Tonight at 9:00 PM the Manhattan
Jaspers Fighting Steve Masiello’s will face the Iona Gaels in the MAAC Championship, attempting to earn an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. Despite some negative sentiments towards Masiello during his time with Pitino at U of Smell, he has been quite successful at turning around a bad program in his 2 short years as head coach. Last season, the Jaspers had a 15 win turn-around in his first year as coach.
What’s a Jasper?
After doing some KSR hard-hitting journalistic research, I’ve discovered that Manhattan’s nickname comes from an old clergyman named Brother Jasper of Mary. Brother Jasper brought the little-known sport of baseball to the school in the 1880s. There team became quite famous playing exhibition games against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. Their team picture below shows how much things have changed in almost a century and a half.
What’s a Gael?
The word Gael comes from the school’s ancestral founding back in 1940. The Irish-Catholic school emphasized old Gaelic traditions of Ireland. According to Iona’s website, “The Gael, which is depicted as a spunky character, provides Iona with a nickname consistent with the school motto, certa bonum certamen, (“fight a good fight”) and personifies strength.”
Manhattan enters the championship as a 6-seed in the tournament. They split the season series with the 3-seeded Gaels, who saw an exceptional performance by David Laury in the semifinals (20 points and 17 rebounds). Iona also features a scoring duo that has been one of the best in the conference all season. Sean Armand averages 17.1 points per game with his counterpart Lamont Jones averaging 23.5 points per game this year. Manhattan spreads the ball around a little more than Iona, which has led them to success this post-season. Can Masiello will his underdog team to an NCAA tournament birth in only his second season?
Clinched an NCAA Birth
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