Princeton all-time moment No. 4: 1997-98 Ivy champions

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where Joseph Stalin’s daughter defected to. In Soviet Russia as in the United States, Princeton offense runs you!

Bill Carmody, an honorary member of the Class of 1975, joined Pete Carril’s staff in 1982. He spent the next 14 productive and mostly glorious seasons watching and learning. When Carril decided to retire after winning his final Ivy title on a heart-stopping three pointer by Sydney Johnson in a playoff against Penn (who else?), he made it known that no one was better qualified to succeed him than Bill Carmody.

Bill’s all too-brief four year tenure as head coach was among the most dominant periods ever in the long history of Tiger hoops. His overall record was 92-25. In the Ivy League he was 50-6, including a remarkable 28-0 in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 4: 1997-98 Ivy champions

Princeton all-time moment No. 5: NIT champions

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because it”s approximately equidistant from Philadelphia and New York, two cities that just love Tiger basketball.

Most fans of college basketball are far too young to remember when the National Invitation Tournament meant something. When it began, New York City was considered the center of the basketball universe and Madison Square Garden the game’s spiritual home. In the years before March Madness and the expanded tournament field, the NIT was accorded a large measure of respect and prestige. By 1975, the NCAA tournament field was 32 teams, the largest it had ever been but less than half of what it is today. The quality of teams available and willing to participate in the NIT was high indeed.

On the whole, the decade of the 1970s may well have been the Golden Age for Tiger basketball, as Pete Carril was able to recruit well enough to produce 11 players who reached the pro ranks in those years. His 1974-75 squad got off to a lackluster start, and, after a one-point loss at Brown, stood at a mediocre 9-8. They casino online would not lose again, notching an impressive win at Virginia on the only occasion in his career when Carril was ejected from the premises for displaying antipathy toward the ACC officiating crew. A 12-2 Ivy record fell one game short of the 13-1 mark compiled by the Quakers, rendering the Tigers an obvious choice for a trip to the Garden.

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 5: NIT champions

Princeton all-time moment No. 6: Bill Bradley enters the Hall of Fame

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where Aaron Burr is from and it’s been a bad week for Alexander Hamilton.

In the winter and spring of 1961, Bill Bradley of Crystal City, Mo., sifted through 75 scholarship offers to play basketball in college before deciding to accept the one from … Duke. Believing Princeton offered him a better chance to prepare for a foreign service career, Bradley made a late change in plans and enrolled at Old Nassau in September 1961. He received no financial aid. Fortunately, one of the important influences in young Bradley’s life was the Tiger Heisman Trophy recipient, Dick Kazmaier, whose number 42 Bradley proudly wore throughout his Tiger years.

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 6: Bill Bradley enters the Hall of Fame

Princeton all-time moment No. 7: Goliath defeats David … barely

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where John Stockton was born. You know, New Jersey’s attorney general from 1877 to 1897.

The Tigers’ epic struggle as a No. 16 seed against the overall No. 1 seed Georgetown Hoyas in the 1989 NCAA Tournament simply must be included on this list. It is rather unusual to include a loss, and a heartbreaking one at that, on a highlight list. In the larger context of college basketball, however, it is almost impossible to overstate the significance of this contest. Last year, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the game, two extremely talented writers, Sean Gregory of Time Magazine and Alex Wolff of Sports Illustrated, chronicled the game. Gregory is a former Tiger player and Wolff has written, among other books, Big Game, Small World. We urge you to read “The Game that Saved March Madness”.

Princeton all-time moment No. 8: The last hurrah

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where House was set.

By the 2010-11 season, the Ivy League landscape had undergone a radical transformation, the extent of which could be anticipated if not clearly perceived. One thing was clear: The historical domination by Penn and Princeton, which had extended well into the previous decade, was no longer. Cornell, coached by Steve Donahue and led by the remarkable Ryan Wittman, won three straight titles, capped by a stirring run to the Sweet Sixteen, and thereby moved the axis of power northward. Tommy Amaker, a power conference wolf in the Ivy League henhouse, threatened to move it even further.

A product of the ultimate big-time program as a player, and after some stops along the coaching trail at Michigan and Seton Hall, Amaker arrived in Cambridge with his controversy-laden baggage. He was hired to do one thing: WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. Supported by his administration and a booster organization with unlimited resources and the willingness to deploy them, Amaker set about to install a machine that would set the league pace for years to come. By 2010, Amaker’s recruiting methods were producing skilled players in numbers unprecedented in Cambridge. Could anyone stop the inevitable?

