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Gameday Preview: Men's Basketball @ Washington College-11/17/19

After a satisfying victory last night, the Macs will try to head back to New York with a three-game winning streak. The Washington College Shoremen stand in YU’s way. Washington only went 14-13 last season, but are a better team than that record indicates. They play in a conference which includes NCAA DIII #1 Swarthmore College. The Shoremen are a team on the rise, as they reached the Centennial Conference Tournament last year for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Washington had a grand total of one player graduate, so their team has already developed chemistry, which is all the more reason not to underestimate them. They are 1-1 to start this season, having beaten a mediocre St. Mary’s team in OT and lost to #24 Randolph-Macon by 27.

Washington is not a team which will scare anyone with their shooting and play-making abilities. Last season, the Shoremen averaged a measly 67.1 points/game, and just 10.7 assists. Their FG% was under 40%, and they shot just 32.4% from three. There are also no stars on this team; rather, everyone they play is solid. In 2018-19, four players averaged eight or more points, but no one even breached 12/game. The Shoremen do have a 6’9” center, Logan Bunch, but he only averaged 12.2 minutes/game last season, and hasn’t seen an increased share of floor time this year. The typical starting five for Washington includes Dallas Marshall, Alec Lewis, Tray Wright, Daniel Brown, and Austin Allen. None of these players are taller than 6’5”, nor seem to have the ability to take over a game.

Keys to the Game

1) Play Smart

There is no doubt about it, YU is the better team in this matchup. However, last season, YU fell short on multiple occasions to inferior teams. Add on the fact that the Macs are playing back-to-back and just got a huge W, and this could be a trap game. To come out victorious, YU simply needs to play smart. That means no foolish fouls or unnecessary, contested threes. In a perfect world, YU would shoot Washington out of their building, but the offense hasn't gotten it going from outside yet this year. There is no need to force the issue; it will fix itself over time. Washington College isn’t a strong shooting team, so as long as the Macs get out to a nice lead they should be safe. There is no need to win by 30; an ugly, 10 point win counts just as much.

2) Get Quality Minutes From the Bench

One of the things to watch out for this season is the depth of the Macs’ bench. This was tested last week, when YU played two games in two days, and will likely have a role in this game. However, the Macs have been playing short-handed in recent times, as both Dani Katz and Eitan Halpert have been out due to injuries. While the team was a little tired against Caltech last Sunday, they weren’t too affected by the quick turnaround. Will today be different? Last night, with the exclusion of seven combined minutes from Tyler Hod and Max Leibowitz, the Macs only used seven players in the entire game. YU will undoubtedly need to get important minutes from their bench against the Shoremen. When asked about the short window between games, Coach Steinmetz commented that in the NCAA Tournament, you have to play back-to-back, so this is a good challenge for his team.

3) Anticipate Off-Ball Screens

The top things which YU has struggled with so far this season have been hitting their shots from behind the arc and anticipating off-ball screens. All three teams the Macs have played so far have gotten good looks from off-ball screens. Occidental used them to get wide open 3’s. Salisbury’s screens created space for their shooters from both behind and inside the arc. Even Caltech’s screens were somewhat successful. It is critical that the Macs work to communicate where screens are being set, and if necessary, tell each other to switch. Instead of sitting there and allowing themselves to be eliminated from the play, the Macs need to attack the screeners and passing lanes.

How to Watch/Follow:

Tipoff is at 2:00 PM. While MacsLive will not broadcast the game, you can watch the Washington College live stream; click here to view it. If you are interested in following the game without watching, you can click here to access our in-game scoreboard. As always, make sure to check out our postgame recap, filled with insightful analysis.

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