Friday, March 31, 2023

A Weekend Yav Would Have Loved

So what do you think of the new website? 

In case you're wondering what the direct link is for TigerBlog, it's this: If you
have this page bookmarked, then change it to that link. If you're looking for it on the main site, you can find it with the "Quick Links" directly on the right at the top.

TigerBlog will keep posting here and on the site for the next week or so.

Meanwhile, this is the first weekend in Princeton Athletics since the winter teams all finished playing. It's a busy one, with 24 events between today and Sunday.

TigerBlog used to have count those up on the old site. On the new one, the calendar totals how many events there are that day. You simply click on the sport abbreviation to get the full list of events for that day (you have to scroll down to see them all).

There's home rowing in the morning, with a big men's lacrosse game at 1 on Sherrerd Field against Brown. The men's tennis team plays its Ivy opener against Penn in Jadwin Gym. 

There's track and field in three locations. There are Ivy baseball (at Harvard) and softball (at Penn) games that will have a significant impact on the standings. There's men's volleyball in Dillon Gym tomorrow at 5. It's a very busy schedule.

You know who would have loved it?

Harvey Yavener.

If you don't know the name, it likely means that you weren't a big Princeton sports fan before the last 13 years or so. Harvey Yavener — Yav, as everyone knew him — was a legendary sportswriter in Mercer County, one who probably wrote more about Princeton Athletics in a newspaper than anyone else. 

Yav's final Princeton story was on All-American swimmer Alicia Aemesigger, a member of the Class of 2010. Yav may have written about her before her senior year. 

The great sportswriter passed away recently at the age of 93. It was incredibly sad news for TigerBlog, who worked with Yav at the Trenton Times during his first five years on the Princeton beat and then all the way until Yav's retirement once TB came to work here. Since Yav retired, the two stayed close.

If you are one of the hundreds of Princeton athletes or coaches whom Yav interviewed, you know that it was an experience like no other. The average interview is 10-15 minutes. The average "Yav" interview was 45 minutes to an hour.

When he was done,  Yav could tell you almost anything there was that made for a great story about that one particular athlete, and he could tell that story without ever mentioned the athletic piece. He would then go and write a story that was, in newspaper talk, 30 or 35 or 40 column inches, which translated into a whole lot of words.

Of course, when the story ran, it was way too large to fit what had been allocated, and so editing had to be done. Nothing in the world set Yav off more than having his story edited, to which he would say "ah, they cut my story," only he would add four words before "my story." Those four words were always the same, and they were rated R. 

That doesn't even take into account "the wrap," Yav's nightly recap of all the events he couldn't attend. He'd still write about them anyway, again filling up many more column inches than were allocated. He'd often listen to games on the radio to write about them in his wrap, and he'd usually include some commentary that couldn't possibly be gained from just the broadcast, such as calling fouls against the local team "questionable" or "ticky-tack," even though he'd never seen the play. 

He loved Princeton, to be sure, just as he loved the other Mercer County colleges, and Rutgers, especially Rutgers football, which he was sure would be winning the Rose Bowl any year now. 

When news of Yav's passing began to spread, TB heard from someone who knew Yav well who texted those four missing words in tribute. 

And he was far ahead of the curve when it came to covering women's sports. There was times when he was the only one writing about women's college athletics, let alone the only man. It simply wasn't done by male sportswriters at the time. 

He also would never differentiate between events in any way other than the significance of that particular event in the framework of what it meant to that sport. To Yav, a big squash match mattered as much as a big football game — and he wrote about them both with the same zest.

There was more to Yav than sportswriting. He loved jazz. He especially loved food — eating it, cooking it, writing about it. He was as home in the finest restaurants in the country as he was in a press box.

More than anything else, though, he loved his partner of 60-plus years Polly. Where there was Yav, there was Polly. When Polly passed away in 2018, TB thought Yav wouldn't last long without her. Turned out it was nearly five years, and Yav was sharp until the end.

Yav was short and curmudgeonly, but driven with a strong work ethic and high standards for himself and those around him. He grew up poor and worked hard to make his place in the world. Does that remind you of anyone? It's not surprising that Yav and Pete Carril were very, very close.

Were Yav still working, this is how he'd tell you his plans for Saturday: "Yeah, I'm going to check out the boats in the morning and then jump over to the lacrosse game. Then I'll duck in at Rider to catch the end of the baseball there. And then there's a killer wrap."

For the five years that TB worked alongside Yav on the local college beat, they would sit down each week and go through the handwritten daily schedule to decide who goes to what. In 1992, when Duke and Kentucky played in the NCAA men's basketball regional final in Philadelphia, Yav sent TB, because the game was late and because there was a "killer wrap" that night. 

Those days are long gone.  

There are not a lot of people left at Princeton who knew him. Those who did will remember him with fondness.

TB will remember him with much more than that. There aren't too many people in TB's life who have made more of a positive impact on him than Harvey Yavener did. Were it not for Yav, there is absolutely no chance that TB would have succeeded as a sportswriter and now all these years at Princeton. TB owed him a lot for everything he did.

Much as was the case with Carril, TB knew the day was coming when he'd get the news about Yav. Also much like Carril, it was very emotional anyway when it did.

Rest in peace, Yav. Thanks for everything. 

You know how special you were for TB. Give Polly a hug.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Time For A Change

To the person who commented yesterday that the change that TigerBlog had mentioned earlier this week had "an April Fool's vibe" to it, that was laugh out loud funny.

Nope. It's a real change. In fact, here it is:

If you're reading this after mid-morning Eastern time, then you can (hopefully) notice the redesign of the website. Hopefully you like it. 

The website debuted on Oct. 23, 1999. Since that rather simple beginning, this is the seventh iteration in design.

The most recent redesign was back on Oct. 1, 2014. From that day until today, the website has had the look that everyone has long since gotten used to seeing.

What did it look like last time? 

Does that look familiar? That was the look from 2004-2014.

Clearly, these redesigns don't happen all that often.

One of the major differences this time around is that the site will be the place to find TigerBlog every morning. That is big.

TigerBlog has been posted on this site, which is housed by, since it was first created back in 2008. The idea was to use the blog as a supplement to the information on, so that the larger website would be less crowded.

The first post, in fact, was on Aug. 28, 2008, and it mentioned the upcoming media day at the "new" Roberts Stadium. The entire post was one paragraph.

From that beginning, the blog evolved to being used for in-game updating, but that proved impractical for two reasons. First, there were live stats for that. Second, it was impossible to do this for every sport.

As TB has written before, the first few months of the blog saw little to no readership. It wasn't until it started in its present format as a daily column that it began to catch on. That was in 2009, when he figured that to build and maintain the audience, he'd have to do this every day. 

And so he has. There has not been one missed workday since he first started sharing it this way in January 2009. There have been a small handful of special weekend entries, including during the recent NCAA basketball tournament runs by the Princeton men and women.

Since then, TB has been fortunate that three different Directors of Athletics have seen the value in something that is a bit informal by college athletic standards. The result has been a product that has been very well-received, one that has provided TB with a daily challenge to be creative.

