Akron among top mid-major threats

Center Pat Forsythe has been a key member off the bench for Akron, now winners of 13 straight. Eric Francis/Getty Images

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.

Akron Zips

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.