Midwest - No. 4 Louisville vs No 13 Manhattan

Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: Midwest Region – No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 Manhattan

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: Louisville -16.5
Why To Pick Manhattan: The Jaspers have the type of offense and running ability to keep things moving while also making things happen in the interior. Among the nation's leaders in blocked shots and steals, the defense is disruptive enough to throw off a rock-solid and unflappable Louisville backcourt.Get the Cardinals on the line late and Manhattan has a chance.
Why To Pick Louisville: Manhattan might be disruptive defensively, but it's also too careless with the ball and makes too many mistakes. Also lousy on the free throw line, there will be too many free points given away, and it'll be tough to keep up the scoring pace. Louisville has too much scoring pop – Manhattan would be better against a sluggish, half-court team.
The Pick: Louisville 88-67. Manhattan will keep up for about 15 minutes, and then the spurt will come. The unflappable Louisville backcourt won't make the mistakes the Jaspers need.

Louisville Cardinals
Head coach: Rick Pitino Record: 29-5 Conference: American Athletic

What You Need To Know: The defending national champions are playing their best basketball of the season at just the right time thanks to a roster good enough to make another title run. Guard Russ Smith lights up in March, and his all-around game will create headaches for every opponent the Cardinals face. Luke Hancock was the MOP of the Final Four last season and is a quality three-point shooter, and forward Montrezl Harrell is a dominant rebounder who plays the game with an aggressive edge that intimidates opponents. The key to the improvement late in the season? A hectic defense that creates lots and lots of turnovers that lead to easy baskets. The Cardinals are long, athletic and deep, and they play with a swagger that can be unnerving to opponents who already are anxious about facing Rick Pitino's havoc-raising defense.
Strengths: Turnover Margin, Steals, Scoring
Weaknesses: Free Throws, Rebounding
How Far Will They Go?: Is there anyone hotter right now? The Cardinals are firing on all cylinders offensively, but they're not the lock to get through their half of the Midwest bracket like everyone thinks they are. They'll get to the Final Four, but it's going to take a few wars.

Manhattan Jaspers
Head coach: Steve Masiello Record: 25-7 Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic

What You Need To Know: The Jaspers can score in a hurry, and they will create headaches for their opponents. Manhattan averages 77.4 points a game and has won 11 of its last 12 games heading into the Big Dance, and it won't be afraid of playing teams from power conferences. It beat South Carolina by 22 in December, carrying that swagger into the rest of the season. The high-powered attack is led by an electric scorer in swingman George Beamon, who averaged 19.2 points and 6.6 boards a night. He's a good shooter, he can get to the rim and uses his quick hands to create turnovers on the defensive end. Rhamel Brown provides an inside presence at 6-7, 230 pounds. A quality shot blocker, averaging 3.7 a game, he has become a killer inside. Michael Alvarado and Shane Richards add depth to a potent attack.
Strengths: Blocked Shots, Steals Per Game, Scoring
Weaknesses: Assist-Turnover Ratio, Free Throw Shooting, Scoring Defense
How Far Will They Go?: Out of all the No. 4s, Manhattan gets Louisville. Thanks for playing.