Through 3,767 posts and more than 2,000,000 page views, the blog has been here on blogspot. 

Starting tomorrow, you'll find it on

Actually, you'll still find it on blogspot for at least a little while. TB isn't sure what the best way to do this, since he doesn't want anyone to get lost in the transition.

The new location will have its own dropdown menu, where you'll still be able to access the blogspot archives going back to 2008. It'll also have all of the entries that will now be posted directly to the website available under a "posts" tab.

And that's the change that TB mentioned earlier this week. 

Hey, life is about evolving. For instance, this is how Princeton's baseball team used to power its pitching machine:

Ol' Charles was a bit out there. He was an Oxford-educated mathematician and science fiction writer, in addition to his invention — not to mention a firm believer in the fourth dimension and a convicted bigamist. He came to Princeton in 1893, four years before his pitching machine. From the Daily Princetonian:

Actually the mechanical pitcher was a muzzle-loading cannon which used a powder charge to propel the baseball. The barrel of the gun was approximately five feet in length and was mounted on a braced platform. As first designed, the mechine was fired from behind the pitchet's mound, usually by Mr. Hinton himself who would measure out the powder charges and trip the firing key without giving the batter more than a few seconds notice. Then around 1898, Mr. Hinton designed a treadle located in the batters box which allowed the hitter to fire the gun whenever he was ready. 

Bill Clarke, the longtime Princeton coach for whom Clarke field is named, is quoted as saying the machine wasn't really all that valuable as a teaching tool and that it was "hazardous" for the batter.

As such, the machine didn't last long with the baseball team. Also from the Prince:

While the gun had only a short life with the baseball team, it was frequently resurrected from its storage place in Mr. Hinton's bathtub and used in demonstrations. To prove that it could really fire a curve ball, the inventor placed a number of paper screens between the muzzle and home plate. The holes made in the screens by the ball would not line up if the gun was adjusted for a curve. When the novelty of the gun wore thin for Princetonians, the owner began renting it to carnivals and concessionaires, who offered handsome prizes for the first young man to hit the bullet-like pitches of the machine. Just where the Hinton gun is today is anybody's guess.

See? Where else can you get stuff like that but from TigerBlog. 

Now you'll just have to reset your bookmarks. The content will still be the same.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Not Yet

So here it is, the day that TigerBlog said there'd be some big changes, and there is ... nothing.

As it turns out, he might have been off by a day or two. He promises you that change is coming. 

If you're one of the people who reached out yesterday to find out what it is, or even if you're not, it's just a redesign of how the content here is presented every day. Nothing is going to change in terms of the content itself. 

And because he doesn't have to talk about the new presentation, he can bring up a few things:

* After its sweep of Dartmouth this past weekend, the Princeton baseball team is the lone 3-0 team in the Ivy League. In doing so, Princeton equaled its Ivy League win total of a year ago.

Yes, that's true. Princeton is 3-0 to start this year one year after going 3-18 while finishing eighth. The Tigers gave a sign early on this year that things were different with some of their out-of-conference performances, and they were definitely ready to go against the Big Green.

It's a small sample size, but Princeton leads the league in pitching and hitting in Ivy games. That's a great combination. It's not surprising that Princeton had the Ivy Player of the Week (Kyle Vinci, who hit three home runs, drove in seven runs and had a 1.077 slugging percentage in the three games) and Pitcher of the Week (Justin Kim, who got the win in Game 1, striking out six in five innings of relief, and then pitching the final inning of the third game).

Princeton is at Harvard this weekend to take on a Crimson team that took two of three against Penn last weekend.

The big change in Ivy League baseball and softball this year is that instead of a best-of-three championship series among the top two teams in the league, there will be a four-team double elimination tournament to determine the league's NCAA bid.

* By the way, Kyle Vinci's high school team at Delbarton in North Jersey was the No. 1 team in the state his junior year. Guess who the team's shortstop was? TB will have the answer for you below. 

* TigerBlog had four favorite athletes as a little kid: Tom Seaver, Joe Namath, Walt Frazier and Willis Reed. Does that sort of give away the general area in which he grew up?

Reed passed away last week at the age of 80. Reed was "The Captain" before anyone else came along, and he was the leader of the Knicks' last two NBA championship teams, earning MVP honors in the 1973 Finals and doing something even better in the 1970 finals (you already know what he did). 

Of course, Reed was a teammate on those Knicks' teams with Princeton's own Bill Bradley. The team actually played an exhibition game in Jadwin Gym, and here is one of TB's favorite photos:

* The women's lacrosse team is at Maryland tonight in a game that can be seen on the Big Ten Network starting at 8. The Tigers come into the game having defeated Cornell 15-11 Saturday in Ithaca behind six goals from Nina Montes, who earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors. 

Princeton is ranked 17th in this week's IWLCA poll. Maryland is 10th.

Maryland features a familiar name on its defense. Marge Donovan, the Ivy League Defender of the Year lat year with the Tigers, is now playing for the Terps as a grad transfer. Donovan, by the way, was a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering major at Princeton.

The Tigers do not have a game this weekend and do not play again until Wednesday at St. Joe's.

* Speaking of Princeton grads at Maryland, Abby Meyers and the Terps' women's basketball team lost to South Carolina in the regional final Monday night by a score of 86-75.

Did that score look familiar? It was also the score by which Princeton lost to Creighton in the Sweet 16 Friday night in Loiusville.

As for Meyers, she had 14 points and five rebounds, but she was limited to 26 minutes by foul trouble before eventually fouling out early in the fourth quarter. By the way, the fourth and fifth fouls called on her were awful calls.

*  Meanwhile, back at weekly awards, Princeton softball's Alexis Laudenslager was the Ivy Pitcher of the Week after a no-hitter against Brown to start the Tigers' weekend off on the right foot. Princeton would take two of three in Providence. 

Laudenslager struck out 10 in her no-hitter, which Princeton won 1-0. It was the fourth career no-hitter for Laudenslager, who also no-hit Yale one week earlier.

Most of Ivy softball is a week ahead of baseball, and so Princeton now finds itself 5-1 in the league after sweeping Yale on the first weekend. Princeton is at Penn this weekend. 

Dartmouth is currently 3-0 in the league, as the Big Green and Cornell started a week after everyone else. Princeton, the defending Ivy champion, finishes its regular season against the Big Green in Hanover at the end of April, but Dartmouth will have one more weekend to go after that. Cornell is now 2-1, while Harvard is 4-2. Everyone else has at least four losses.

* Ben Harrington has won his fourth EIVA Offensive Player of the Week award after Princeton defeated George Mason in the league and No. 9 Loyola (Chicago) outside of it.

Harrington currently leads the EIVA in per-set averages in kills (3.57), aces (0.73) and points (4.48). He also ranks third nationally in aces per set and 12th in points per set.

The Tigers host George Mason Saturday at 5 in the only match this weekend. 

* The shortstop? Anthony Volpe, who is now the New York Yankees starting shortstop.

