Princeton Athletics announced the 2018-2019 schedules for its men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Men’s key nonconference games:
11/16/18 at Lehigh
Princeton (13-16 overall; 5-9 Ivy) will be looking to avenge last season’s 85-76 defeat at Jadwin when they travel to Bethlehem. The Mountain Hawks, which was 16-14 overall and 11-7 (tied for third) in the Patriot League, is predicted, by Bart Torvik, to be the No. 197 team in the nation and the top team in its conference in ’18-’19. Lehigh will look to second team All-Patriot senior guard Lance Tejada (14.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 2.0 apg) and junior forward Pat Andres (12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) to lead the way.
12/9/18 at St. John’s
The Tigers will play St. John’s at the MSG Holiday Festival, which is the team’s first trip back to the “world’s most famous arena” since the 2000 Holiday Classic. The last time Princeton played the Johnnies was December of 1982, when St. John’s was #9 in the nation and Lou Carnesecca’s team defeated Pete Carril’s Tigers 58-46 at Alumni Hall. The Red Storm, now led by Hall of Famer Chris Mullin (a sophomore on the ’82-’83 team), are projected to be the No. 135 team in the country and eighth in the Big East by Mr. Torvik. St. John’s returns junior guard Shamorie Ponds (21.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 4.7 apg), who was first team All-Big East, honorable mention All-America and the Big East’s leading scorer.
12/15/18 vs Iona
Princeton will meet Iona as one fourth of the inaugural Hoophall Boardwalk Classic in Atlantic City. Last season, the Gaels were 20-14 overall and 11-7 in the MAAC. For the third straight season, Iona won the league’s postseason tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Duke in the first round. Iona will be led by second team All-MAAC senior guard Ricky McGill (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, and 5.6 apg) in ’18-’19. According to Torvik’s predictions, the Gaels are ranked No. 106 in the land and regular season champions of the MAAC.
12/18/18 at Duke
The Orange and Black will visit Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the Blue Devils for the first time since a 97-60 loss to the then-No. 1 team in the nation on Nov. 14, 2000. The Dukies lost its entire starting lineup from its 29-8 (13-5 ACC) team, including Marvin Begley III, Wendell Carter and Grayson Allen. However, the arrival of three of the best players in the incoming class of 2018 (R. J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish, and Zion Williamson) will place Coach K and his team in the preseason top five and the upper echelon of the ACC.
12/29/18 at Arizona State
The Tigers will be facing the Sun Devils for only the second time, with the first being a 61-42 loss at the 2017 Maui Tournament. Bobby Hurley’s team, which went 20-12 (8-10 Pac-12) and lost in the First Four to Syracuse, is projected to be in the Top 20 and near the top of the Pac-12 leader board in ’18-’19. Arizona State’s top returning player is redshirt sophomore forward Romello White (10.5 ppg and 7.1 per game). This is the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams, with the return match at Jadwin next season.
Men’s key conference games
1/5/19 vs Penn; 1/12/19 at Penn
Princeton and Penn (24-8 overall; 12-2 Ivy) will be playing each other twice in a one week period for the first time since the end of the 1995-96 season. At that time, the Quakers defeated the Tigers at the Palestra on Mar. 5 and Princeton, in what would turn out to be Pete Carril’s last season as coach, beat Penn in overtime at Lehigh on Mar. 9 to take the league’s NCAA Tournament bid. The last time the two teams played both regular season games in January was 1977.
The Tigers lost both games to the regular season co-champs and Ivy Tournament winners last season, 76-70 on the road and 82-65 at home. Before that, Princeton had won the last eight games against Penn, which was the longest streak in their storied rivalry. With Penn’s loss of guards Darnell Foreman and Caleb Wood, as well as the arrival of four-star (ESPN) point guard Jaelin Llewellyn at Princeton, next year’s games should be closer as the programs battle it out for spots in the third men’s Ivy Tournament.
2/8/19 at Yale; 3/9/19 vs Yale
Adding the returning junior forward Jordan Bruner to a experienced team that lost only one senior who played significant minutes in 2017-18, Yale (16-15 overall; 9-5 Ivy) is expected to improve on last year’s third place finish. With Princeton expected to be stronger than its was last year, the two games between the recent Ivy champs (Yale 2015, 2016 and Princeton 2017) should be pivotal in the Ivy title and tournament races. The second match at Princeton on the last night of the regular season, could be a play-in game, a contest for seeding, or a preview of the next week’s Ivy Madness semifinal. Last year, Princeton and Yale were closely matched with both games going into overtime. In early February, the Tigers beat the Bulldogs 76-74 at Jadwin, while Yale got the 94-90 victory in New Haven on the last night of the regular season.
2/15/19 vs Harvard; 3/2/19 at Harvard
With another strong recruiting class and the expected return of Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken from injuries, the Crimson (18-13 overall; 12-2 Ivy) are expected to be the favorite for the Ivy title in 2019. Princeton will look to claim its first wins over the defending regular season co-champions since their undefeated 2017 season. Last year, the Tigers lost game one on the road, 66-51, on Feb. 9, three nights after facing Penn. They lost the return Feb. 23 contest in overtime, 72-66. With games against the Quakers on two Saturdays in January this year, the Tigers should be well rested when they welcome the Crimson in mid-February. Like the second game against Yale, the contest in March could have many postseason implications.
