Akron among top mid-major threats
A look at five mid-major teams capable of making noise in March
Below you'll see the five mid-major teams I believe you will be hearing a lot more about come March. But let me explain the list.
For this, there will be no Atlantic 10, Mountain West, Creighton Bluejays or Wichita State Shockers. What I'm doing here is specifically focusing on programs that aren't currently in the Top 25 but could still make noise in the postseason.
The Zips are coming off their biggest win of the year against Ohio, and it's not a surprise this is a good team. They returned four starters from a team that lost by one point in last season's conference title game. Now they've won 13 games in a row and are 8-0 in the MAC. The Zips' best win this year is against a team I will talk about later, Middle Tennessee. Two of Akron's four losses are to teams that are in the BPI top-25: the Oklahoma State Cowboys in double overtime and at Creighton. This is a team that is very good on both ends of the floor, as they rank in the top 50 in the nation for offensive and defensive efficiency.
Akron has nine players that average at least 4.7 points per game and they're led by the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 7-footer Zeke Marshall. Marshall is the conference's all-time leader in blocked shots and the Zips are blocking six per game, good for 10th best in the country. In addition to Marshall, junior Alex Abreu is as steady as they come at the point guard position. He drops 6 assists each night and shoots 42 percent from beyond the arc. That one-two punch, to go with great depth, makes Akron a very dangerous team.
To read more from Miles Simon on which mid-major teams could be a threat in March, become an Insider today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- UNC strikes again, topples Michigan State
- Ohio State rips Maryland in Big Ten/ACC tilt
- Wisconsin (9-0) holds Virginia to 38 points
- Florida's Wilbekin (ankle) out indefinitely
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Greenberg/Telep: Kansas Jayhawks
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Marquette
• Gasaway/Rankin: Indiana Hoosiers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Michigan Wolverines
• Gasaway/Rankin: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Gasaway: Breakout second-year coaches
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Telep: Latest on No. 13 junior Theo Pinson
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Ford: NBA draft lottery preview
• Ford: Winners from the NBA draft combine
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game