Saturday, Nov. 13, 2:00 PM at Fleisher Center, Newark, NJ
NJIT set a school record since entering Division I college basketball with 10 wins last season, and it will not be surprising to see the Highlanders surpass that mark this year.
In last year's match between the Jaspers and the Highlanders, NJIT was able to stay in the game and only lost by 12 points, 70-58. This year, NJIT returns its three leading scorers, and Manhattan is practically a brand new team. Despite having five players graduate, one player transfer and one player leave to play basketball in Europe, Manhattan's new team will almost definitely be better.
The improvement in Manhattan's talent and athleticism should give them a somewhat easy win, as long as the Jaspers can execute on a few key points.
Guard the Perimeter
When Manhattan played NJIT last season, the Highlanders shot 32 three-pointers. Fortunately for Manhattan, the Highlanders only hit six of them. However, after getting killed from beyond the arc against Concordia, Manhattan has to make sure to shut down the perimeter in case NJIT's shooters have improved.
Share the Ball
Against Concordia, there were too many Jaspers that wanted to play offense on their own. When Manhattan ran plays and moved the ball, good things happen. Sharing the ball will open up many scoring opportunities for the Jaspers
Let Mike Alvarado Run the Point
Despite being a freshman, Alvarado seems to be the best point guard. If senior Nick Walsh were back from his injury, it would be wise to make Walsh the backup point guard when Alvarado is resting. Junior Kidani Brutus looked like he could also be prepared to be the second point guard in case Walsh is still hurt.
Hopefully, Rohrssen will not even think about letting George Beamon play point guard. When Beamon played point guard against Concordia, he tried to take it himself nearly every time. Alvarado is the only player that is ready to start at point guard on Saturday.
Play Pressure Defense and Don't Be Afraid to Push the Tempo
Manhattan was able to force turnovers with a full-court press and sticking close to its men in half-court defense. When the Jaspers played defense in a more relaxed and sometimes lazy manner, their opponent was able to score with much more ease.
On offense, Manhattan should also stay active and aggressive. When Manhattan pushes the tempo on offense, more scoring opportunities arise.
NJIT is certainly more talented than ever, but the Highlanders do not have a team will be able to take advantage of Manhattan's weak points. Against Concordia, Manhattan fouled a lot and had trouble defending the perimeter. NJIT struggles from the free-throw stripe and also has some struggles from beyond the arc.
My prediction: Manhattan 78, NJIT 64