Tip-off: 7 p.m. Tuesday, NIU Convocation Center, DeKalb
Records: Akron (13-3 overall, 3-0 Mid-American Conference), DeKalb (9-7, 2-1)
All-time series: NIU is 12-26 all-time in the series, but is 10-9 in DeKalb – including a 73-56 win at the Convocation Center last year.
Who to watch: Loren Cristian Jackson leads four Akron players scoring in double figures, getting 16.6 points a game. He scored 22 to lead Akron to win in Ohio last year. Eugene German is 22nd nationally in scoring with 20.4 points a game and is only 11 points behind NIU’s all-time scoring leader, T.J. Lux. He scored 27 to lead NIU to a win in DeKalb last year.
The lowdown: The Huskies have only trailed for 10 minutes and 53 seconds in their three conference games so far. By contrast, Akron has been trailing for 20:26 so far in its three conference games. The past four NIU games have been decided by six points or less. Akron and Kent State are the only remaining MAC schools with perfect conference records.
Key to the game: As always, the NIU defense will be looking to slow things down. The Huskies have been remarkably consistent in MAC play so far – a 73-72 win at Buffalo, at 68-67 loss at Central Michigan, and a 71-68 win against Eastern Michigan. Akron is averaging 76 points a game in MAC play and 76.2 overall.
– Eddie Carifio