On Wednesday night at 7 PM, the Manhattan Jaspers (1-0) will take on the Princeton Tigers (1-0) in L. Stockwell Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, New Jersey.
Both teams picked up victories on Saturday. The Jaspers defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders 70-58, while the Tigers beat the Central Michigan Chippewas 71-68.
When these two teams clash on Wednesday, the deciding factors will be Princeton's outside shooting paired up with Manhattan's ability to defend the three, and whether Coach Barry Rohrssen will let the Jaspers run the floor or not.
It is hard to tell if Rohrssen is blind or if he just prefers to watch his team lose because he forces them to run a so called "offense," which is actually no offense at all. If he has not noticed yet, the Jaspers do a much better job running the floor and driving to the hoop, rather than waiting 30 seconds and having someone throw up a contested three pointer.
In Rohrssen's first three years as the head coach of the Jaspers, the team's offense played much better when they ran the floor—and on Saturday, that didn't change.
Although Manhattan was in control of for just about all of the game against NJIT, even late in the second half, their lead was not large enough considering that they were playing a team that has won about 7% of their games since joining Division I Basketball.
Once the Jaspers started to run, the game broke open a little more as their lead jumped to double digits. It is simple—if Manhattan runs, they can score in a hurry.
Their combination of Darryl Crawford, Antoine Pearson, and Rico Pickett driving, plus having shooters like Nick Walsh, George Beamon, Pearson, and Pickett, creates multiple opportunities for all their guards. In addition, if the Jaspers drive, Andrew Gabriel and Laurence Jolicoeur will get many more open looks in the post.
In Princeton's first game of the year, they shot 24-51 from the field (58.5%) and 8-14 from beyond the arc. In past years, Princeton has been able to score off Manhattan mainly with their shooting, and when their shooters get cold, they are usually able to get some points off the backdoor.
All game, Manhattan gave open looks to the Highlander shooters. Luckily, after the first couple of minutes, the NJIT shooters went ice cold. If Manhattan gives Princeton the open looks that they gave NJIT, Princeton will make them pay and surely hit many of their shots from beyond the arc.
Wednesday night's game should be close, but Princeton has the edge. They played much better than the Jaspers in their season opener. Manhattan's poor perimeter defense will come back to haunt them, as they will most likely drop to 1-1.