* Yes, the change will be here. Probably tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

NCAA Runner-Up

TigerBlog's car was parked next to a clearly classic car yesterday at the supermarket.

As TB got back to his car and the owner of the other car got out of his, a third car pulled up, and a man who appeared to be in his early 20s yelled out the window: "You've got a great car man." Actually, he included an expletive before "car," though TB has chosen to delete the expletive.

Then the young man yelled out "what year?"

Before the man with the fancy car could say anything, TigerBlog said "2015." When the young man gave a quizzical look, TB said "oh, thought you meant this car" as he pointed to his.

As it turns out, he didn't. 

Also as it turns out, the fancy car was a 1968 Ford Thunderbird. TB has no idea if it came with Positraction (and if you don't get the reference, then that's as bad as knowing that Zach Martini of the men's basketball team has never seen "Hoosiers").

TigerBlog's first car was a 1977 Dodge Diplomat. It had an eight-track player. Would that be considered a classic now? 

Seguing back to the world of Princeton Athletics, there was more to NCAA success than just basketball this past week. The Tiger fencing team put up big numbers at its own NCAA Championships this past weekend at Duke.

In fact, Princeton finished second nationally in the co-ed event, behind only NCAA champion Notre Dame, who won 188 bouts to 175 for the Tigers. Princeton finished 19 wins ahead of third-place Columbia. 

This is the fourth time since the event became co-ed in 1990 that Princeton has finished in the top two. The Tigers won the 2013 NCAA title, and they were the runner-up in 2012, 2014 and now 2023.

Once again, were there separate NCAA events for the men and the women, then Princeton's women would have won. The Tigers had 98 points on the women's side, four better than the next-best total of 94 by Notre Dame.

The Princeton men would have finished in third place, two points back of Columbia for second. Of course, it's a co-ed event, for reasons that TB doesn't know. 

It does seem like there is a movement to have separate championships, largely because there is no school in the country that has only a men's team but there are schools who only field a women's team. Because of the combined scoring, a women-only team has no chance at winning a team championship.

There are also individual champions in each weapon. Basically, a school can qualify three fencers per weapon, and there is a round-robin event for team team points are earned. When that is over, the top four in each weapon advance to the individual semifinals.

Princeton did not have an individual champion, but it did have 11 of its 12 fencers earn All-American honors. Princeton also had three individual runners-up: Mohamed Hamza in the men's foil, May Tieu in the women's foil and Jessica Lin in the women's epee. 

Congratulations to the Tiger fencers. That was a wildly impressive weekend.

TigerBlog was once at a James Taylor concert where the singer had just come out with a new album that didn't really sell that well. He began the show by basically saying "If you clap for the new songs, I'll play all the old ones you want to hear."

As TB said yesterday, readership here skyrocketed during the recent NCAA basketball tournament runs for the Princeton men and women. He hopes that you'll stay as he gets back to writing about the entirety of Princeton Athletics.

Princeton is a special place, with teams who regularly have great performances during the year and in the postseason. For proof, go to and check out how many athletes won Player of the Week this week.

If you're new here, hopefully you'll be intrigued by what you learn and want to follow the Tigers.

Also, as this week moves along, there will be major changes coming to this blog. You'll still get the same content you're used to and that TB has brought you since 2009. It's just that the way it's presented is going to change, for the first time in all those years. It'll be an exciting change that TB hopes you'll like.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 27, 2023

A Little More Hoops

For the last two weeks, other than saluting Patrick Glory's NCAA wrestling title, TigerBlog has been all about basketball. 

Judging by the readership numbers, which skyrocketed by the way, it seems like most of you out there were okay with it. Hey, Princeton Basketball, both the men and the women, captured the imagination of the entire country. 

When a team does extraordinarily well on the national stage, here's always what's come to be known as the "Flutie Factor." It dates back to when Doug Flutie won the Heisman Trophy at Boston College in 1984, and as a result applications to go to school there went way up. TB heard quite a few joking references to this phenomenon with Princeton's success.

And so he starts today talking about ... basketball?

As he assumes most Princeton fans were doing, TB was rooting for Creighton to win it all after knocking out the Tigers Friday night in the Sweet 16. Creighton came really close to getting to the Final Four yesterday, falling 57-56 to San Diego State. 

Yes, that could have been called a foul. No, under absolutely no circumstances should that have been called a foul in that situation. First, the officials didn't call a tight game. Second, you can't decide a trip to the Final Four with that call. It's awful. 

And don't blame the Creighton player. You simply can't make that call in that situation. If there had been blatant, shot-altering contact, then yes. There wasn't any in that situation.

The Final Four is set on the men's side, with Florida Atlantic to play San Diego State and Miami to play UConn. The winners will play for the national championship.

If you're wondering, there are no No. 1 or No. 2 seeds who are left. FAU is a nine. San Diego state is a five. Miami is also a five. UConn is the highest (or is that lowest?) seed left as a No. 4.

When Princeton's Gary Walters was the head of the committee, the Final Four consisted of three No. 1 seeds and a No. 2 seed. TB will have to ask Gary if that's the goal of the committee and if the committee feels like that result makes them seem like they knew what they were doing.

One more basketball note - You can watch Princeton alum Abby Meyers and Maryland play against No. 1 South Carolina tonight at 7 for a trip to the Final Four. Meyers has averaged 12 points per game in Maryland's first three NCAA games this season. 

At Princeton, Meyers played in three NCAA games, averaging 17.7 per, including a 29-point outburst in the win over Kentucky last year. She has 89 points in NCAA tournament games in her career heading into the game tonight. 

Speaking of NCAA tournament points, Princeton's Ryan Langborg had 56 of them in the three games. When was the last time a Princeton player had at least that many points in one NCAA tournament? It's actually happened five times in program history, all of which happened in the 1960s:

1) Bill Bradley - 177 points (1965)
2) Bill Bradley - 86 points (1964)
3) Pete Campbell - 75 points (1961)
4) Joe Heiser - 58 points (1967)
5) Ryan Langborg (2023)/Bob Haarlow (1967) - 56 points 

Princeton has played in a lot of NCAA tournaments since the 1960s. Nobody has exceeded what Langborg did this year. 

Speaking of Princeton's NCAA tournament records, Blake Peters made 11 three-pointers in the tournament, bettering the record held by Brian Earl (1998). Peters is also three away from Earl's career record of 14, and the five Peters made against Missouri in Round 2 tied the single-game record set by Earl twice (he had five against both UNLV and Michigan State in the 1998 tournament).

Of course, Tosan Evbuomwan got in on the record-setting as well. His nine assists against Creighton are a new record, one better than the old record held by Kit Mueller (three times) and Bill Bradley (twice). Evbuomwan's 18 assists in the tournament are also a new record, beating the 14 set by Bradley in 1965 and equaled by Billy Ryan in 1983. 

And TB told you last week that Caden Pierce's 16 rebounds against Missouri were the third-best total a Princeton player has had in an NCAA game. Lastly, Langborg and Keeshawn Kellman both blocked two shots against Arizona, making them the fourth and fifth Princeton players to do so in a game.

