For the rest of the week until tipoff, we’ll be taking a look at all the mid-major teams to make the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. Here, now, is Manhattan.
Enjoy the Jaspers while you can, because due to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee installing Louisville as a No. 4 seed, Manhattan gets to face them in their first game. Not only are the Cardinals a bigger, faster, more talented version of the Jaspers (like that issue of “Fantastic Four” when The Thing fought The Hulk), Manhattan coach Steve Masiello is a former assistant to Rick Pitino. In fact, Masiello was a ball boy for Pitino’s New York Knicks, in 1987.
“How they’re a 4-seed I have no idea,” Masiello said. “They have the best guard in the country in Russ Smith. One of the best if not the best tournament coach. So it’s a really tough game for us to play and a bad matchup.”
Other than that, he’s really looking forward to being there.
The Jaspers got into the tournament with a 71-68 win over Iona in Springfield (see photo below) Mass., in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship game. George Beamon led Manhattan with 16 points.
There shall now be a moment of silence as we pray for their souls, and scan the vital statistics below.
Record: 25-7, 15-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Quality Wins: LaSalle, Illinois State, Marist.
More Appropriate Photo For This Post, Considering First Opponent:
Mascot: The school’s athletic teams were named after a guy: Brother Jasper of Mary, FSC, who served at the College in the late 19th century.
Cool Fact: Manhattan College baseball fans invented the seventh-inning stretch.
Notable Alumni: Rudy Giuliani, Glenn Hughes (co-founder, leather biker of The Village People).
Best Shorts: Lacrosse.
Strengths: Pressure defense, Coaching.
Weaknesses: Opponent’s pressure defense, coaching.
Best Police Blotter Item: Following the conference tourney win over Iona, a Manhattan College player hurled the game ball into the stands, where a fan caught it. Manhattan alum Mike Paluszek, sitting a couple rows away, negotiated with the fan and finally bought the ball for $200. But instead of stuffing it under his shirt and scurrying off with it, he showed it off to the crowd … and arena security forced him to give it back under threat of arrest. So he was out the ball, and $200.