Manhattan-Vanderbilt: Jaspers Need Miracle Against Only Power Opponent

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IDecember 25, 2009

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 12:  Members of the Vanderbilt Commodores band play during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 12, 2009 at The St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Tip-Off: Wednesday Dec. 30, 8 PM @ Memorial Gym; Nashville, Tennessee

The Jaspers are 2-11 against BCS opponents since 2001. Both of those wins have come in postseason tournaments. They upset fourth seeded Florida in 2004, and defeated Maryland, the overall one seed in the 2006 NIT.

Since Barry Rohrssen took over in the 2006-07 season, the Jaspers one game against a "Power 6" school was against Rutgers, where they picked up a 73-67 loss when a final minute comeback fell short.

The Jaspers (6-5, 1-1 MAAC) will need everything to go right for them if they want to upset Vanderbilt (8-3).

Keys For The Commodores

Take Advantage Of The Post —The Jaspers have no outstanding big man on defense or on offense. The Commodores will need to exploit this advantage to take a commanding lead on Manhattan. A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffrey Taylor need to have big scoring and defensive games. They must stay out of foul trouble.

Hit Open Three's — The Jaspers have not been good at defending the perimeter this season. Vanderbilt has three good three-point shooters, and they will need to hit the open three-pointers that Manhattan gives them. John Jenkins is the Commodores' best three-point shooter (42.3), and he will likely get extra playing time due to Manhattan's poor perimeter defense. 

Keys For The Jaspers

Force Turnovers —The Manhattan guards have shown quick hands, with four different guards averaging over a steal per game. The Jaspers average 7.6 steals per game. They need to play aggressive defense and force turnovers early.

Take and Make the 3 —Antoine Pearson, Patrick Bouli, and Nick Walsh are Manhattan's biggest threats from beyond the arc. Pearson leads the team shooting at an even 40 percent from three-point range.

Against William & Mary, Manhattan had a stretch where it seemed like every possession resulted in a made three-pointer from either Pearson or Walsh. The Jaspers will need to be able to shoot like they did against Vandy. Manhattan has multiple threats from three-point range, and they need to exploit this advantage. 

Drive On Ogilvy —A.J. Ogilvy of Vanderbilt can be counted on to put up double digits against a team like Manhattan, and he can potentially have an outburst like he did against Missouri where he scored a season-high 25 points. It will not be tough for him to score against the Jaspers with Manhattan having a weakness in post defense. The only way for the Jaspers to get around him is to get him in foul trouble and make him spend some time on the bench. The Jaspers cannot be afraid to drive on Ogilvy and draw fouls.