Arizona Wildcats (8-2) vs. Manhattan Jaspers (4-2)
6:30 MST, McKale Center
Television: Fox Sports Arizona
Radio: 1290 a.m. and 107.5 a.m. (Brian Jefffies, Ryan Hansen, Sean Mooney)
Pregame: 3:30 p.m. (Pete Delgado, Brad Allis, John Schuster, Ryan Radtke, Les Josephson)
On-line broadcast: arizonaathletics.com (subscription required)
MANHATTAN AT A GLANCE
Location: Riverdale, NY
Head Coach: Bobby Gonzales (98-54)
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic
Last Tournament Appearance: 2004, NCAA second round
Good Wins: Rhode Island
Good Loses: at North Carolina State
Bad Loses: Fairfield
Leading Scorer: Peter Mulligan (21.7 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: C.J. Anderson (8.7 rpg)
Assists Leading: Jason Wingate (3.3 apg)
FG% Leader: Kenny Minor (.619)
3-PT% Leader: Minor (.667)
WHAT IS A JASPER? The teams are named for Brother Jasper of Mary, a priest who worked at the school and was among other things, the school's first baseball coach. Legend has it that he created the seventh inning stretch to energize a listless crowd.
Bobby Gonzales is a Rick Pitino disciple and the Jaspers will play like that. They like to go up-tempo and may actually try to run with the Cats. It wouldn't be a shock to see them employ the press in an effort to get Mustafa Shakur to give up the ball before he crosses the timeline, forcing the Wildcat offense to either run through a different player or to re-set in an effort to get Shakur the ball back.
The Jaspers basically go six deep. They are led by Peter Mulligan, a 6-5 forward who is averaging 21.7 points a night. He has become the go-to guy as a senior.
They lack size, but get good numbers from their front line. C.J. Anderson is only 6-6, but is pulling down over eight boards a contest. Arturo Dubois mans the middle, but is only 6-8.
The backcourt of Kenny Minor and Jason Wingate don't score much, but both shoot well. Both are over 50% from the floor and behind the arc, but they average less than seven points each.
The Cats hope that the Jaspers try to run. They are playing great defense, but need something to spark the offense. The Cats have scored more than seventy just once since the first week of the season and they would love to go into the Christmas break on a high note.
Chris Rodgers will get the start. He had a great game against Marquette and earned a second start in the place of Salim Stoudamire, who was held out of the last game due to disciplinary reasons. Stoudamire will be back on the floor tonight and could be due for a big game. This is a great opportunity for Rodgers to cement his role in the rotation, something he has failed to do so far. His last two games have been among the best of his career and he hopes to continue the trend.
Arizona will try to exploit the height disadvantage and will try to get the big men involved early. Channing Frye has come around after a rough start to the season and seems to be back to his old self. The Cats would also love to get Isaiah Fox and Ivan Radenovic involved.
OUTLOOK: The Cats are the better team. This is one they should win, but it is no slam dunk. Manhattan is good enough to pull off the upset. If the Cats can establish the post game early, and continue to play good defense, they should get a nice win.