Now that you’ve watched Doug Davis’ shot from a dozen different angles (instruct me in the Douglas!) and contemplated the cool name of Ian Hummer ’13 (objective view: fairly cool, but nothing to write home about), it’s time to get serious. NIT? Thanks, but no thanks. CBI? Don’t call us, we’ll call you. We’re talking the Big Dance, ladies and gentlemen. Or rather, the Big Dances. We’re less than 24 hours from tip-off, and the Tigers have not one but TWO teams in the NCAA tournament. We’re breaking down what to watch for, what to expect, and how to savor the sweet, sweet runs of the twin Tiger squads.
Princeton Women’s Basketball
2010-2011 Rec0rd: 24-2
First Round Game: #5 Georgetown, College Park, MD @ 2:50 p.m. on Sunday
Broadcast: ESPN2 or ESPN3 Simulcast
Yeah yeah, it’s the men and their late season heroics that are getting all the attention, and the SportsCenter Top Tens, etc., etc. But we’re starting with the Lady Tigers because this tournament trip for them is about more than just beating Harvard — it’s about a chance to make a real run and maybe even win a game or two.
This is the second straight year the women have won the Ivy League and earned themselves an NCAA tournament bid, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that they had never been to the tournament before last year. But to make the jump from “great Ivy League team” to just “great team,” period, the women need to prove themselves against five seed Georgetown, playing in what essentially is a home game in Baltimore, just a bit north of their D.C. stomping grounds. And they’ll have to do it without Niveen Rasheed ’13, who Princeton lost for the season after an ACL injury in December. Still, head coach Courtney Banghart (another cool name!) seemed cool and confident in an interview with The Trentonian: “We are in it to win the game.” The long-term chances might not be great for the women (they’re in the same region as #1 UConn…), but any win would be huge. Go get ‘em!
Princeton Men’s Basketball
2010-2011 Rec0rd: 25-6
First Round Game: #4 Kentucky, Tampa, FL @ 2:45 p.m. on Thursday
No matter how the tournament works out, the 2010-2011 season will always be remembered for the Pump ‘n’ Jump that sent the Tigers to the Tourney. The men’s team hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2004. And they face some steep opposition in four seed Kentucky. But harken to the wisdom of Kareem Maddox ’11, Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and personal folk hero, speaking on the Tigers’ matchup against the Wildcats: “We’ll be the wildest cats there.” And remember: the last time Princeton was a 13 seed was 1996, when the Tigers — including a sprightly Sydney Johnson, now the coach of the men’s team — stunned #4 UCLA, the defending champions. So don’t lose hope! After all, we’ve got TigerBlood.
And the good news for the Tigers? Well, according to the folks running the Payscale.com bracket, of all the schools in the tournament, Princeton wins when it comes to potential earning after college, defeating Georgetown in the final, $102,000 to $94,900. So, at the risk of pushing the douche-o-meter all the way up to 11, at least we’ve got that going for us.