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Friday, February 26, 2016

Can the Princeton Tigers do it?

The Tigers are a half game out of the Ivy lead in men's basketball with three games to play, all home games.  Tonight, they'll take on a tough Columbia team whom they beat a few weeks ago in a come-from-behind game that was decided in overtime.  Cornell is next, and should Columbia not exhaust the Tigers or the Tigers look past them to the finale against Penn, Princeton should beat the Big Red.  If the Tigers were to win those two games (and assuming that Yale, without its captain and point guard Jack Montague, who withdrew from school the other day, defeats Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend), then the Tigers would need a win against their arch-rival Penn Quakers on Tuesday night, March 8 (and you might recall a few years back when the Quakers, led by their outstanding guard, Zach Rosen, visited Jadwin needing in a win to force an Ivy playoff, only to have a so-so Tigers team shellac them that night).  Put differently, it's usually tough to predict what will happen in a game against an arch-rival, and Penn gave the Tigers all that they could handle early this year at the Palestra.

It is exciting to watch the Tigers, and inspiring given that they lost their center, Hans Brase, before the season.  But as good teams and programs know, an injury to a key player creates opportunities for others.  The Tigers are a team of small forwards and guards.  Centers Pete Miller and Alec Brennan have their moments, but they are not at Brase's level.  Forward Henry Caruso is a hammer with a velvet touch, a determined slasher who can shoot the ball.  Swingman Spencer Weisz is similar although less physical.  Small forward Steve Cook is more of a finesse player, but a deadly shooter, and guards Amir Bell and Devin Cannady can play lights out on an given night.  Cannady's performances have been so good that it is not too much of a reach to think that before he graduates he will be among the Tigers' top five all-time scorers.

First things first, of course, and that means defeating the Columbia Lions tonight.  The Princeton Athletic Department is calling for an "orange out" tonight, and it should be electric in Jadwin Gym.


Anonymous George Clark said...

The Tigers did it. You have overlooked the two road games remaining at Harvard and Dartmouth. Harvard's center missed the first game at Jadwin and the Big Green stunned Yale a year ago (and almost again) when the Bulldogs needed to hold on for 2.1 seconds. But I like our chances to get to a playoff at The Cathedral with Yale in two weeks. You won't want to miss it, Sportsprof.

4:05 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks, George, and, you're right, I missed the two road games. I was at the Harvard and Yale games. Harvard's younger bigs struggled and their frosh PG, who is not physically imposing, played well. That game will be a challenge, and, what the heck, it's always a tough road trip for whatever reason -- distance, small gyms. Yale is winning w/o its point guard and has had a few games to adjust to life without him. Columbia will be a tough test for them, though, because the fill-ins at PG for Yale struggled against Princeton and could do the same against the Lions. And then, of course, there's Penn, against whom the Tigers struggled on the road and would love to knock the Tigers out. Exciting times.

12:22 PM  
Blogger John Gibson said...

The Princeton Tigers can always do it. I am sure about it. They will always rock in games. All the best Princeton tigers
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1:35 AM  

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