Pete Carril remembered

Pete Carril, the Ivy League’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach after 29 years leading Princeton, died Monday at 92. (Princeton Athletics)

The Princeton basketball community lost a father figure Monday with the death of its legendary coach, Pete Carril.  

It is difficult to express in a short essay the importance of Pete Carril to followers of Princeton basketball or to the game of basketball itself.  Most of the epitaphs I digested in the immediate aftermath of the news of Carril’s passing emphasized his coaching record – 514 wins, which remains an all-time record among Ivy League coaches – and his signature style of coaching, including his frumpy demeanor, and of course his perfection of the Princeton offense, which became stylish after Princeton defeated UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament.  

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Four takeaways from the super Saturday semifinals at the Ivy League Tournament

Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan came through in the clutch in Princeton’s Ivy League Tournament semifinal win over Cornell, scoring 14 points in the final 10:14. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

After watching two scintillating semifinal games in the men’s basketball tournament at Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday, here are four takeaways from the perspective of a diehard Princeton fan:

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Princeton men look to put an exclamation point on an already triumphant season

Jaelin Llewellyn has been a key offensive conduit powering Princeton to its first share of an Ivy League title since 2017, registering three or more assists in six Ivy contests this season. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

The Princeton men’s basketball team has already notched the first big triumph of a wondrous season. 

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Five thoughts about the Ivy League men’s race

Yale is well-positioned to live up to the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll’s prediction that it would finish atop the league standings, in no small part due to Ivy scoring leader Azar Swain. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

As we near the halfway mark of the 2022 Ivy League season, here are five thoughts about the state of the race for the men’s league title:

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The Princeton men’s fun and fearless start to the 2021-22 season

Senior forward Elijah Barnes posted nine points in just decisive 13 minutes in the Tigers’ win over UMBC, just one of many satisfying finishes Princeton has managed in nonconference play. (Princeton Athletics)

Princeton men’s basketball’s Twitter hashtag reads “#MakeShots”.

So far, the 2021-22 Tigers men’s basketball team has done just that. 

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Can the Princeton men contend for an Ivy League title?

It feels like déjà vu all over again.

For the second year in a row, the Princeton men’s basketball team is emerging from its exam break at the top of the Ivy League standings and looking primed to make a run for an Ivy League title after sweeping arch rival Penn in back-to-back games to open the conference season.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.  Exactly one year ago, the 2018-19 Tigers stood in exactly the same position.  That Princeton squad of a year ago started conference play by sweeping Penn in back-to-back games and then beating the New York schools on the road to start the Ivy campaign at 4-0.  Hopes of an Ivy League title began to rise until calamity struck and Princeton lost the services of one of its transcendent stars, Devin Cannady.  Without their senior co-captain, the Tigers slumped through the rest of the Ivy season, losing six of their final 10 regular season games and finishing a disappointing third in the conference standings.

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Princeton men’s basketball searching for consistency, identity and leadership

One month into the 2019-20 season, the Princeton men’s basketball team is off to its worst seven-game start against Division I competition since the 1984-85 season, in which it started 0-6 and then 1-6 against Division I teams. The Tigers opened their 2019-20 campaign with five straight losses before finally shooting their way to a win at Bucknell last Saturday. Princeton fell flat in the second half against the Drexel Dragons Wednesday night and lost again on the road.  The Tigers’ 1-6 start echoes the frustrations of the 1979-80 team, which also struggled out of the gate at 0-5 and finished the nonconference schedule with a 4-11 record.

However, that Tigers squad of 40 years ago scratched its way to a tie for the Ivy League title before falling in a playoff game by a single point to Penn.  Can this year’s team come together in similar fashion once Ivy League play begins?  Here is my assessment of what ails the Tigers at the halfway mark of the nonconference season.

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Princeton’s calamitous weekend leaves Tigers looking to atone in Ivy Madness

Princeton’s roller-coaster regular season ended in calamity this weekend.  In a season of ups and downs, the Tigers saved their worst for last, losing back-to-back games in convincing fashion at home to Brown and Yale.  After surrendering an astounding 25 turnovers to Brown on Friday night, the Tigers completely collapsed on Senior Night, losing by 22 points on Saturday to Yale, 81-59.  It was the most lopsided loss by a Princeton team at home to Yale in program history.

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Everything is on the line for Princeton this weekend

Everything is at stake on Friday night when the Princeton Tigers men’s basketball team clashes with the Dartmouth Big Green in Hanover. And by everything, I mean winning an Ivy League regular season championship. That’s the goal for a program like Princeton’s every year.

Earning a berth in the conference postseason tournament is a nice reward, and one that Princeton very nearly has cemented at this point. But make no mistake, the real goal for Princeton this year—and every year—is to win an Ivy League championship. When you win an Ivy League championship, they put a banner in the rafters enshrining the memory of your team for eternity. Princeton players and fans are reminded of the glory of Princeton’s greatest players and teams every time they enter Jadwin Gym and gaze upon that awesome pantheon of conference championship banners hanging in the rafters.

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With three weeks to go, where does Princeton stand in the Ivy League title chase?

It’s been an up and down season for the Princeton men’s basketball team.  During the nonconference schedule, the Tigers see-sawed up and down, with jaw-dropping losses and heart-stopping wins, including the largest loss in program history to Duke and a win for the ages at nationally ranked Arizona State.

The roller coaster ride has continued for the Tigers during the Ivy League season.  The conference slate began with a surprising four-game winning streak, including a thrilling, back-to-back sweep of arch-rival Penn.  As Princeton entered the heart of its conference schedule, the Tigers sat in the catbird seat, atop the Ivy League standings with a perfect 4-0 record.  Even better, the team learned that its senior co-captain and leading scorer and rebounder, Devin Cannady, would be allowed to return to the team after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules.  The future looked bright.

But then the roller-coaster suddenly dived downward again.  A second straight road weekend took its toll on the Tigers as Princeton was swept convincingly by Yale and Brown.  A third straight loss by nine points at home to Harvard on Friday night dropped Princeton to fourth in the League standings, and suddenly the season sat on a precipice.

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