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Handicapper WeBeatTheSpread is here with a CBB pick for opening night. Come find out his Akron vs South Dakota State prediction, pick, and odds.
ANALYSIS

Akron vs. South Dakota State Prediction, Pick, Odds: Will Zeke Mayo Shine for Jackrabbits?

The 2022-2023 college basketball season is finally here, and we have a full slate of action for the first day. With over 120 games on the schedule, there are plenty of spots to take tonight, and one of them is in the Akron versus South Dakota State game from Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio.

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Akron vs. South Dakota State Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2022
  • Start Time: 7:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: WatchESPN

Click here for Akron vs South Dakota odds

Akron vs. South Dakota State Prediction

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are coming off their best season in program history. They finished 27-4 in the regular season and 30-5 overall while finishing a perfect 18-0 in conference games. They won the Summit League tournament, were a 13 seed in the NCAA tournament, and got a tough matchup against Providence. They lost 57-66 to Providence in the first round, but it does not take away from the dominant season the Jackrabbits had.

The key to the Jackrabbit's success was the offense, and more specifically, their three-point offense. The jackrabbits finished first overall in three-point shooting in the nation in the 2021-2022 season with a 43.7% three-point average. They also had a 59.2% effective field goal percentage and played at a high pace, ranking 12th in seconds per offensive possession. In the offseason, South Dakota State lost leading scorers Douglas Wilson and Baylor Scheierman. These were their two leading scorers, but the Jackrabbits return three starters and most of their three-point offense, as Zeke Mayo and Charlie Easley both return, bringing a combined 98 three-pointers from the 2021-2022 season with them. Although Wilson and Scheierman are two big blows, the offense will still have its identity from last season, which was very successful under coach Eric Henderson.

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Akron also had a successful 2021-2022 season, ending 23-7 in the regular season and 24-10 overall while going 14-6 in conference play. The Zips return four of their starters but lost Ali Ali, who left for the Butler Bulldogs. Ali was a pivotal piece to the offense and was the Zips leading scorer last season, but the supporting cast of the other four returning starters should pick up where they left off. Akron played a bleedingly slow pace in 2021-2022, ranking 352nd in tempo. Their low-scoring games are a product of how John Groce coaches his teams with patient play.

The difference in this game will be the Jackrabbits' perimeter shooting. They shot nearly 40% from three on the season and returned some of their best perimeter shooters from last season. Their fast pace of play and ability to drain outside shots makes them a threat in every game and was a critical reason why they went 30-5 last season. Akron ranked 253rd in opponent three-point percentage last season and did not defend the perimeter well. With how slow Akron likes the play, South Dakota State could make Akron uncomfortable with the tempo in this game. The jackrabbits are good to go on a run at any point in the game with their talented perimeter shooters, which will be the difference in this game. Akron also shot just 69.4% from the line last season, 259th in the country. If this one is close late, Akron may be unable to hit their free throws to cover this low line.

Akron vs. South Dakota State Pick

Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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