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 8: The last hurrah

Princeton all-time moment No. 9 – A most unlikely title

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where Superfudge is set.

As the new century dawned, cataclysmic changes were occurring in Jadwin Gymnasium. In the spring of 2000,Tiger center Chris Young signed a contract to play professional baseball, thus ending his eligibility for Ivy athletics. (In 2015, he signed on with the Kansas City Royals, continuing an impressive career as a big league starter.)

In June, first assistant coach Joe Scott took the head job at the Air Force Academy. Later in the summer, Bill Carmody departed for the top spot at Northwestern. Almost by default, John Thompson lll emerged from the Carril Cradle to assume the role of head coach.

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 9 – A most unlikely title

Princeton all-time moment No. 10 – The Comeback

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We’re starting with Princeton because that’s where Hoagie Haven is.

10. THE COMEBACK, FEBRUARY 9, 1999

To most observers, Ivy League basketball in the 20th century was not much more than an annual ritual the purpose of which was to crown either Penn or Princeton as champions. Naturally, the annual home and home series between these two combatants developed into the fiercest rivalry in collegiate basketball. None was more intense … and none was as much fun.

Read morePrinceton all-time moment No. 10 – The Comeback

Reunions celebration reveals updates for Princeton

Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson met with fans, friends and alumni Friday at Robertson Hall during Princeton’s recent annual Reunions celebration. The freewheeling Q&A session touched on a number of timely topics which may be of interest to IHO readers. Henderson introduced a new member of his staff, Donovan Williams, who spent the past five seasons learning his craft as a member of Fran O’Hanlon’s Lafayette staff. Williams fills the spot vacated by Marcus Jenkins, who rejoins Tiger alum Chris Mooney at Richmond.

Read moreReunions celebration reveals updates for Princeton

Wesley Saunders makes all the right plays … again

Wesley Saunders took over in the most critical half of the 2015 Ivy slate, reeling off a 9-0 run early in the second stanza and dishing the game-winning assist to fellow senior Steve Moundou-Missi. (Getty)
Wesley Saunders took over in the most critical half of the 2015 Ivy slate, reeling off a 9-0 run early in the second stanza and dishing the game-winning assist to fellow senior Steve Moundou-Missi. (Getty)

For a Pennsylvanian, albeit one with steadfast Tiger loyalties, The Palestra has always been college basketball’s showcase arena. May it ever be!!! Yesterday’s Ivy League playoff adds another memorable chapter to The Cathedral’s legendary history.

The announced attendance of 5,266 was far less than a capacity crowd, evidently diminished by bad weather and long-distance travel hurdles. But one must remember that this was easily the largest crowd to see an Ivy League game in several seasons.

The pregame mood was festive, but somewhat apprehensive as everyone understood that they were about to witness another hard fought, hand-to-hand street-fight likely to come down to the final possession, what Yogi Berra famously described as  “a real cliff-dweller.” This game delivered, in spades.

Read moreWesley Saunders makes all the right plays … again

How Princeton poured it on at the Palestra

Mitch Henderson improved to 74-46 (.617) as Princeton's head coach with the Tigers' regular season-closing win over Penn. (goprincetontigers.com)
Mitch Henderson improved to 74-46 (.617) as Princeton’s head coach with the Tigers’ regular season-closing win over Penn. (goprincetontigers.com)

Last night’s swan song for Jerome Allen did not follow the script his legion of admirers hoped to see. The ousted coach surely went out the door with class, appearing on the bench in his Penn letter sweater, evoking memories of his heroic exploits on the court, a dramatic statement of loyalty and roots.

The standing ovation, a spontaneous reaction to his introduction as head coach for the final time, while surely not unexpected, provoked an emotional response. Allen sat hunched over while the applause cascaded over him, self-consciously fiddling with his left ankle, gathering himself.

His boss, new Penn Athletic Director Grace Calhoun, sat across the court from the team bench, occupying a prominent seat on press row, very much in charge. I sat in Calhoun’s seat for the women’s game, courtesy of her. She did oust me for the men’s game, but it was better for her to be visible.

Read moreHow Princeton poured it on at the Palestra