W2W4: Manhattan vs. Louisville

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
1:31
PM ET
Here's what to watch for when No. 13 seed Manhattan (25-7, 15-5 MAAC) plays No. 4 seed Louisville (29-5, 15-3 AAC) on Thursday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Tip-off is at approximately 9:50 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game on TNT or right here at March Madness Live.

STUDENT VS. TEACHER: In his first NCAA tournament as a head coach, Steve Masiello has to go up against his mentor, Rick Pitino, who Masiello calls "a second father." (Click here to read more.)

Pitino ripped the selection committee Wednesday for pitting these two schools, and coaches, against one another. Masiello isn't happy about it either. (Click here to read more.)

Regardless, there's obviously a lot at stake here, so both coaches will do everything in their power to win. The Cardinals are the defending national champions. The Jaspers are in the tournament for the first time in a decade, since 2004.

CARBON COPY: Masiello spent six years as an assistant to Pitino at Louisville, and employs the same style of play. Both teams are high-scoring, and hope to create havoc with full-court pressure defense.

The problem for the Jaspers is, the Cardinals are just better at doing it. Manhattan is 38th in the country in scoring (77.4 ppg), but Louisville is eighth (82.1). Manhattan is 16th in the country in steals (8.3 spg), but Louisville is second (10.1).

One area in which Manhattan's actually better is getting to the foul line -- the Jaspers are fourth in the country in free-throw attempts, and ninth in makes. But they're 283rd (out of 345 Division I schools) in free-throw percentage (66.2). If Manhattan can get to the foul line as often as it usually does, and has an unusually good day shooting free throws, that could be the recipe for an upset.

X-FACTORS: Manhattan has three players who average in double figures -- all seniors -- but leading scorer George Beamon must deliver if the Jaspers are going to have a chance.

Beamon, a 6-foot-4 swingman, averages 19.2 points per game. He is the team's best free-throw shooter (82.7 percent), and can also hit the 3-point shot (37.1 percent). Beamon scored a season-high 34 points in a game against fellow NCAA tournament squad George Washington back in November.

Louisville has four players who average in double figures, but all eyes will be on senior guard Russ Smith -- a Brooklyn native, and likely first-team All-American.

Smith averages a team-high 18.3 points per game. He's been awfully consistent this season, scoring in double digits in 32 of 34 games -- and the two exceptions were blowout victories in which he took a combined six shots. But there's always the chance "Russdiculous" will have an off night.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
Follow Kieran on Twitter »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.