Just 45 hours ago, we witnessed the Macs take a massive step towards securing the #1 overall seed in the Skyline Conference. Tonight, #24 Yeshiva will attempt to pick up their 17th consecutive win; a victory tonight would tie the program record, set last year. In order to do so, the Macs will need to get past an unfamiliar opponent in Manhattanville College. The Valiants left the Skyline in 2007, but rejoined for this season, and were placed in the Northern Division. MVille enters this game with a 7-2 record in-conference, and are only behind Purchase, who they lost to earlier this year, in their division.
Manhattanville has a talented but relatively young roster, with only two seniors on the team; only one gets significant playing time. The Valiants effectively count on six players; they do not have a deep bench. As a team, they are holding their opponents to under 70 points/game, but are not putting up excellent offensive numbers. Their tempo is in the bottom 25% of DIII as well; they clearly prefer a slower-paced, lower-scoring game.
The Valiants have two captains: junior Mike Granda, who leads the team in scoring, and—no, this is not a typo—sophomore Jake Dunn. Granda has a sweet stroke from outside, where he is hitting 42.8% of his shots; roughly ⅔ of his attempts come from behind the arc. Dunn’s numbers are not nearly as impressive—he is making under 27% of his threes, despite more than ½ of his shots being from at least 23 feet out—but he is making over 50% of his twos, and has the potential to get hot. Senior JoJo Cobbs is excellent at driving to the rack; he is liable to making a bad pass once in a while, however, and has more turnovers this season than assists. The one forward who starts for Manhattanville is freshman Khari Taylor, who is 6’2”, 215 lbs; essentially, the Valiants play four guards at a time, which fits well into their offense.
MVille runs a dribble drive motion offense, and likes to either shoot the ball off the kick or attack the hole. They try to space the floor and create gaps to penetrate on the drive. Defensively, they tend to play man-to-man. However, the Macs’ coaching staff has mentioned on numerous occasions that they are prepared to play against any defensive set. They anticipate that, in this last month of the regular season, some teams may try to throw junk defenses at the Macs, in an attempt to throw them off, but believe that this will not affect them whatsoever.
Keys to the Game:
1) Communicate on defense
Communicating on defense is paramount when playing against a dribble drive offense
The Macs will be relying on their help to force kick outs and prevent layups
It is critical that the Yeshiva players communicate where help is, so that they can close off any gaps which the MVille players are attempting to drive through
2) Properly closeout
When playing against dribble drive, the offense will try to use any mistakes on closeouts to their advantage
If the YU players closeout too aggressively, expect Manhattanville to attack, which could potentially lead to layups or kickouts to an open man
If they are too cautious, the Valiants will get open looks from three
When closing out, the Macs must adhere to basic principles, such as keeping their hands up, sprinting to the ball, and mirroring the offense to eliminate easy middle drive opportunities
3) Don’t over rotate to the ball
It is important that the Macs don’t over rotate to the ball, and instead maintain proper positioning and stay disciplined
Over rotating creates long closeouts, and makes it difficult to maintain proper rebounding positioning
Despite being a small team, Manhattanville out-rebounds their opponents, which is likely a direct result of other teams over rotating
This conference game against an unfamiliar opponent tips off at 8:30 from the Max Stern Athletic Center. Sammy Katz and Rami Pinchot will be on the call, and you can watch here. Click here to follow on our in-game scoreboard. Be sure to check back on MacsLive.com after the game for our recap, and tomorrow morning for highlights from tonight’s contest. Let’s Go Macs!