With that, TB thinks he's done with basketball, at least for a little while. 

He will say this: The Final Four may be this weekend, but the 2023 men's tournament belonged to Princeton.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

How Sweet It Was

From the time his team had finished off Missouri last Saturday to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 until tip-off Friday night in Louisville, Princeton head men's basketball coach Mitch Henderson gave a master class on how to represent an institution. 

He was humble. He gave full credit to his players, to his mentors, to the spirit and pride that define the University. He mentioned the great fan support. He talked about how much the team had changed since his playing days in the 1990s. His love of all things Princeton, and not just basketball, was obvious.

There is no grade Henderson can get other than an A+ for how he handled success. 

He also did a masterful job guiding his team through March. His composure and maturity as a coach were obvious, and his team fed off of that. The Tigers maintained their own poise, soaked up every minute and every experience there was to be had and then went out on the biggest stage in their sport and competed as hard as they could.  

And then? March showed that it could be cruel. With each hurdle cleared, the bar gets raised. With each win, the next one becomes even tougher. Any bad stretch and that's the end of it.

And it doesn't matter if you're the 15 seed who has already won two massive games in the NCAA tournament. When the end comes, you're not ready for it and you don't like it one bit. It leaves you wanting more and wondering what might have been.

The end came for Princeton Friday night in Louisville, where the Tigers fell 86-75 to sixth-seeded Creighton. Princeton had fallen behind early but rallied in the first half to go up 38-34, and at that point, Princeton was dripping with confidence. The team wanted it. The crowd certainly did, especially the Tiger fans who had converged on the KFC Yum! Center from all over.

Princeton was ahead and playing with momentum. San Diego State had already taken down No. 1 Alabama.

Everyone anywhere in Orange and Black had two words floating through their head: Final Four. The only problem is that Creighton had the same thoughts. And Creighton had a 7-1 big man named Ryan Kalkbrenner who was nearly impossible to stop, especially on a night when another Blue Jay, Baylor Scheierman, shot 5 for 7 from three-point range.

Just like that, it was Creighton who was headed to Sunday's Elite Eight game against San Diego State, and it was Princeton who was headed home. That's how this tournament works.

Of course, if you recall, this was the same Princeton team that lost a 19-point lead on its home court against Yale back on Feb. 18. When Princeton walked off the Jadwin Gym floor that night, who saw this coming? 

Who would have imagined that Princeton's next loss would be in the Sweet 16? The Sweet 16, for Pete's sake. 

Ah, and speaking of Pete, Princeton did this in the first year after the passing of Pete Carril, it's Hall of Fame coach. This team didn't play anywhere near the style that Carril's teams did, but they did play with a bow tie patch on their uniforms out of respect for the late coach, a man many of the members of this team got to know and a man who meant so much to so many of the people in the crowd last weekend in Sacramento and on this night in Kentucky.

Carril used to say that he hoped his team would "give a good account of itself." By any metric, this team did.

Amazingly, Princeton built a 19-point lead against Harvard in the game after the loss to Yale and then had to hold on to win 58-56. Then it was a 19-point deficit against Penn in the regular season finale that Princeton overcame to earn a share of the league championship.

The next challenge was getting a third win over Penn, which Princeton did. Then it was to beat its nemesis Yale to get into the NCAA tournament, which it did.

From there, it was the small matter of No. 2 Arizona and No. 7 Missouri, both of whom Princeton sent home last weekend. It was an extraordinary performance by a team that kept getting better and peaked at the absolute right time.

Ryan Langborg, a senior, scored 52 points in three NCAA games, improving from eight to 22 to 26 against Creighton. Tosan Evbuowman, another senior, had 48 points, 22 rebounds and 18 assists in his three NCAA games.

Just typing that is surreal. Three NCAA games. Princeton had three NCAA games. 

It's a 68-team tournament. It ends with a loss for 67 of those teams. When it comes, it stings. 

And when that sting wears off, you're left to remember what you just accomplished, or, if you're a fan, what you just witnessed. And what you saw from the 2022-23 Princeton men's basketball team is one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of Tiger Athletics. 

This is a team that will never be forgotten. 

Thanks for the magical March, Tigers.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Sweet 16 Game Night

From the final buzzer of its win over Missouri last Saturday — actually, make that from around the under-8 media timeout of its win over Missouri — the Princeton men's basketball team has been riding a wave of excitement, attention and celebrity.

Each moment is something extraordinary. Each day has brought another memory that will last forever for all of them. 

Tonight, though, it's all business. It's Princeton against Creighton in Louisville in the Sweet 16. Tip-off is at 9.

The winner of that game plays the winner of tonight's first game at the KFC Yum! Center, between Alabama and San Diego State Sunday for a trip to the Final Four. 

Princeton's run marks the third straight year that a No 15 seed has gotten this far. In fact, it's the second straight year that a No. 15 from New Jersey has gotten to the second weekend, after St. Peter's did a year ago. 

St. Peter's defeated No. 2 Kentucky and No. 7 Murray State and then won a third game, defeating No. 3 Purdue in the Sweet 16 before falling to North Carolina in the regional final. 

The year before, it was Oral Roberts as a 15 seed who reached the Sweet 16, after beating No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Florida.  

Before that? The tournament began its current seeding process in 1985. The only other school besides Princeton, St. Peter's and Oral Roberts to get this far was Florida-Gulf Coast, who dunked its way past No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State.

Princeton is also the 36th team seeded No. 9 or lower (or is that higher?) to get this far. Those teams, seeded 9-15, are 12-23 in the Sweet 16. Only five such teams have then won again to reach the Final Four, and all five were 11 seeds: LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), Loyola (2018), UCLA (2021). 

The good part about being a No. 15 who wins its opener is that the first game is against the No. 2, which means that it can't face a higher (or is that lower?) seed until the regional final. Princeton followed up its 59-55 win over No. 2 Arizona by beating No. 7 Missouri 78-63. The 15-point margin was the largest ever by a 15-seed in an NCAA game.

Now it's No. 6 Creighton. The Blue Jays got here by defeating No. 11 North Carolina State 72-63 and then No. 3 Baylor 85-76. They have never gotten any further than this in the NCAA tournament.

There aren't many teams Princeton could play whose career leader in points has more than the Tigers' does, but Creighton is one of them. Doug McDermott, in fact, is the No. 7 all-time leading scorer in Division I history, having scored 3,150 points as a Blue Jay before heading to a long NBA career.

Greg McDermott, Doug's father, is the Creighton head coach, and he's been in his position longer than any other current Big East coach (13 years). Here's what he said about Princeton yesterday:

Offensively, you know, Evbuomwan, he can score, and he can really pass. If you allow him to do both, you're asking for trouble. So we have to figure out a way to slow that down. It's hard to do, and they space the floor with a lot of really good shooters. Then when they miss, you know, the first two games, 30 second-chance points for Princeton and four combined for Arizona and Missouri. So I think that speaks to their discipline defensively on the glass, blocking out, not giving you second opportunities, and then their second effort that they make to get to that offensive glass when they do miss a shot. We have our hands full. This is a really, really good basketball team. It's not a fluke that they're still playing.

