Michigan, 45-26, in the period. David Brown scored 17 points to pace Western Michigan, while Connar Tava chipped in 15 points. Brown finished the season for WMU as the team's leading scorer at 19.1 ppg. Shayne Whittington and Tucker Haymond each scored 14 points against CMU, and Austin Richie tallied 13 in the win. Whittington has been a monster for the Broncos this season, netting 16.1 ppg and bringing down a team-high 8.8 rpg. Tava rounds out the double-digit Western Michigan scorers with 11.8 ppg.

Taking down Ohio was a tough test for Akron, and it doesn't get any easier with Western Michigan. The Zips have a solid scoring defense, but might not be able to keep up with the combination of post scoring and deadly outside shooting. The Broncos certainly aren't guaranteed a win here, but with so much weaponry its hard to go against them.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 76, Akron 70

03/14 10:35:22 ET

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