Saturday, Feb. 20, 2:00 PM at Draddy Gymnasium, Bronx, New York
Manhattan (9-17, 4-12 MAAC) got a horrible opponent in the BracketBuster for the fourth straight year.
This is Manhattan's seventh BracketBuster. The Jaspers are 2-4 all-time. They beat Milwaukee in their first year and William & Mary last season. The losses came in between to George Mason, Long Beach State, Eastern Michigan, and Binghamton.
Towson (7-19, 4-12 CAA) is participating in its fourth BracketBuster. The Tigers are 1-2 all-time. Towson lost to Bucknell in 2007 and to Morgan State in 2009. In 2008, the Tigers beat High Point.
Towson is a poor defensive team, allowing 76.2 points per game. This should benefit Manhattan. Both Manhattan and Towson score in the mid-60s.
Towson has been atrocious on the road, where they are 2-10. In these games, they lost by an average of 14.7 points. Manhattan has played its best ball at home despite winning only five of 12 home games.
Keys for Towson
Take and Make the Three
Towson has multiple three-point threats. Josh Thornton leads the team at 37.9 percent. Jarrel Smith shoots 37.1 percent, and RaShawn Polk shoots 36.9 percent. Manhattan is not too good at defending the perimeter. Unfortunately for Towson, many of Manhattan's struggles to guard the perimeter come when the opponent has a big man that can shoot. Towson does not have that.
Use Lee and Nwankwo in the Post
Manhattan's big men are weak. Two of Towson's leading scorers, Calvin Lee and Robert Nwankwo, stand at 6'8" and have big bodies. Towson needs to take advantage of having better post players.
Manhattan's guards are very pesky. They are not afraid to come after the ball handler and force a turnover. Towson has many players that are prone to turning the ball over and does not have one player it can count on to control the ball.
Keys for Manhattan
Defend the Perimeter
Manhattan should do better defending the perimeter in this game than it has in the past few games. Towson does not have a big man that can shoot, which is usually Manhattan's biggest problem.
Rico and Darryl Do the Scoring
Rico Pickett and Darryl Crawford are the two leading scorers for the Jaspers. Pickett is the leading scorer in the MAAC and goes through stretches where he is unstoppable. Crawford and Pickett are Manhattan's best scorers, and the Jaspers need to look to put the ball in these guys' hands.
Get to the Line and Make Free Throws
Manhattan has had trouble getting to the charity stripe. Brandon Adams and Darryl Crawford are usually the only players that can be counted on to shoot free throws. Luckily for Manhattan, they are the two best free throw shooters on the team. Manhattan needs to draw fouls and, more importantly, make its free throws.
Towson turns the ball over more than 13 times per game. Manhattan has the ability to play strong defense when it hustles.
Also, senior guard Darryl Crawford moved to No. 8 on the Manhattan College all-time scoring list. Crawford, with 1,351 points in his career, is 92 points behind Larry Lembo ('65) with at least four games remaining in his Jasper career.
Prediction: Manhattan 66, Towson 58