Creighton has done something in its first two NCAA games that no team has done since 1997, and that's had two different players score at least 30 points in a game. First it was 7-1 Ryan Kalkbrenner with 31 against NC State, and then it was Ryan Nembhard with 30 against Baylor. 

The most impressive stats for Princeton through two NCAA games involve rebounding. The Tigers have outrebounded their first two NCAA opponents by a combined 82-67. The Tigers have a 30-4 edge in second-chance points through two NCAA games.

Between the two of them, they were a combined 7 for 45 from three-point range in their first games and then 23 for 57 in the next two games combined.

Will the game be decided somewhere in those numbers? Will Princeton be able to defend the 7-1 Kalkbrenner? Will the Tigers be great on the offensive glass? Will the three-pointers fall for one and not the other? 

Or will it be something else? 

No matter what, this is one of the biggest moments in Princeton Basketball history. To get this far is extraordinary.

To go further? Either Princeton or Creighton will know that feeling later tonight.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

"I Think You'll Find These Are The Exact Same Measurements At Our Gym Back In Hickory"

TigerBlog was sitting with Zach Martini in Jadwin Gym during Monday's media session for the Princeton men's basketball team when he learned something extraordinary.

TB asked Martini about the experience of being at the tournament last weekend in Sacramento, and he said this:

“I looked around the arena, and my legs were shaking. I didn’t have much control for about 10 seconds. After that, it was a basketball game. It might not have been Jadwin, but it was just another basketball game.”

From that point, this is where the conversation went:

TB: That's like the scene from "Hoosiers."
ZM: I've never seen it.
TB: (with a look of incredulity) You've never seen "Hoosiers?" How is that possible?

Indeed, how is that possible. How can a college basketball player not have seen "Hoosiers?" Is TB that old?

By the way, TB doesn't have to tell you which scene he meant, but if you need a refresher, it's this one.

TigerBlog was speaking with Martini to do a feature on him and another Princeton big man, Keeshawn Kellman. Both were outstanding last week, especially against the size of the Arizona big men.

The two of them spent a great deal of time during the Covid year as workout partners. Actually, you can make that "early morning workout partners." From there, they've become extremely close. 

You can read the feature story HERE.

The two big men and the rest of the Princeton travel party rolled out of the circle by Caldwell Field House around 1 yesterday afternoon, heading to Philadelphia Airport for a charter flight to Louisville. That's where the Tigers will take on Creighton in the NCAA Sweet 16 tomorrow night, with tip-off from the KFC Yum! Center at 9 pm.

It was a huge celebration of a send-off for Princeton. There was a large crowd gathered in front of Caldwell, and as with everything else the team has done the last week, there were television cameras to capture it all.

TB's favorite sign was one held up by members of the band that read "Cinderella Is A Jersey Girl." Now that's genius. 

There were claps and cheers and chants of "Let's Go Tigers. Let's Go Tigers." It was a pretty special moment. It was easy to see that the players were loving it. And why not? They've definitely earned all of this. 

At approximately the same time, but 1,250 miles to the west, Creighton was having a similarly festive send off, though TB isn't sure if Creighton's had free pizza, like Princeton's did. This is what happens when there are only 16 teams that remain in the men's basketball tournament. 

The KFC Yum! Center, by the way, is 702 miles from Jadwin Gym and 690 miles from Creighton's home arena, the CHI Health Center. That's about as neutral a site as you can get.

The NCAA tournament routine is the same for each of its three weekends. There is the travel day. Then the next day, today, would be for media availability, a one-hour walkthrough in the arena and then another gym somewhere for a real practice. The next day is Game Day.

The scene from "Hoosiers" is more than just a classic moment from a classic movie (that Martini needs to see immediately). There's a lot to be learned from that bit of coaching genius.

It is the same 10 feet to the rim as Jadwin. It is the same 15 feet to the foul line. All the dimensions are the same. 

There are multiple challenges here. You have to be ready for all of the attention, and has Princeton ever gotten the attention. Then you have to be able to switch off from the "this is an incredible experience" part to the "we're here to win a basketball game" part. 

First and foremost, you need to believe you can do it. If you don't start with that, then you have no chance. 

Then you have to figure out how. Then you have to go do it.

This Princeton team did just that a week ago in California. Now it's the same task in Louisville. 

TB's advice to the Tigers? 

Give it everything you have. Cherish the experience. 

Actually, that's what he emailed Martini when he sent him the clip from "Hoosiers."


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Modern Tigers Head To The Sweet 16

As you probably recall, one of TigerBlog's favorite stories about former Princeton head men's basketball coach Bill Carmody is the time that he was talking to the media after a game far from Jadwin Gym and was asked about how even his center shot three-pointers.

"In our program, everyone shoots the three," he said. Then, pointing to TB, he said "even our SID can make one."

Oh, how the times have changed. Witness this picture:

And just who is that? Well, that's Elliott Carr, the current Princeton men's basketball athletic communications contact. Elliott, by the way, scored 501 points as a player at Clarke University before graduating in 2012. Still being able to dunk in his early 30s? Impressive.

If ever there was a metaphor for the evolution of Princeton men's basketball, it's that picture. Even the SID can dunk now.

For those who have been paying attention, you know that the Princeton men's basketball team that heads to the Sweet 16 to take on Creighton Friday night at 9 in Louisville plays a much different way than the Tigers of the past. If you're one of those people, then you're also probably in the minority.

TB was watching "Pardon the Interruption" Monday to hear what they would have to say about Princeton's sweep of Arizona and Missouri in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Tony Kornheiser went first and spoke about how "Princeton knows who it is" and "Princeton knows its limitations."

All TB could do was shake his head. Then it was Michael Wilbon's turn. He got it right. "I watched them. I saw guys dunking. I saw guys getting offensive rebounds."

Yes, he did. It's partly because of how the game has changed and partly because so much of the basketball world adopted the principles of the "Princeton Offense" after the success of the 1990s. 

Mostly, though, it's because of Mitch Henderson's desire to get his team to where it is this week. Actually, it's his desire to get to this point and then to have it not be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

To do so, he's built a team that is athletic, physical and fast-paced. Princeton had its highest-scoring team ever a year ago, averaging 79.8 points per game. This year's team is just under 76. 

The team that beat UCLA with Henderson as its point guard in 1996? That team averaged 59.1 points per game. The team two years later that reached the top 10 of the national rankings? That team averaged 66.5.

The 1998 team was 306th in Division I in rebounding, averaging 26.6 per game. This year's team ranks ninth, with 39.42 per game.

This hasn't happened accidentally. It's the vision that Henderson and his staff have had.

At the same time, Henderson has not abandoned the intangibles that have always made Princeton special. It's a team that greatly values its history, its alums, its legacy in the sport. 

