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Gameday Preview: Men's Basketball @ Caltech-11/10/19

After losing in the season opener last night, the Macs have a quick turn-around. Just 16 hours after the conclusion of the Oxy game, the Macs will face Caltech. This is the opening game for the Beavers, who are looking for a statement win to begin their season. Caltech, just like Oxy, plays in the ultra-competitive SCIAC conference. While they only went 10-15 last year, the Beavers are an up-and-coming team which returns virtually all of their top players and brings in an extremely talented freshman class.

The Macs could not get much going last night offensively, until it was too late. Leifer, Turell and Simcha Halpert all played 30+ minutes. Dani Katz was unable to play last night with a hamstring injury; he is day-to-day and questionable for today’s game. In his place, Caleb Milobsky played 30 minutes, while Kevin Bokor played 9. Bar Alluf, Ofek Reef, and Eitan Halpert all played double-digit minutes.

Caltech’s offense is facilitated by senior PG Alec Andrews, who averaged 8.9 points and 5.5 assists/game last season. His biggest weapon on the outside is Marcus Gee, a 2018-19 Second Team All-SCIAC member who scored 14.4 points/game. Spencer Schneider and Noah Barnes both contributed more than 10 points/game last year. The Beavers roster includes six freshmen; most notable is 6’8” Cypriot Pavlos Stavrinides, who won a championship with his national team. The Macs, who are not a very big team inside, may struggle to stop Stavrinides and 6’7” Ross Carter, Caltech’s other big man. Overall, this is a very scary team which should not be overlooked whatsoever.

Keys To The Game

1) Communicate on defense

Last night, the Macs were picked apart by Oxy’s off-ball screens. The Tigers used these screens to put Macs’ players out of position, leading to wide open shots. It is critical to communicate on defense, especially when the opponent is setting screens. Caltech is a smart team which spaces the floor. If the Macs don’t communicate, the Beavers will take advantage. While Oxy didn’t set a lot of backdoor screens, I would expect Caltech to do so.

2) Space The Floor

Spacing the floor is always important, but even more so when the opponent boasts size like Caltech does. The Macs need their big man—be it Dani Katz or Caleb Milobsky—to draw up Caltech’s center. Whether the Beavers have Stavrinides or Carter on the floor, YU needs to force him out of the paint. This will allow for other Macs players to drive to the basket. I think that, even if Dani can go today, Caleb will receive more minutes, as he matches up better against players who are larger than 6’5”.

3) Box Out

YU hurt themselves last night by watching the ball and not the opposing players. This primarily came in to play on screens, but also did a few times on box outs. If the Macs don’t make sure to box out today, Caltech will kill them on the boards. The Beaver’s roster boasts six players who are 6’6” or above. Even if YU boxes out, they will struggle some. Caltech plays pretty slowly, limiting the number of possessions available to their opponents. Giving free possessions to the Beavers by failing to box out is not a formula for success.

How to Watch/Follow

Tipoff is at 5:00 PM ET, 2:00 PM PT. While MacsLive will not broadcast the game, you can watch the Caltech stream; click here to view it. If you are interested in following the game without watching it, MacsLive will provide an updating scoreboard throughout the game. That scoreboard has been linked into the scoreboards on both the home and men’s basketball pages, and can also be accessed here. After the game, MacsLive will publish a game recap with analysis of what

went right or wrong, so even if you are busy and can’t follow the game, make sure to read that.

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