Women’s key nonconference games:
11/22/18 vs DePaul (Cancun Challenge, Mexico)
DePaul finished 27-8 overall (23rd in the nation) and tied for first in the Big East with a 15-3 conference record. After winning the Big East Tournament, the Blue Devils were a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beating No. 12 Oklahoma in the first round and losing to No. 4 Texas A&M in the second. Two first team All-Big East players, junior guard Kelly Campbell (10.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game) and senior forward Mart’e Grays (14.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game) will be back in 2018-19.
11/23/18 vs Syracuse (Cancun Challenge, Mexico)
The Orange were 22-9 overall and 10-6 in the ACC. After losing in the second round of the ACC Tournament, Syracuse was given a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost in the first round to No. 9 Oklahoma State. After spending in the Top 25, they just missed that group by season’s end. They will return junior guard Tiana Mangahkahia, the first team All-ACC player from Australia who averaged 17.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and a nation-best 9.8 assists per game. She will be joined by sophomore Digna Strautmane, a forward from Latvia who had 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in her ACC All-Freshman rookie campaign.
11/24/18 vs Kansas State (Cancun Challenge, Mexico)
Kansas State was 18-16 overall and 7-11 in the Big 12. Earning an at-large bid to the WNIT, the Wildcats beat St. Louis and Utah before losing to UC-Davis in the third round. Senior guard Kayla Goth was named to the All-Big 12 second team on the strength of her 17.5 points, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Junior forward Peyton Williams was named honorable mention All-Big 12 with 14,7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest.
11/28/18 at Villanova
The Wildcats completed the 2017-2018 season 23-9 overall, 12-6 in the Big East and 3-1 in the Big Five. They ended the regular season third place in the Big East and co-champs (with Penn) of the Big Five. Villanova, a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beat No. 8 South Dakota State in round one and lost in the second round to eventual national champion Notre Dame. Although missing out on the Top 25 at year’s end, they were ranked No. 24 when they beat Princeton, 62-59, at Jadwin on Nov. 29. For the upcoming season, ‘Nova returns junior forward Mary Gedaka (11.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game), who was chosen All-Big East honorable mention and sixth woman of the year, and junior guard Kelly (11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game).
12/8/18 vs Quinnipiac
In the spring of 2017, Quinnipiac made it into the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion South Carolina. Last year, the Bobcats finished 28-6 overall, 18-0 in the MAAC regular season, and 3-0 in the conference tournament. As a No. 9 seed in the Big Dance, they beat Miami for the second consecutive year, before losing to No. 1 UConn 86-72. At home, they were 12-1 on the year, with its one defeat coming to Princeton 60-46 on Dec. 9. Quinnipiac will be returning two first team All-MAAC players in 2018-19, redshirt senior forward Jen Fay (13.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game) and senior wing Aryn McClure (12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game).
Women’s key conference games:
1/5/19 vs Penn; 2/26 at Penn
Either the Tigers (24-6 overall; 12-2 Ivy) or the Quakers (21-8 overall; 11-3 Ivy) have won the last nine Ivy championship, and Princeton looks to be the favorite heading into the 2018-19 campaign. Despite losing three starters from last year’s second place team, Penn, which has had five straight seasons of 11 or more Ivy wins, still has Rookie of the Year Eleah Parker and should continue to be a serious contender for a spot in the postseason tournament.
As opposed to the men, the two teams will not complete their home-and-home in January. While the Tuesday night game in February is always a challenge, both teams should be rested after playing Friday and Saturday games against two lower division programs, Columbia and Cornell, at home. Last year, the Tigers won all three games in convincing fashion, taking the conference opener, 70-55, at the Palestra, the return game at Jadwin, 60-40, and the Ivy Tournament championship on Penn’s home court, 63-34.
2/8/19 vs Yale; 3/9/19 at Yale
In 2017-2018, Yale (19-13 overall; 8-6 Ivy) finished in the upper division of the Ancient Eight for the first time since 2015 and earned its first-ever spot in the Ivy Tournament. The Bulldogs made it into the WBI Tournament and won four straight to earn the first ever championship for an Ivy women’s program. The Bulldogs are another team that will lose significant numbers from its starting lineup, but the arrival of Camilla Emsbo, a Top-50 recruit (ESPN), should keep the Bulldogs in the discussion for another trip to Ivy Madness.
In early February, Yale beat Princeton in New Haven in the teams’ first meeting of the year. The 73-59 loss, which happened on the Tigers return to play from their three week finals break, was the team’s first conference defeat. In the second game, which was played at Princeton on the last night of the regular season, the Bulldogs came in with an outside chance at claiming the third seed. Tied at the half, the Tigers pulled away late in the fourth quarter to win by 11, 64-53. In the conference tournament at the Palestra one week later, Princeton dominated the Bulldogs 78-57.
2/15/19 at Harvard; 3/2/19 vs Harvard
With 15 straight seasons in the league’s top three and the return of most of the players from last year’s third place team, Harvard (18-11 overall, 10-4 Ivy) looks to be in a good position to challenge for a spot in the Ivy Tournament, as well as the league title. Princeton will get Harvard at the renovated Lavietes Pavilion in the first go-around, where the Crimson went 12-0 last season. At Cambridge in late February, Harvard pushed the Tigers around in the second half to win by 14, 72-58. In the first game in Jadwin two weeks earlier, things were drastically different as Princeton crushed the the Crimson by 33 points, 80-47.