We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We did the Crimson next because, hey, it”s their dynasty.
When Harvard players awoke on the morning of March 5, 2011, they were part of a basketball program that had never won an Ivy League basketball championship. That night, however, they would have a chance to make history. One win over Princeton would give the Crimson their first title and bury the demons of the past 50 years.
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.
The theme for Saturday night’s visit by the Columbia Lions to Jadwin Gym was “HISTORY.”
The Tiger faithful gathered to celebrate history, honoring at halftime the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Final Four team, captained by the incomparable Bill Bradley. Sensing the significance of the occasion, Columbia’s Maodo “The Chairman” Lo determined to make a little history of his own. More on that below.
The 1965 Tigers reached the Final Four in an Eastern Regional matchup facing the Providence Friars at their place. The night before the final, the Friars celebrated their win in the semis by cutting down the nets in what remains the most egregious example of early chicken counting in this writer’s memory. (The back-slapping of James Jones and his staff in the last minute at Harvard Friday night is a recent contender.) Stung by the snub, the Tigers thrashed the Friars, 109-69. A request for the previous evening’s nets was declined.
The Princeton brand took another body blow last night in New Haven, rekindling memories of the shocking collapse two seasons ago. At that time, the Tigers entered the final full weekend of the year needing a sweep to clinch another Ivy title or just one win to force a playoff with eventual winner Harvard. A shocking upset Friday night at Yale, followed by a listless walk-through at Brown the next night, sent the Tigers home with its season in tatters. That team voted to stay home in the postseason, turning down overtures from the CBI and CIT.
The stakes were not nearly as high this year as the Tigers embarked on the annual dogsled trip to New Haven and Providence. The young Tigers were aiming to leave a calling card at Payne Whitney, showing coach James Jones and the Bulldogs what they might have to face in the years to come.
If, in fact, that is what happened, you could not blame Jones if he let loose with a few guffaws after the dud Mitch Henderson lobbed his way.
Noah Savage (@yoitsthesav), comedian, broadcaster and color commentator for the Princeton men’s basketball team, previews the conference slate and how the Ivies stack up halfway through the first full Ivy weekend of 2014-15:
The men’s Ivy League basketball teams are already half way through their schedule and you haven’t paid any attention at all. But don’t worry. There’s still time to catch up since the preconference schedule is almost completely irrelevant in the Ivy League where the regular season champion receives a bid to the NCAA tournament. Now that we’re still just halfway through the first full Ivy weekend of the season, here’s a quick cheat sheet for each team – plus a few of my own predictions – to help you catch up: