I hope the NCAA will once again call their ‘first round’ games as what they used to be called…play-in games. As a person who writes a lot about the NCAA Tournament, it’s confusing as hell to call, the first real games of the tournament, ‘second round’ games.
Hampton comes into the NCAA Tournament with a record under .500 (16-17). They got hot at the end of the year and stole an automatic bid away from the top reams in the MEAC.
Manhattan nearly lost their head coach Steve Masiello after last year’s tournament appearance. He was hired by South Florida, but wasn’t hired due to lying that he graduated on his résumé. He completed the course he needed and kept his job at Manhattan. The Jaspers ended up winning the MAAC conference tournament.
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The Hampton Pirates earned the MEAC’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament. They have a 16-17 record on the season, but ended the season going 8-3 defeating four of the time five teams in the conference.
The Manhattan Jaspers punched their ticket to the dance by winning the MAAC conference tournament by beating Iona in the final. They appeared in last year’s NCAA tournament, but were defeated by Louisville in their first game. Emmy Andujar and Ashton Pankey are two talented front-court players for Manhattan.
Manhattan has more talent on their roster. Hampton struggles shooting from the field. They only shot 40.8% from the field (ranked 294th in the country). The Jaspers will take the win and move on to get destroyed by Kentucky.
Prediction: Manhattan Jaspers
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.