The Syracuse University men's basketball program host Manhattan University Monday night at the Carrier Dome (7 p.m. on ESPNU). The Orange (1-0), ranked No. 5 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, will be playing in the opening round of the annual NIT Tipoff Tournament, which holds its semifinal and final rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Now, most SU fans are already familiar with their team, but may not know anything about the Jaspers (1-0). So, here's a brief scouting report on Manhattan.
Steve Masiello, a former assistant coach at the University of Louisville, is in the midst of his first Division I head coaching stint. Masiello, a Kentucky University alum, spent the last six seasons learning from one of the best headmen in college basketball, Rick Pitino.
The Jaspers had a disappointing campaign in 2010-11 compiling a 6-25 overall record and finishing second-worst (3-15) in the 10-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings.
Manhattan's 2011-12 season doesn't begin with highest expectations as the Jaspers, who return four starters for last year's squad, were predicted to finish in seventh place in the MAAC preseason media poll. On Saturday, the Manhattan began its season with a 62-48 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Best Player To Look Out For
Junior guard George Beamon is the star of the Jaspers' program. Last season, Beamon (6-foot-4, 170-pounds) led Manhattan in scoring (16.3 points per game) and averaged 6.1 rebounds per game. Beamon's credentials helped him earn a spot on the Preseason All-MAAC's Second Team.
Manhattan really doesn't have the size -- its largest front-court player, junior Kevin Laue (6-11, 23), barley played in the season opener -- or outside-shooting ability to stick with the Orange's 2-3 zone. Look for SU, which are 26-point favorites, to roll in this one.