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Manhattan Jaspers vs. UMass Minutemen: Basketball Preview

You can watch the game on ESPN2 at 11AM.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Massachusetts Minutemen welcome the Manahttan Jaspers to the William D. Mullins Center for a matinee. Tip-off is at 11 am tomorrow and the game will be shown on ESPN2.

Who are the Jaspers?

Manhattan plays in the MAAC, same as the first UMass victim Siena. Last year they were the MAAC tournament champs with a record of 25-7 (15-5). They also made the NCAA tournament before getting knocked out by Louisville.  You probably best know they from their head coach Steve Masiello, who lied on his resume about graduating from Kentucky. He has since completed his degree and has put that behind him.

This season they are 0-1, coming off a loss at the hands of eventual UMass opponent Florida State 81-66.

Players to watch

The Jaspers are led by a pair of junior forwards in Shane Richards and Ashton Pankey. Richards led Manhattan in scoring against FSU with 17 points and added four rebounds and two assists. Listed at forward, Richards is only 6-5 and 185 pounds. Pankey is much bigger at 6-10, 225 and he is also their best rebounder. He had 14 points and seven rebounds but did have a team high six turnovers. The third starting forward is Emmy Andujar who is 6-6 and led the team in rebounding with nine and also added the same in points.

Rashawn Stores is their 5-11 guard who is tasked with running their offense. He is Manhattan's senior leader and will be looked on to keep the ship steady agaisnst the fast paced Minutemen.

How they matchup

My guess is UMass employs their press on Manhattan and tries to recreate the havoc they caused that eyesore of a team BC in the second half.

Cady Lalanne was a beast on the defensive end against BC and there's no reason to suspect he won't be again. He will probably draw Pankey defensively but he will still be tasked with defending the rim. Guarding Richards will be more difficult as UMass doesn't have too many 6-5 guards/forwards. Derrick Gordon is probably the best bet even though he gives up a few inches to Richards he is still by far the best defender.

Offensively Manhattan is not very good at protecting the rim and only recorded one block against the Seminoles. This means UMass will be able to get to the rim whenever they want and should result in the massive amounts of free throw attempts that they have become accustomed to.

Prediction

UMass should run away with this one. Playing a road game this early should through Manhattan off and allow the Minutemen to cruise. Cady Lalanne should have no problem getting another double-double and could give fans some souvenir balls after swatting Manhattan into the stands. Trey Davis will be looking to shake off his tough outing against BC. Maxie Esho, Gordon, and Jabarie Hinds should all have field days getting to rim and pushing the ball as well as getting turnovers defensively.

And to the fella over there with the hella good hair, Tyler Bergantino, could see his minutes extended along with Seth Berger. Seriously though Bergantino looks like he has a lions mane atop his head. If UMass plays the way they should, Kellogg may be inclined to play the bench more to see what else he has.

Final score 77-61 good guys.