Heading into the 2016-17 season, many experts predicted that the Princeton Tigers would win the Ivy League title due to its senior leadership. It was hard to bet against a team that would be starting Spencer Weisz, Steven Cook, Hans Brase, and Henry Caruso. When Brase and Caruso went down with season-ending injuries early in 2016, there was cause for concern. A slow start from starting guard Amir Bell only added to the growing worries for the Tigers. However, the arrival of Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens into the starting lineup righted the ship and had the Tigers in great position heading into the Ivy schedule. With first-team All-Ivy performances from Weisz (Ivy League Player of the Year), Cook (IHO Player of the Year), and Stephens (Ivy and IHO Defensive Player of the Year), along with strong performances from Cannady (Ivy and IHO Honorable Mention) and Bell, Princeton ran through the league with a 14-0 record, winning the regular season title by four games over Harvard.
Some Wake Forest fans must have thought the Demon Deacons had Jaelin Llewellyn.
Llewellyn is a four-star ESPN recruit whose father Cordell played with Wake Forest, as well as Rhode Island.
But last month, Llewellyn chose Princeton over the likes of Wake Forest, Virginia, Purdue, Cincinnati, Florida and Ohio State, less than seven weeks after he gave an interview to Phenom Hoops Report in which he did not include Princeton in the 11 teams expressing strong interest in him (although he did include Harvard).
The Tigers that season went 25-3 and 13-1 in Ivy play, beating No. 2 UNC at fabled Carmichael Arena. They blew out the second-best Rutgers team ever, led by All-American Bob Lloyd and Jim Valvano, on the road and came within a hair of beating Carolina again, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing 78-70 in overtime, after beating West Virginia in the first round. They came back to blast a very strong St. John’s team in the Regional consolation game, rising as high as No. 3 in the polls and finished No. 5.
Hans Brase is going to be a Cyclone.
Brase has committed to Iowa State, the Des Moines Register reported Friday. Brase had suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries in 2015-16 and 2016-17 at Princeton, including a torn ACL in 2015.
The Clover, S.C. native, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during his 93 contests as a Tiger.
— Spencer Weisz (@S_Weisz973) May 12, 2017
Princeton had what it wanted: sophomore sharpshooter and Indiana native Devin Cannady launching an open three-pointer from the left wing for a chance to beat Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center.
Cannady’s high-arcing trey rimmed out, though, and the Fighting Irish hung on for a 60-58 victory, ending a remarkable Princeton (23-7, 14-0 Ivy) season that in the regular season culminated in winning the inaugural Ivy League men’s basketball tournament.
After years of debating and voting on the efficacy of an Ivy League Tournament, the first one is in the books.
And it certainly has engendered much discussion amongst the Ivy faithful, given its prominence on the ESPN family of networks this past weekend (ESPNU for the semifinals and ESPN2 for the final).
From a national perspective, not so much, despite the fact that the venerable college basketball writer John Feinstein was one of the media members in attendance for the Saturday session. With that said, here is an attempt to grade the event in different categories:
Just moments after his Yale Bulldogs were eliminated by the Princeton Tigers in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, James Jones faced a contingent of media reps seeking his analysis of the tourney final.
Jones does not parse his words. He said that during a timeout in the second half, called to halt the gathering Tiger momentum, he noticed on the stat sheet that Myles Stephens, the Tiger sophomore, had scored 18 points. He turned to an assistant and asked, “How did that happen? That’s the quietest 18 points I have ever seen.” He described Stephens as “the silent assassin.”
Last year, Yale got to play a team in Baylor just like it in the NCAA Round of 64, one reliant on veteran bigs and offensive rebounding.
This year, the Princeton Tigers (23-6, 14-0 Ivy) get a NCAA opponent that mirrors themselves too.
No. 1 Penn bested No. 2 Princeton, 57-48, at the Palestra Sunday, handing the Quakers the Ivy League Tournament title and their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the past four seasons.
Penn (21-7, 13-1) used a 14-4 second quarter advantage to create separation between itself and the Tigers (16-12, 9-5), who shot just 18-for-64 (28.1 percent) from the floor.
The Red and Blue were led by Michelle Nwokedi, who posted 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Anna Ross, who notched 17 points. Pacing the Tigers were Bella Alarie, who contributed 11 points and 11 boards, and Leslie Robinson, who registered nine points in 27 minutes of play.
Penn swept its three meetings with Princeton this season and has won its last five matchups with the Tigers.
Penn will hold a NCAA Tournament Selection Monday watch party at the Palestra. Doors to the Palestra will open at 6:15 p.m., and admission will be free to all for the show beginning at 7 p.m.
Less than four hours after Princeton defeated Yale to clinch in the Ivy League Tournament final to clinch its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011, the Tigers (23-6, 14-0 Ivy) learned they will play Notre Dame (25-9, 12-6 ACC) in the NCAA first round Thursday in Buffalo, in the West region.
The matchup will tip off at 12:15 p.m. on CBS, with Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce on the call, per Matt Norlander of CBS Sports.
The Tigers’ last NCAA Tournament victory came in 1998, when they defeated UNLV in the Big Dance as a No. 5 seed.
Princeton’s last NCAA Tournament appearance six years ago was a 59-57 first-round loss to Kentucky as a No. 13 seed.
Like Princeton, Notre Dame prefers to play a slower pace and shoot a lot of three-pointers, and the Fighting Irish rank first in the nation in free throw percentage and 16th in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Notre Dame lost to North Carolina in the Elite 8 last season at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, and the Fighting Irish also made the Elite 8 the previous season.
Notre Dame is led by junior forward Bonzie Colson, who has averaged 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, junior guard and Bridgewater, N.J. native Matt Farrell, who has contributed 14.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, senior forward V.J. Beachem and his 15.0 points and 4.1 rebounds, and senior guard and Medford, N.J. Steve Vasturia and his 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
The Fighting Irish are 9-8 against top 60 KenPom competition and are ranked No. 25 in KenPom. Princeton is ranked No. 59 by KenPom.