Akron (21-6, 11-3 MAC) Likely Starters
No. NAME YR POS HT WT PPG RPG Hometown 11 Nick Dials JR G 6-1 175 9.1 2.6 New Haven, Ohio 12 Dru Joyce SR G 6-0 165 10.4 2.3 Akron, Ohio 21 Jeremiah Wood JR F 6-6 245 9.8 7.5 Akron, Ohio 24 Romeo Travis SR F 6-7 220 15.0 5.5 Akron, Ohio 33 Nate Linhart SO F 6-7 193 6.7 3.9 Gahanna, Ohio
Former Duquesne Recruit On Zips Roster
Pittsburgh native Steve McNees, who signed with Duquesne in the fall of 2005 but was released from the letter after Danny Nee's resignation, is on Akron's roster but won't be in action Monday. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder is using his redshirt year this season.
In addition, one of the top prep seniors in Western Pa., 6-foot-9, 255-pound center Steve Swiech, signed with Akron in the fall of 2006. He had also been recruited by Duquesne.
Three-quarters of the Zips roster hail from the Buckeye State. Four Akronites play for the hometown team with three in the starting lineup.
Senior Dru Joyce, the teammate of LeBron James at SMSV who has started 95 of 117 games, dishes out a team-high 4.5 assists per game, has a 2.39 assist / turnover ratio and is second at UA with 1.03 steals per game. Another Akron native, junior forward Jeremiah Wood, is the rebounding leader at 7.5 rpg. Senior forward Romeo Travis, a James/Joyce high school teammate, leads the Mid-American Conference team with 15.0 ppg.
On Monday, Travis was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week. Travis averaged 26.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals in a pair of games last week. He averaged 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from the floor and 70.0 percent (21-of-30) from the free-throw line.
Two other Zips were named MAC POTW this season - Wood on Jan. 19, 2007, and Joyce on Dec. 26, 2006.
Joyce became UA's all-time assists leader (482) after notching seven in Saturday's Bowling Green game. He's had 18 assists compared to just six turnovers in the last four games. Joyce is also closing in on the 1,000 point mark - he has 997.
Off The Bench
Junior guard Cedric Middleton, who is from Chicago Heights, Ill., is the team's second leading scorer at 10.9 ppg. Junior forward Quade Milum, from Dayton, Ohio, is hitting 61.6 percent of his shots while avaeraging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in just under 20 mpg. Baltimore native and 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Jimmy Conyers has seen action in all but one of the Zips' 27 games and is averaging 2.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.8 mpg.
But, watch out for someone who doesn't have the stats to play well tonight. It seems to happen with Duquesne games and, like the Dukes, Akron is coming off a Saturday night game. The Zips held off underdog Bowling Green's second half run to win 93-87 that clinched a bye in the Mid-American Conference Tournament and maintained its first place tie with Kent State in the MAC East.
One More Duquesne Tie
Head Coach Keith Dambrot's father, Sid, played at Duquesne during the 1952, ‘53 and ‘54 seasons (70-15). The Dukes competed in the NCAA Tournament and the NIT during the ‘52 season, and the NIT in the ‘53 and ‘54 campaigns.
Dembrot in his third season with the Zips, a 63-26 (.708) mark since the 2004-05 season. He is 171-96 (.640) in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach. He is 2-0 all-time versus Duquesne.
Akron leads the MAC in field-goal percentage (48.7 percent). The Zips shot 51.0 percent (26-of-51) from the floor versus Bowling Green. UA has shot 48 percent or better from the field in 17 of 27 games this season. The Zips have converted below 42 percent just twice (both against Miami - 38.2 percent/ 21-of-55 on Jan. 11 and 39.6 percent/21-of-53 on Feb. 21).
Akron also leads the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (39.3 percent) as well as in 3-pointers made-per-game (7.6). The Zips shot a season high 56.3 percent (9-of-16) behind the arc against Bowling Green.
Akron in Heady Territory
Akron has achieved its second consecutive 20-win season (23-10 in 2005-06). The program last performed that feat in 1987-88 (21-7) and 1988- 89 (21-8) under coach Bob Huggins. Last season's 23 wins were the most in the program's Division-I era (since the 1980-81 season).
Despite the 64-62 overtime loss at Miami (15-12, 10-4 MAC) on Sunday, the Zips again received votes in both the AP and ESPN / USA Today polls and are No. 7 in the this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.
The Zips are 78th in the latest (2/19) RPI listing and 66th in Monday's Jeff Sagarin ratings. Duquesne is 196 in the RPI, 227 in Sagarin.
The Zips close the season at Buffalo (11-17, 3-11 MAC) on Thursday and Kent State (19-9, 11-3 MAC) on Sunday. That MAC tournament will have a home-court feel for UA - it will be played at Cleveland's Quicken Loan Arena.