Monday, February 2, 2009

Lucky 13

There are 13 teams in Division I men's basketball who are still undefeated in their league. Princeton, after its dramatic sweep at Dartmouth and Harvard, is one of them.

Cornell, which has won 19 straight Ivy League games and has defeated its four Ivy opponents by an average of 21 points per game this year, is one of the others. Princeton and Cornell meet Friday night at Jadwin Gym (7).

The only other leagues with two teams still unbeaten are the Big East, with Louisville and Marquette, and the Big 12, with Oklahoma and Kansas.

For those with short memories, Princeton won its first two league games a year ago as well, defeating the same two opponents (although at home) before winning just once more the rest of the year.

It's hard to imagine this year's team not improving on that mark. It starts with that fact that players like Pawel Buczak and Kareem Maddox are much improved over last year and that Marcus Schroeder has toughed out some difficult times to become a true leader. Then add in Douglas Davis, who showed again Saturday at Harvard how he can erupt quickly for points.

And then there's Dan Mavraides. A year ago, Mavraides had 11 points for the season. He's topped that figure four times on Princeton's current five-game winning streak, during which he's averaged 13.2 per game. That includes a three-point effort against Concordia, without which his average goes to 18.3.

Princeton will still be a big underdog to Cornell Friday night, but the turnaround of Tiger basketball appears to be heading in the right direction. And now there's more of a reason to come to Jadwin than just free cake.

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