Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Previewing the Jaspers....

So, here come the Jaspers.  Yes, the Jaspers.  Last year, it was the Billikens and this year it is the Jaspers, on our quest to host the teammates with the most obscure nicknames in college sports.

What is a Jasper?  Well, the team is named for Brother Jasper who brought baseball to the College and was the first coach.  He was a monk, I'm guessing.

The Manhattan site gives him credit for inventing the 7th inning stretch in 1882.  I had always heard that this man was responsible, but wikipedia says that the great Cincinnati Red Harry Wright actually talked about a 7th inning stretch 13 years earlier.

Also, for the record, Manhattan College is now in the Bronx.

The Jaspers are having a tough season.  They are 2-9 with an RPI of 258.  They won their first two, so they have now lost 9 straight heading into AA tomorrow.  They have a win over a decent Penn team, and they have some high quality losses, including Wisconsin, Texas A&M and Georgia.  Their worse loss was on the road at Binghampton.  For what it is worth, they played a string of teams in the mid-100s (ish) RPI-wise (Rider, @St. Peters, @Fordham, Hofstra) and lost all those games by 13 or more.

So, they come in looking pretty hungrily for a win...as are the Falcons.  It would appear that this game will be evenly matched, which is actually borne out by the Four Factors.

The Jaspers are not a fast-paced team--the are averaging 3 fewer possessions per game than BG is (in fact, they are the 314th ranked team in terms of possessions)..  They are 307th in points per possession and 317th in points per possession allowed.  So, they are losing .18 points on every possession.

A positive thing for this matchup is that they are not a 3-point shooting team.  They have gotten an even lower percentage of their points from that route than BG has, which is pretty surprising.  Assuming that they don't get instantly well against the BG zone (and I'm hoping that will be true), BG can expect them to try and drive the ball inside.  Both BG and Manhattan are shooting 38% from the field for the season.

We may need one of these.

Manhattan has 2 guards who score in double figures--George Beamon (14 pts/7.5 rpg) and Martin Alvarado (Freshman, 12.5 ppg).  Because of their poor shooting, none of these guys ranks very high in efficiency terms...they use up possessions to get to those scoring levels.

Another freshmen, Rahmel Brown, leaders them with 8 RPG...he's 6'6".  (Ditto, here, there are plenty of missed shots flying around waiting to be caught).  He also blocks 2 shots a game, which is good if not great.

Their top 3 free throw shooters are really good, but if we get the chance to foul Brown, we should, he is below 40%.

A caveat:  while the teams appear evenly matched, Manhattan has earned their numbers against tougher competition than BG has.

Also, they have made a recent addition to their team.  Demetrius Jemison is a transfer from Alabama who is 6'8" and has played two games to date (the last two) and averages a double-double.  He's a graduate transfer who had to resolve eligibility issues with the NCAA, leading to the late start.

This is the school that upset Florida in the first round of the 2004 tournament and then lost a dogfight with a good Wake Forest team in the 2nd round.  That team was coached by Bobby Gonzalez, who coached there for two more seasons before he replaced Louis Orr at Seton Hall and was later arrested for shoplifting.

Their Coach, Barry Rohrssen, is a Ben Howland disciple, which explains the low number of possessions.  The media guide contains a random endorsement for him from former NYC Mayor David Dinkins.

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