If you ask TigerBlog, this the by-product of the coaching legacy that he referenced yesterday, how Princeton's men's basketball history is sort of like an account. Can any other program trace its lineage the way Princeton can, going back decades and having its never-broken chain?

Gary Walters has been a huge part of that chain as a player, assistant coach and Director of Athletics. In fact, he was a huge part of it before he even realized it, as he played for Pete Carril at Reading High School before either came to Princeton.

When Gary would be asked about the lineage, he would speak in biblical terms, saying one "begat" the next, who "begat" the next, and so on.

Back at the start of the 1989-90 season, after Princeton had nearly beaten mighty Georgetown in the NCAA tournament to end the previous season, fans would flock to see the unique group who had almost pulled off the miracle. TB used to compare the Tigers to the Harlem Globetrotters. They were almost a novelty as much as a basketball team to the outside world.

Almost all of what casual fans know about Princeton men's basketball was cemented back then. If they haven't been watching, they haven't seen how differently the team plays now.

Ask Arizona and Missouri. They can vouch for what the modern Tigers are all about.

It's why they're one of 16 teams who are still playing. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Media Day

Mitch Henderson ducked his head into TigerBlog's office yesterday afternoon, said hello, smiled and then said the words that he's said more than any other the last two days or so:

"Can't talk. I have to do an interview in two minutes."

The spoils may belong to the victor. When it comes to the NCAA basketball tournament, the interviews do as well.

Henderson, the Princeton men's basketball coach, has led his team into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, where the Tigers will Creighton Friday night at 9 in Louisville. In doing so, everyone in the sports world has wanted to hear from him.

Or from a player. Or an assistant coach. Or even the Director of Operations.

The day started early for Henderson yesterday. He and Tosan Evbuomwan rolled out of Princeton at 6:30 or so to head to New York City to be on the CNN morning show (CNN sent a car for them). This was after they'd already recorded a spot for Good Morning America on Zoom.

It's been an endless parade of requests here since Princeton's history-making wins over Arizona and Missouri propelled the team into the national spotlight. Princeton's men's basketball communications contact Elliott Carr estimated that he'd received more than 100 interview requests just for players, without counting those hoping to speak with the head coach.

It all took TB back to Henderson's playing days, after the Tigers knocked off UCLA in 1996. In the days before cell phones, TB spent all day checking his work voicemail, which would be full after 14 messages. Each time he cleared it and responded to those, there'd be another 14 waiting for him. This went on all day.

Just when he thought it was done, he got back to the hotel to find he had another 50 or so messages there. 

If you look at the history of Princeton Athletics, it's filled with national titles, Olympic medals, professional championships. Where does reaching the NCAA men's basketball Sweet 16 fit in on that list? 

What's harder, reaching the Sweet 16 in men's basketball or winning the NCAA title in, say, field hockey or lacrosse? 

Regardless of the answer, there is no denying two things. First, getting to the Sweet 16 is not easy. To get there out of the Ivy League, you're almost surely going to have to play at least one team in the top 15 or so, if not two.

Second, the media attention that is generated will be enormous. 

It can, in fact, get overwhelming. Back in 1996, after all of the interviews were done and the team was getting ready to go to practice, TB walked in the general direction of Pete Carril, who saw him coming and said "no more interviews."

And that after one NCAA win, not two.

As an aside, TB mentioned it would be with Jerry Izenberg, the longtime Star-Ledger columnist whom TB would say is the greatest sportswriter ever. When TB told Carril that it was with Izenberg, the coach responded with "gotta make time for that guy."

For his part, Henderson has done a great job of using this opportunity to let those who've never met him know what he's all about. He talks about how much he's happy that his players have had this opportunity, how life-changing it is for them. He talks about the great school spirit that embodies Princeton University. He talks about the athletic culture at the school.

You couldn't pay enough for this kind of advertising.

His pride in all of those things is obvious with every word he says. He's also not selling anything. He truly believes all this.

He's obviously a link back to the 1996 season, back to Carril. Henderson is more than that, actually. He's the latest link in the unbroken chain of Princeton basketball that dates back to Cappy Cappon and continued through Butch van Breda Kolff, who coached Carril at Lafayette, and then Gary Walters, who played for Carril at Reading High, and Bill Carmody, who coached with Carril and who was hired by Walters when Walters was AD to replace Carril, to former players John Thompson III, Joe Scott and Sydney Johnson, who all became head coaches, and now to Henderson (who coaches Scott's son Jack, a freshman).

Henderson relishes that history and his place in it, but he is more focused on the present and future. If anything, his tenure will be looked at as the launching of the program into a more modern era, one where his team gets way more offensive rebounds than backdoor layups.

Henderson was able to come back into TB's office and talk for a few minutes. He sat back on the couch in TB's office, which is framed on one side by a poster of Carril, with the saying "What good is being Spanish if you can't chase after windmills," which is TB's favorite Carril quote.

Those days will always matter with Princeton Basketball, and with Henderson. So will these days, these new days, the ones where Henderson has his team in preparation for the Sweet 16.

It wasn't too long before Henderson got up off the couch. 

"I have another interview to do," he said as he walked away.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Something Very, Very Special

The Princeton men's basketball team will play Creighton in the Sweet 16 Friday in Louisville.

Creighton, the sixth-seed in the region, defeated third-seeded Baylor 85-76 Sunday to move on in the tournament. Princeton is the 15th seed.

Creighton and Princeton have exactly one common opponent this season, and that's Arizona, who defeated the Blue Jays 81-79 in the Maui Classic final. That was back on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Princeton, of course, took down Arizona, the No. 2 seed, in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday by a 59-55 count before erupting past seventh-seed Missouri 78-63 Saturday in the second round. 

If you're looking ahead, the winner of the Princeton-Creighton game will play Sunday against the winner of Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed, and San Diego State, the region's fifth seed. The winner of that game will go to the Final Four.

Princeton and Creighton have only played once before, and that was in 1961. Creighton won that one 63-54, which along with the one common opponent results will have zero effect on the game Friday.

There will be no next opponent for the Princeton women's team, not in the 2022-23 season at least. Princeton's season ended Sunday night in Utah, where the Tigers fell 63-56 to the host Utes, the second seed. 

By the way, TigerBlog has a love-hate relationship with the score 63-56. It was by that score that Princeton defeated Penn in the 1996 Ivy playoff game. It was also that score by which Princeton lost to Michigan State in the 1998 NCAA men's second round.

Now you can add the women's loss by the same score in this year's second round.

It's disappointing, obviously. The women would have loved to have join the men in the Sweet 16.

On the other hand, it wasn't for lack of effort. The way that Princeton's women defend, and even more so the way that they play so hard at all times, was extraordinary to see.

It's what gave Princeton its 64-63 win over North Carolina State in the first round Friday night. TB has talked to a bunch of people about that game, and the consensus goes something like this: Wow. 

TB wrote after the game that it was the second most amazing basketball game he's ever seen, and that is definitely the case. Princeton won that game on sheer will, and it was that same will that almost pulled out the game at Utah, a No. 2 seed.

