On Saturday night, the Macs will head to Purchase, N.Y. to take on the Manhattanville College Valiants at 8:30 PM in what will be Yeshiva’s first game of the 2021 season.
The Macs come into the season with high hopes after their Sweet-16 run in the Division III tournament which was, unfortunately, halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Led by Coach Elliot Steinmetz, Yeshiva hopes to remain the offensive powerhouse that they were last season when they led the Skyline Conference with an impressive 86.7 Points Per Game.
While the Macs hope to build off of last season's success, they’ll have to beat a talented Valiants team that is hungry to open their season with a win as well.
The Valiants, led by second-year Head Coach Chris Alesi, are coming off of an impressive 16-10 season in which they finished second place in the Skyline Conference’s North Division.
Manhattanville, while not as offensively explosive, offers plenty on the defensive side of the ball as they were third in the Skyline Conference in points allowed per game by giving up, on average, a mere 69.3 points a game.
Saturday night’s game will offer fans and viewers a unique opportunity to see a battle between one of the conference’s offensive powerhouses in the Maccabees versus a stalwart defense that is the Manhattanville Valiants.
Last year, however, the two teams met in what was a convincing win for Yeshiva with a final score of 100-79. With last year’s win, the Macs earned their Ninth all-time win against the Valiants against Manhattanville Twelve all-time wins over Yeshiva.
Though, regardless of last year’s outcome, the Valiants are only getting better under the tutelage of second-year Chris Alesi who led the Valiants to their first over-500 win percentage season since the ‘15-’16 season.
Here are the keys to Saturday night’s matchup:
1. Sean Smith (Forward, Manhattanville)
Sean Smith Redshirted last season and was the MAC Freedom Conference Co-Player of the Year for the ‘18-’19 season. That season, Smith averaged 21 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game, scoring a career high 46 points vs Wilkes. It is imperative that the Macs limit Smith on the offensive side of the ball as Smith is an explosive scorer who can turn the tide of the game.
2. The 3-Pointer
Saturday’s game will be won beyond the arc as the Valiants and Macs are Two of the top Three 3-point shooting teams from last season. Expect both teams to rely on their 3-point potential and sharpshooting players. However, what really will affect the game is how each team defends the arc. The game may very well come down to which coach implements a better defensive scheme regarding the opposing team’s 3-point shot.
3. Incoming Players and Familiarity With the Offense
This year there are plenty of new faces on the Macs who will be tasked with familiarizing themselves with Yeshiva’s motion offense. Unfortunately, with limited practice time and COVID-related restrictions, becoming acclimated with a new team and new scheme has become even more difficult. How comfortable the new Macs are with Coach Steinmetz’s offensive scheme will have an immense impact on Saturday’s game. Assuming they are well-situated in the Yeshiva Offense, expect the Macs to continue being the offensive powerhouse they were last season.
Tip-off for Saturday night’s game is at 8:30 PM. Click here to stream the Manhattanville broadcast.