Saturday, December 18, 2010

Five pre-game thoughts: Manhattan

1.) How will the Dutchmen respond after a week off for exams? The Dutchmen dropped a heartbreaker to Florida Atlantic a week ago today and slumped badly after exams the last two years. Mo Cassara wasn’t happy after the FAU loss and indicated this was the type of loss the Dutchmen needed in order to refocus them after a four-game winning streak that may not have been indicative of how good they already are. The week off was likely a good thing for Cassara, who got his most extended practice time with the Dutchmen since the preseason. We’ll find out tonight if the week off did the trick for the Dutchmen.

2.) Don’t underestimate Manhattan. The Jaspers are 2-8 after an eight-game losing streak, but the Dutchmen learned just how dangerous a desperate team can be 10 days ago in Binghamton, when it took every ounce of energy and five minutes of overtime to edge the Bearcats, 87-84. Like Binghamton, Manhattan struggles to score—the Jaspers have scored 60 points or less seven times—but the Dutchmen don’t need a reminder of how quickly that can change. The Dutchmen need to get off to a fast start and keep the pressure on instead of relenting late in the first half as they have done so often this season.

3.) What becomes of David Imes, Mike Moore and Greg Washington? Imes and Moore have occasionally looked like the Robin to Charles Jenkins’ Batman this season, but they were both invisible last Saturday. Any legitimate hopes of contending in the CAA rest on somebody—anybody—taking some pressure off Jenkins. It’ll be interesting to see if Moore rediscovered his shooting touch or if Imes and/or Washington can take advantage of a smallish Manhattan squad that features just one player taller than 6-foot-6 in its rotation.

4.) Will Yves Jules be rewarded for his stellar second half defensive play with a place in the first half rotation? It won’t be a punishment if Jules doesn’t see the floor until the second half—Cassara loves the energy he brings late in the game. But given the trouble the Dutchmen have had keeping teams at bay in the final 10 minutes of the first half, don’t be surprised at all if Jules sees heavy minutes tonight.

5.) Will the second time around be better for Brad Kelleher? Figures. The poor guy finally plays in a game after 10,000 days in NCAA gulag, then gets another seven off. Kelleher might be rusty again tonight, but the Dutchmen need to see what they have in him the rest of the month before the CAA season really kicks in. Expect him to see at least 20 minutes tonight.

5b.) How quickly will Charles Jenkins score his 2,000th career point? Very quickly. Before the first TV timeout. So I better stop typing and get in the car so I don’t miss it.

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