“I feel like a tiger right now. There”s nothing impossible if you get up and work for it.” – Michael Flatley
I include this quote from stepdancer Michael Flatley because coach Mitch Henderson could not have choreographed the start of the Tigers” season any better. Princeton is 4-0, the only remaining undefeated Ivy, thanks to an offense that has simply blown opponents away, even if the competition has been middling so far.
Princeton beat Fairleigh Dickinson, 91-61, Monday at Jadwin Gym, with junior forward Henry Caruso posting 27 points on 10-for-11 shooting in just 24 minutes, adding 10 rebounds for good measure. In the three games since Hans Brase was ruled out for the year with a torn ACL, Caruso is averaging 21 points per game on 22-for-28 shooting. Caruso is a guy who gets the shots that he wants and he deserves special mention here. But why else has Princeton been successful so far?
- The schedule (sort of)
Princeton”s fallen foes have been KenPom No. 193 Rider, No. 264 St. Peter”s, No. 248 Lafayette and No. 302 Fairleigh Dickinson. It”s a yawnful of cupcakes until you realize Princeton lost to Lafayette and St. Peter”s last year by a combined 31 points, and that was before the Tigers went on to notch nine Ivy League wins. Lafayette beat Penn, 92-86, just four days after getting throttled, 104-52, by Princeton, so go ahead and give the Tigers a few schedule-based style points anyway. The schedule does get nbso online casino reviews tougher – KenPom has Princeton losing four of its next seven games – but for now, Princeton has made fair nonconference competition look like Division III squads.
Last year, the Tigers ranked 143rd in the nation in adjusted tempo. This season, Princeton is 83rd, mainly because Princeton is cutting opponents” possessions short. Even though Princeton”s average offensive possession length is middle-of-the-road, its defensive possession length is 16th in the nation. Having the ball more frequently than your opponent is always a good thing.
Princeton ranks third in the nation in allowing offensive rebounds and 21st in effective field goal percentage. So far, the Tigers have shut opponents down and denied them any second chances.
3. Offensive depth
Eight Tigers are averaging eight points or more per game. A lot of garbage time has helped make that happen, but virtually anybody on this team can beat you, whether it”s Caruso cutting, Devin Cannady driving or Cook from three. Caruso, Cook and Miller have made up for Brase”s rebounding so far as well.
Tiger blood, baby. You either have it or you don”t, and so far, Princeton has it in more than name only.