Manhattan Jaspers: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Manhattan Jaspers

Manhattan Jaspers (13 Seed, Midwest Bracket)

Record: 25-7 (15-5 in MAAC)

Coach: Steve Masiello

Tournament Berth:  Won Conference Tournament

Big Wins: Iona, at South Carolina, Buffalo

Big Loses: George Washington, at Siena, Saint Peter’s

The Manhattan Jaspers are one of many teams who had to win their conference championship to ensure entrance to the NCAA Tournament. They likely would not have been selected simply because they have faced few quality opponents this season. They have beaten up on teams in the bottom 100 of the RPI rankings, and they have several key home losses. Manhattan matched up with Iona, who finished first in the MAAC, in the conference title game. Their victory earned them an automatic big to the NCAA Tournament.

Manhattan’s playing style may give viewers déjà vu. That’s because their head coach, Steve Masiello, was both a player and assistant under Rick Pitino, the head coach of defending champion Louisville. Manhattan uses similar zone presses, going for steals when possible. The advantages of that strategy are forcing turnovers and causing opponents to use valuable shot clock time before setting up their offense. The downside is that if the press is broken quickly, it can lead to easy baskets. Manhattan’s aggressive play has been evident all season. They were ranked No. 15 in the nation in both turnovers forced and in steals. They also play fast on offense, turning the ball over frequently themselves.

A legitimate weakness of Manhattan is their free throw shooting. They are both bad at it, and get to the line infrequently. Missing free throws is essentially throwing away free points. In their last loss, they missed a whopping 23 foul shots in a four point loss. For them to have any hope at victory they need to be more consistent at the line like they were in the first half of the season.

Look for the Jaspers to be carried by their leading scorer, George Beamon. The guard plays heavy minutes and is by far their best free throw shooter. If Manhattan leads a close game late, Beamon will need the ball in his hands to ensure he is the one who goes to the line. The Jaspers’ aggressive play has carried them all  season, so look for them to go all out in the NCAA Tournament.

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

George Beamon

19.2

.410

.827

.371

Michael Alvarado

12.0

.450

.660

.279

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

George Beamon

6.6

1.7

4.9

0.3

Rhamel Brown

6.0

2.8

3.2

3.7

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Michael Alvarado

4.0

1.4

2.3

1.8

Emmy Andujar

2.2

1.2

2.1

1.0

Starting Five

F – Ashton Pankey

F – Rhamel Brown

G – Michael Alvarado

G – RaShawn Stores

G – George Beamon

Who’s Hot:  The Jaspers’ three point shooting has been heating up. leading scorer George Beamon shot 50% from behind the arc in the conference tournament.

Who’s Not: Free throws have been a problem of late, with the team making less than 60% of them in seven of their last 12 games.

Outlook: Manhattan plays quick, so picture them as Louisville lite. They do a god job forcing turnovers, which can potentially swing a game in their direction, but they lack the talent for a deep run.

Commentary by Brian Moore
@Hey_Brian

Sources:
ESPN
Sports Reference
Basketball State

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.