NCAA Tournament – No. 14 Yale (19-9, 11-3 Ivy) vs. No. 3 Purdue (27-7, 14-6 Big Ten), Fri., 2 p.m. EST (TBS)
Yale’s third NCAA Tournament appearance in five opportunities begins in Milwaukee, where the Bulldogs will take on Purdue in the East Region. Yale was assigned the No. 56 overall seed in the tournament, resulting in this matchup at Fiserv Forum.
Purdue finished third in the Big Ten in the regular season behind Illinois and Wisconsin before falling in the Big Ten Tournament championship game to Penn alum Fran McCaffery-coached Iowa Sunday. The Boilermakers have one of the most potent offenses in the country according to KenPom, which ranks their adjusted offensive efficiency third nationally. KenPom rates their defense as far less impressive – 100th nationally. The Boilermakers have the fourth-highest three-point shooting percentage in the nation (39.1%), but Yale’s coming off an Ivy League Tournament final win over Princeton, which had the sixth-highest three-point shooting clip nationally going into the game. Purdue doesn’t force many turnovers, but it has length on its side as the 17th-tallest team in the country, per KenPom, which gives Yale a 11% chance of winning.
A Yale win would give it a matchup with the winner of No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 6 Texas.
National Invitation Tournament – No. 6 Princeton (23-6, 12-2 Ivy) at No. 3 Virginia Commonwealth (21-9, 14-4 Atlantic 10), Tues., 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
By virtue of its regular season championship, Princeton makes its first NIT appearance since 2016, when it suffered an 86-81 overtime defeat at Virginia Tech. The Tigers get VCU, which KenPom says has the fourth-highest adjusted defensive efficiency in the country. This matchup pits strength versus strength, with Princeton’s seventh-ranked three-point shooting attack going up against VCU’s third-ranked three-point defense. The Rams are turnover-prone and rely little on three-pointers themselves. KenPom gives Princeton a 26% chance of winning.
A Princeton win would yield a matchup with the winner of No. 7 Towson vs. No. 2 Wake Forest.
NCAA Tournament – No. 11 Princeton (24-4, 14-0 Ivy) vs. No. 6 Kentucky (19-11, 8-8 SEC), Sat., 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Somehow, the NCAA Selection Committee saw fit to assign the No. 24 team in the country a No. 11 seed. Egregiously underseeding the Ivy League’s representatives in the NCAA Tournament on the women’s side (even more so than on the men’s side) has become an annual tradition. The Tigers inexplicably got assigned a No. 8 seed after their undefeated 2014-15 regular season, so sadly, a No. 11 seed here is little surprise.
Pitting Princeton against Kentucky is becoming an annual tradition for the Selection Committee, too. The Tigers faced Kentucky in the first round of their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019, Courtney Banghart’s final game at Princeton’s helm. Three current Tigers, Kira Emsbo, Grace Stone and Lexi Weger were also on Princeton’s roster when it fell to Kentucky, 82-77, in the 2019 matchup. Now Carla Berube makes her NCAA Tournament debut as Princeton’s coach against the Wildcats, who can’t be pleased to be tasked with ending Princeton’s 17-game win streak. The game will be held in Bloomington, Ind. in the Bridgeport region.
A Princeton win would lead to a matchup against the winner of No. 14 Charlotte vs. No. 3 Indiana.
Women’s National Invitation Tournament – No. 6 Holy Cross vs. No. 3 Columbia, Wed., 7 p.m. (ESPN3/SNY)
Columbia (22-6) accepted an automatic invitation to the WNIT earned by coming in second place in the Ivy League in the regular season. Columbia will face Holy Cross Wednesday at Levien Gym.
The Crusaders (20-10, 14-4 Patriot League) won the Patriot conference title before getting upset by a Navy buzzer-beater in the league tournament title game. Columbia and Holy Cross have never faced each other before. The victor will square off against the winner of Old Dominion vs. Towson.