MAAC Tournament: Manhattan vs Canisius Preview and Prediction
Manhattan vs Canisius Preview
For a second consecutive season the Canisius Golden Griffins (14-16, 11-7) have earned the No.2 seed in the MAAC Tournament, this year however, they hope for a different outcome. The No.7 seed Manhattan Jaspers are hoping to prove that the conference as a whole is wide open and this year’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is up for grabs.
If their matchup less than a month ago is any indication, Canisius is susceptible to the upset tonight. The only regular season meeting came on Feb. 17, in Buffalo, NY when the Jaspers shot 65.1 percent from the field while holding Canisius to just 44.4 percent en route to the 70-65 victory.
The Griffs season has been filled with ups and downs, but one word can describe it perfectly: inconsistent. When I say inconsistent, I mean it at every level–from on-court play, to in-game coaching, to gameplanning, to focus on and off the court, to literally everything. This team has been inconsistent.
Coming into this matchup, I’m not certain which Canisius team will show up, but two players will need to step up if they are going to advance. First team All-MAAC selection Takal Molson and third team All-MAAC pick Malik Johnson will lead this team to the promised land, or back to class. Molson ranks third in the MAAC in scoring with 17 points per game, and Johnson closed out the regular season with his second career double-double when he scored 10 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists in the victory over Siena.
For the Jaspers, they overcame a double-digit first half deficit in the opening round of the MAAC Tournament against Fairfield to eventually win and advance, 57-53.
Freshman Christian Hinckson scored a career-high 16 points for Manhattan, only his second game in double figures all season, to lead the team to victory. Leading scorer Warren Williams, who is another freshman, scored 10 points.
The Jaspers don’t have a player who averages more than 8.6 points per game.
Don’t repeat last year
Both teams lost their first games played in last season MAAC Tournament. Obviously, Manhattan has already exceeded those results, but last year they were the No.5 seed and fell to the No.4 seed and eventual champion Iona, 72-60.
For Canisius, their loss stung even more–they earned the No.2 seed and arguably were the favorite to punch their ticket, but they were shockingly upset by the No.7 seed Quinnipiac 72-69. For Griffs fans the loss stung more because it was the end of a great career, as Jermaine Crumpton would graduate at the end of the semester. This year’s squad desperately misses Crump’s size, inside ability and leadership.
Canisius’ first MAAC Tournament game was in 1990, a 61-59 victory over Manhattan. Since that meeting, the two programs have never faced off in the Conference Tournament since.
MFST previewed and predicted the entire MAAC Tournament here. After the opening round, we are 2-1.
LINE: -4 Canisius
Dan’s Bet: -4 Canisius
Score Prediction: Canisius 68 Manhattan 61