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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Princeton Men's Hoops: The Chariot Turned Back into a Pumpkin This Weekend

Princeton's men's basketball team proved this weekend that their still a work in progress, as the Tigers lost badly at both Yale and Brown this weekend, falling to 4-2 in the Ivies. A loyal reader e-mailed me with "Ouch!", and that just about said it all. The PBN blog has all the (gory -- thankfully not Adam Gore-y) details from the weekend. Suffice it to say that this young Tigers' club has to figure out how to string together victories, especially road victories. All Tiger fans are still happy with the 4-2 start for the program in league play, as we realized that it was a long shot to expect the team to go from 6-23 to an Ivy championship in a single season. That said, this weekend's results were disappointing in the size of the margins of defeat and the fact that Brown won only its first league game when they beat the Tigers last night. Meanwhile, Penn won both of its games on the road to improve to 3-3 in the Ivies, while Columbia now stands at 5-3 and Cornell, twice victorious, stands at 7-1.

Sure, the Ivies aren't heralded as that tough a conference when compared to the majors, but the Ivy schedule -- of many weekends of back-to-back games in small gyms -- is as grueling as any league's. Other conferences have Friday/Sunday or Thursday/Saturday schedules, but the Ivies play on back-to-back nights to avoid disrupting class schedules for players. Penn's two victories at Yale and Brown are impressive in their own right, especially because the Quakers are missing several key players because of injuries and hadn't played all that well up until this weekend.

Tuesday night's game in Jadwin Gym will pit two teams who had opposite performances this weekend. Penn will go into the game fresh off two wins that should renew their confidence, while Princeton will show up wondering which team they are -- the team that took it to Cornell and Columbia at home or the team that faltered on the road. Penn certainly goes into Jadwin as the more confident team, but both teams go into the game with much at stake and still a lot to prove -- to themselves and to the rest of the league. Penn can't afford to suffer its fourth league loss and fall 3 games behind Cornell, while Princeton needs to stop its slide and stay within 2 games of Cornell. It should be quite a battle, as Penn-Princeton games should be for the good of the league.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the Tiger orange as a pumpkin rolling home in the black of night! (Sorry)

But hey, let's not forget that Penn got smacked at the the Palestra by Cornell and Columbia (the first sweep at home in 41 years!) who were both major Tiger victories/victims.

On the other hand, Boston College has now beaten both UNC and Duke despite losing to Harvard! The "go figure" serendipity factor is of course in part what keep college hoops fun.

I wasn't aware of any Penn starters being injured. Please inform if you can.

Bernardini, and now Gaines and Rosen have emerged as the go to guys.

The outcome of the Tues P and P game is more unpredictable than ever.


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