Manhattan at West Virginia Prediction and Pick for tonight’s game at WVU Coliseum.
Manhattan at West Virginia offers minimal hope of a spectacular upset, but this game carries intrigue. West Virginia comes into this game having been humbled by Temple in an 81-77 loss and Manhattan comes into this game after winning in Double Overtime over Detroit.
Manhattan Head Coach Steve Masiello is a Rick Pitino disciple and he is certainly familiar with pressing opponents like West Virginia considering that his own team presses quite a bit themselves! However, West Virginia is a rare bird in that they will press on rebounds, not just after scores or stoppages of play.
Manhattan got a taste of Winthrop’s press in the early morning hours of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon and lost by 13 to Pat Kelsey’s ascendant squad. The Jaspers also lost to Temple at the Liacouras Center in a blowout.
This is a team very reliant upon Zavier Turner to carry the scoring load and it is also a team that can be very foul happy, but this is deceptive considering that they did try to preserve a game against Winthrop and played a Double Overtime game against Detroit.
Manhattan has a strong three point shooting game and they do a good job of getting to the Free Throw Line. Manhattan is also strong with grabbing rebounds. They are an average to below average team at stopping shooters.
Manhattan scores much of their points off the dribble drive and not the assist. 28% of their points in the restricted arc were off assists. 40.1% of their shots are in the restricted arc and they only made half of those shots.
Manhattan does an excellent job of keeping opponents from taking shots in transition. 14.3% of shots taken against the Jaspers were in transition (6th best in the country). They are also 50th best at forcing opponents out of the money zones when attempting shots as 35.4% of shots against Manhattan are in the mid-range. Manhattan is 73rd in the nation in percentage of shots allowed in the restricted arc, 29.8%.
Manhattan forces a good amount of turnovers, but commits a horrendous number of them and also has a high foul load. Manhattan’s rebounding on the offensive end creates opportunities for second chance points. Manhattan is an above-average defensive rebounding team.
Manhattan has eight scholarship student-athletes that are Seniors or Juniors. This is an experienced team.
About West Virginia
Press Virginia is a thing under Bob Huggins. WVU will throw a lot of guys at opponents, press a lot and try to force transitional scoring opportunities. Opponents that can handle the heat are able to beat this Mountaineer team.
Jevon Carter is critical to this team defensive efforts and he is off to a stellar start averaging 3.4 steals per game. Points do come by committee, so do assists and rebounding is expected to come that way as well.
West Virginia has been very good from three point range this season and their three point defense is above-average. This is a team accustomed to taking a lot of shots and denying shot opportunities to opponents via turnovers. This is a strong rebounding team that has been susceptible to giving up a high Assists to Field Goals Made ratio.
West Virginia has a pair of very noticeable weaknesses. They do put opponents to the foul line more than they wish and they are an awful Free Throw shooting team. WVU is pathetic at the Free Throw Line and it will cost them games in the Big XII.
West Virginia does not turn the ball over much and they are the best at turning teams over due to their full court pressure. Aside from this, they have similar strengths and weaknesses to Manhattan.
West Virginia is a money zone oriented team and they are 25th in the nation in shots taken in the restricted arc. They are only 59.6% in this area. They do not get out and run like many would think for a pressing team. 21.6% of their shots are in transition, but they have an effective Field Goal rate in this area of 74.7%.
WVU lets opponents get to the restricted arc to take shots and opponents only shoot 49% in this zone, but 40.1% of opponent shots are taken there. They also let opponents get out and run, usually this is a result of breaking the press and possibly hurried shots. 26.3% of opponent shots are in transition (319th best) and opponents shoot an effective Field Goal rate of 50.3% in transition.
Manhattan at West Virginia Prediction and Pick
Manhattan should have reasonable enough success to choke off West Virginia from getting out and having transition shooting opportunities. Manhattan should turn it out a lot, but West Virginia will also have their turnovers as well. The pace does not matter much here for both teams. Manhattan will be able to force West Virginia into some sort of foul trouble and West Virginia should be able to do the same, but possibly with less effect because it is not as emphasized.
There’s no question that West Virginia is going to win this game. Manhattan being a more experienced team that practices against the press should help them in their journey tonight. West Virginia’s inability to hit Free Throws and Manhattan’s ability to get to the Free Throw Line and make their shots could make a difference.
The current line of West Virginia -29 is very high, but considering that the Mountaineers pounded Illinois by 32, it is not something that cannot happen. However, this is a different game and the Jaspers are more accustomed to West Virginia’s style than Illinois. Illinois is a Big Ten team and the only team that is known to press in that conference is Minnesota. In the MAAC, Siena, Monmouth and Iona press along with Manhattan. Illinois is a jump shot happy team that relies on ball movement, Manhattan is a dribble drive oriented team that can get to the Free Throw Line and cause foul trouble.
Prediction: West Virginia 82 Manhattan 64 (Pick is Manhattan +29)
Pick of the Day is 11-6 after covering on the OVER during the CSUN-Portland game.