Princeton was down by 14 in the first half. Princeton allowed 20 points in the first quarter. From there? Nothing, not one thing, came easily for Utah.

Remember, Utah is a team that averaged 84.1 points per game, third-best in Division I. It's a team that scored 90 per game on its home court, the Huntsman Center, where the first two rounds were held.

Perhaps no player has ever defined a team culture and identity more than Ellie Mitchell does for the Princeton women's basketball team. She is a blur of energy, a non-stop competitor and a great defender. She never stops. She plays so hard every second of every game that it's hard to imagine where she gets the strength from at the end.

Her performance in Utah this weekend was extraordinary. In two games she had 13 points, but it's the next number that's ridiculous: Mitchell had 29 rebounds. Here's another crazy number: Mitchell had 15 offensive rebounds in two games. You can throw in seven blocked shots and seven steals.

Her battle Sunday night against Utah's Alissa Pili, the Pac 12 Player of the Year, was epic. Mitchell had 18 rebounds. Pili had 27 points, but Mitchell made her work for all of them. 

Kaitlyn Chen had 19 points. Grace Stone, the hero Friday night with her late three, had 16 more.

What the Princeton women's basketball team has built of late is something very, very special. The Tigers had never made it to the NCAA tournament prior to 2010, and yet they've now played in 10 of them.

The Ivy League has four NCAA women's basketball wins all-time, and Princeton now has three of them. There are NCAA wins each of the last two seasons. 

There has been a litany of great players who have played for Princeton during this extended run, when the roster has been turned over and turnover over and turned over. For as great as some of them have been as individuals, they all have bought into the team concept that the program has been built on through these years. It's a compliment to Courtney Banghart, the coach who first took Princeton to the tournament, and now Carla Berube, who is everything you could ever ask for in a head coach.

TB has written that Berube is laid back and intense at the same time, and she is definitely both of those. The program has completely energized its fan base, which has grown exponentially through the years. Now, a Princeton women's basketball game is an event.

There was no Sweet 16 to be had this time around. Will the Tigers get there? They've come very, very close the last two years, falling by one to Indiana a year ago and now by seven to Utah.

The end of the game stung, but it was hard not to, once again, be impressed by the Princeton women. 

If you thought they'd go quietly after the win the other night and after being down 14 points to one of the best teams in the country, you haven't been paying attention. 

This isn't an "oh well, we did our best" group. This is an "I don't care what the scoreboard says; there's still time on the clock, so we don't let up" group.

Like TB said, they're very, very special.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

A Night Of History, And Glory

It's been a week since Jadwin Gym hosted the Ivy League basketball tournaments.

A week. It seems like that was another lifetime ago. 

Remember the storylines? Would Princeton be able to beat Penn for a third time on the season and a second time in six days? No, many thought. That's asking too much, not after Penn lost that 19-point lead in the regular season finale with a share of the Ivy title on the line. Beating Penn again? That was too much to ask.

Even after that task was completed, there was the matter of beating Yale. This was going to be too much to ask too. Yale had eased past Cornell in its semifinal, didn't have to exert itself and had a few hours more rest than Princeton. The matchup wasn't great. The intangibles all favored Yale.

How long ago that seems, right? 

That same Princeton men's basketball team, the one that may have been written off a bit by some, or many, before the Ivy tournament, has in a matter of days done something completely extraordinary, something that is historic in every way. 

Princeton is going to the Sweet 16. 

Who saw this coming when the Ivy tournament tipped off? In contrast to its first round win over Arizona, which was a nailbiter in every sense of the word, Princeton raced past Missouri 78-63, taking the game between two dens of Tigers to reach the Sweet 16. The margin of victory was the most ever by a 15 seed in the NCAA tournament. 

And so now it's on to the Sweet 16. It's one of those things that you keep writing for two reasons: 1) because it sounds so great and 2) because the more you write it, the more real it becomes.

Yes. It's real. Princeton will play the winner of Sunday's game between Creighton and Baylor this coming Friday in Louisville. Princeton joins Cornell's 2010 team as the only Ivy League teams to reach the Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

And were that the only big story of the night for Princeton, it would have been plenty. But no, you can't only talk about men's basketball, not on a night when Princeton Wrestling produced an NCAA champion.

Patrick Glory became Princeton's second NCAA champ and first in 72 years when he won the 125-pound title with a 4-1 decision over Purdue's Matt Ramos.

And yes, this was about Patrick Glory, but it was also about Princeton coaches Chris Ayres, Sean Gray and Joe Dubuque. They have worked tirelessly to get their program off the mat in the first place and then bring it to national relevance. They never stopped believing, and Glory's reward was theirs as well. 

As the final buzzer sounded, Glory fell to his back and took it all in. It was a bit surreal, much like it was to watch the men's basketball team.

It was a huge Princeton party in Sacramento for this one. And now the party gets to keep on going.

Princeton is going to the Sweet 16.

TigerBlog watched the game on his computer during the men's lacrosse team's game against Penn Saturday at the same time. It's hard to say he watched it, actually. He kept switching the screen, checking in on the game, seeing Princeton was still ahead, and then turning it off. It was almost hard to watch. It was so close. It was so historic. He was afraid to see it slip away.

By the under-eight timeout of the second half, TB finally believed that it was done. It was surreal. Princeton pulled away and never let up, completely imposing its will on Missouri. The numbers were staggering — Princeton 44, Missouri 30 in rebounds, Princeton 12-6 in made threes, and the most insane one of all, Princeton 19-2 in second-chance points. 

As TB said after the win over Arizona, this wasn't a game won because Princeton outsmarted anyone. It's insulting to say that. Princeton won these two games by being more physical, more relentless, more determined.

By the way, if you think Missouri is just another team, this is a team that beat, among others, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Iowa State during the season (and Penn). 

The individual performances were also amazing. Ryan Langborg with 22. Blake Peters with 17 points in just 14 minutes; he's now 8 for 13 from three in the NCAA tournament. Tosan Evbuowman had nine points, nine rebounds and five assists. Matt Allocco had 10 points and seven assists. Keeshawn Kellman had eight points, six rebounds and a whole lot of assertive physicality that certainly got Missouri's attention.

And then there was Caden Pierce. All the Ivy League Rookie of the Year did was score nine points and add 16 rebounds. Is 16 a lot of rebounds? The Princeton NCAA tournament record is held by Al Kaemmerlen, who had 18 against St. Bonaventure in 1961. Bill Bradley had 17 against Wichita State in the 1965 consolation game and 16 against St. Joe's in 1963. Craig Robinson also had 16, against Oklahoma State in 1983. 

And that's the entire list of Princeton players who reached 16 rebounds in an NCAA game.

This was already a legendary weekend for Princeton Basketball after the men and women both won their opening round games, using 9-0 runs to come from behind to win. The women will play Sunday night at 7 against Utah on the Utes' home court.

Never before had an Ivy League school had its men's and women's teams both win NCAA games in the same year. That alone would have been enough, right? 

