The Georgia Bulldogs (3-2) will square off with the Manhattan Jaspers (2-3) today at 4:30pm, with both teams looking to avoid the dubious title of “Worst in Show” at this year’s Old Spice Classic.
Manhattan’s two wins this season have come against New Jersey’s Science & Technology University (N.J.I.T.) – basically their version of “Georgia Tech” – and the Penn Quakers.
The Jaspers hail from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, where they were projected to finish 9th coming into the 2010-2011 season – just ahead of Marist University. Mike Hugueinin of Rivals.com says “Manhattan and Marist combined for five league wins last season, and combining for eight this season is an admirable goal.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is this is a team that Georgia should beat (easily).
The strength of this Jaspers team lies not in its shooting (38.9% from the floor as a team), but in its backcourt.
Freshman Michael Alvarado (14.2 ppg), Sophomore George Beamon (13.6 ppg) and Junior Kidani Brutus (11.4 ppg) account for over 66% of the Jaspers offense. Alvarado and Brutus are the three-point shooters on this squad, hitting 28.6% and 37%, respectively. Beamon is more of a slasher and looks to score closer to the basket.
I expect Manhattan to show the Dawgs a lot of 2-3 zone to slow down the game and force Georgia to shoot it from outside. Gerald Robinson, Jr and Dustin Ware need to be able to give Georgia some offense from beyond the arc. The Dawgs don’t need to toss up 30-plus three-point attempts like they did against Notre Dame, but they do need to take advantage when teams are giving them open looks.
The Georgia bigs should have a field day in this one as the Dawgs have a distinct height and thickness advantage. Trey Thompkins, Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes should all 6+ rebounds and a number of good scoring opportunities in the paint.
It will be interesting to see how the Dawgs come out for this one. Their opponent has yet to net more than 50 points in a game in Orlando, and looks to be once again outmatched (at least on paper).
However, if Coach Fox’s team comes out flat defensively (again) and allows Beamon and Brutus to penetrate inside and draw some fouls this game could remain close.
The Dawgs opened up this season playing an inferior opponent, Mississippi Valley State, and it took an eight-point Jeremy Price run to come from behind and pull out a 72-70 victory at home.
It would be nice to see Georgia dominate this team from the start, build up a lead going into the half and then keep the foot on the accelerator after the break as well. Getting at least one win down in Orlando is obviously the goal for today, but I’d like to see it done with some authority.