Three thoughts about the 2023-24 schedule for Princeton men’s basketball

Coming off an appearance in the Sweet 16 in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Princeton men’s basketball has announced its schedule for the upcoming season.  The Tigers will play a slate of 13 nonconference games against Rutgers, Hofstra, Duquesne, Monmouth, Old Dominion, Northeastern, Bucknell, Furman, Drexel, St. Joseph’s, Bryn Athyn, Delaware Valley and Delaware.  Princeton’s 14-game Ivy League schedule begins on Jan. 6, 2024, at home against Harvard.  

Here are three thoughts about the schedule and opponents awaiting the two-time defending Ivy League champions:  

  1. Staying in the neighborhood While conference realignment is making cross-country travel the norm for a growing number of power-five programs, Princeton decided to go in a very different direction with its schedule for the upcoming season.  All 27 games on the Tigers’ schedule will be played in the eastern time zone, with the vast majority taking place in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.  The Tigers likely won’t be using air travel for any regular season game in 2023-24, nor will they be playing in an in-season tournament.  In contrast, last season Princeton traveled overseas to play in and win the inaugural London Basketball Classic.
  2. Road warriors once again.  The Tigers won’t play a home game at Jadwin Gym until their sixth contest of the season, on November 25 against Northeastern.  Of their 11 nonconference clashes against Division I opponents, only three are at home.  As challenging as this may seem, the Tigers are accustomed to playing the majority of their nonconference games on the road.  Last season, for example, Princeton played only four Division I nonconference opponents at home.  
  3. Renewing old acquaintances.  There are several intriguing matchups on the schedule for Princeton early in the season, and none is more exciting than the season opener against Rutgers on November 6 at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J.  

The matchup against Rutgers renews one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball.  Princeton and Rutgers first met on the hardwood in 1917 and have played a total of 120 times.  The Tigers own 75 wins in the series compared to only 45 for the Scarlet Knights.  After losing at home to Princeton during the 2013-14 season, Rutgers put an end to the annual series.  Princeton coach Mitch Henderson and his Rutgers counterpart, Steve Pikiell, deserve credit for finding a way to revive this venerable rivalry.  

Another old rivalry will be sparked back to life when Princeton plays St. Joseph’s on December 10 at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia.  The Tigers and Hawks have squared off 18 times since they first met in 1944, with the latter winning 10 of those contests.  However, the two teams haven’t clashed since 2018, when the Hawks defeated the Tigers at Jadwin, 92-82.  One of the most notable contests between these two rivals took place in the semifinals of the 1961 Eastern Regional of the NCAA Tournament.  St. Joseph’s won the game 72-67 en route to its only appearance in the Final Four. 

Perhaps the most interesting non-conference matchup for Princeton will take place on December 2 against Furman at Jadwin Gym.  The Paladins, like Princeton, played the role of Cinderella last season, upsetting No. 4 Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  The two programs have never met before, so college basketball fans should be in for a treat when the champions of the Ivy League and the Southern Conference clash at Jadwin Gym.