But now the men play on. And the women have their chance to match the men. It's another big-time challenge, as Utah won the Pac-12 tournament last week. 

Ah, but last week. That's so long ago, who can even remember it?

This is this week, this weekend, a weekend of history, and of Glory, a weekend that will never be forgotten at Princeton. 


Double The Madness

This was double the Madness, and TigerBlog isn't really sure quite what he means by that.

Was it "double the Madness," as in Princeton's women followed up the men's win Thursday over Arizona with one of their own, taking down North Carolina State 64-63?

Or was it "double the Madness," as in "this was twice as much Madness as the day before."

Maybe it's a New Jersey thing. You have the two Princeton wins, and you can throw in FDU's win over Purdue, marking only the second time a 16 has beaten a 1 on the men's side? 

Is it triple the madness?

The 15th-seeded Princeton men's team came from 12 back in the second half to beat Arizona, the second seed, 59-55 Thursday, and if you thought that game and the FDU game were wild, then you should have been glued to the women's game Friday night.

For TigerBlog's money, this was the second-most improbable win he's ever seen in a basketball game (it's going to be really hard to top the comeback the men had against Penn in 1999 at the Palestra and all). That game aside, the women's win over North Carolina State was ridiculous, and it was accomplished for one reason — effort. 

Princeton came from eight down, at 63-55, with 5:44 to go. So what, you say? A lot of teams do that. 

Yes, they do. They don't do them the way Princeton did. This was a one in a, hmm, one in a million? No. One in a thousand? Hard to say. 

How about a one in 24? Or should that be "1 for 24?"

After a 10-0 run to start the third quarter that turned a 41-35 Princeton deficit into a 45-41 lead, the Tigers suddenly went cold from the field. Forget that. Cold doesn't begin to describe it. Princeton went the kind of cold you see in war movies. 

First, Princeton missed 14 shots in a row. That's right. That's 14 straight. Finally, the Tigers ended that streak — only to miss their next nine. That's a 1 for 24 stretch.

You had a 1 for 24 stretch and you won an NCAA tournament game against a team that reached the Elite Eight a year ago? 

Wait, there's more. The same basket that was locked on the inside for Princeton was welcoming in every shot NC State tossed up in the first half. 

In fact, the Wolfpack, after missing their first seven, made 17 of their final 22 of the first half. That's a .773 shooting percentage by a team that shot 43 percent for the season, against a team that held its opponents to 37 percent for the season.

So make that "you had a 1 for 24 stretch and the other team had a 17 for 22 stretch and you won an NCAA tournament game?" The odds of that are a lot greater than 1 in 24.

So there was Princeton, down 63-55 with 5:44 to go. What happened after that was extraordinary. What happened after that is the kind of thing that you don't see too often.

Princeton appeared to be running on fumes. The shots it missed were good ones. There were layups. There were open threes. It didn't matter who it was, where it was. Nothing was falling. The team seemed beaten.

And then it all flipped on a dime. Princeton summoned another wind and upped its defensive intensity by a factor of a lot. Nothing was allowed for NC State. From 63-55, Princeton forced 0 for 5 shooting and five NC State turnovers.

For all that, it wouldn't have mattered had the offense not gotten restarted.

First Grace Stone nailed a three, making it a 63-58 game. The Kaitlyn Chen did the same. Suddenly it was 63-61, with less than a minute to go. Could Princeton finish it off? Yes. How? By getting a steal from Stone with 11 seconds to go and then, out of a timeout, a perfect screen from Madison St. Rose freed up Stone for another three, a no-doubt-about-it three, a one-for-the-history-books three.

Would NC State spoil it by scoring in its last possession, with 4.7 to go. Uh, no. Princeton didn't even let the Wolfpack get a shot off.

Stone and Chen had 22 each. Julia Cunningham had 14, with eight assists.

The most important player, though, had to be Ellie Mitchell. She simply willed the team to find more energy, to keep upping the defensive intensity, to track down every loose ball. Her final stat line: four points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots, five steals. What you can't measure if the impact she had on everyone else.

For Princeton, that's two straight NCAA tournament first-round wins. It's also the first time an Ivy League school has won NCAA tournament games in the men's and women's fields in the same year. 

The men will take on Missouri later today (6:10) in Sacramento. The women will play Utah tomorrow on the Utes' home court; Utah defeated Gardner Webb 103-77 in the first round.

John Mack, the Ford Family Director of Athletics, was in California Thursday and then went to Utah for the women's game. Now he's back to Sacramento for the men and then back to Utah for the women. 

Hey, double the Madness requires that.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tiger Madness

 It's 2048, in the lobby of Frick Chemistry Building, or whatever building isn't even in the planning stage yet.

There's a men's basketball game at home on this night, and there's a special ceremony at halftime. It's the 25th anniversary of that magical night in Sacramento, and now all of the players from that team have gathered for a pregame reception.

Maybe one of those players is now the head coach, or maybe even the Director of Athletics. Wherever they are in their lives and their careers, whatever paths they've taken since Princeton, they've all come back to be together once again, to talk about it all over again, to watch the replay for the who-knows-how-manyieth time.

They'll see Ryan Langborg's driving shot to give them the lead, and then that ridiculous pass that Zach Martini threw. They'll react to both, and to every highlight, as if they've never seen it before.

Princeton defeated Arizona 59-55 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, and in doing so the Tigers added another amazing chapter to two incredible legacies. First, there is the NCAA tournament opening round itself, which celebrates first-round upsets year after year after year. 

And then there is Princeton Men's Basketball. As TigerBlog wrote before the game, when the ball goes up, you have the chance to make history. And that's exactly what Princeton did. 

In doing so, this group accomplished something that will be remembered forever at Princeton. If it can be compared to anything, it would be Princeton's 1996 win over UCLA in the opening round, another big upset, though not quite as big, as this time it was No. 15 over No. 2, as opposed to No. 13 over No. 4 in 1996.

To everyone who said that Princeton won this game against Arizona as a "cerebral" team or by being the "smart guys," well, that is completely missing the point of what happened. Princeton won this game not by out-thinking Arizona but by out-Arizonaing the Wildcats, if such a word exists. If it doesn't, what TigerBlog is saying is that Princeton won because it was the more physical team.

Arizona is a team with great height, like 6-11 and 7-0 leading scorer height. And yet Princeton won the rebounding battle 38-36, had nine offensive rebounds to seven for Arizona and blocked six shots to Arizona's one.

Every Arizona pass was contested. Nothing was give up easily. As a result, Princeton held Arizona to a season low of 55 points, more than 25 below its average. You don't do any of that by out-thinking someone. You do it by imposing your will on them.

Speaking of imposing your will, Princeton shut out Arizona from the under-four media timeout of both halves, finishing the first on an 8-0 run to go from down nine to down one and then finishing the game on a 9-0 run. At one point of the second half, Princeton trailed by 12.

Again, that's not about being smart. It's about being tough. And that's exactly what Princeton did.

If Princeton was just playing a smart game, it never would have overcome 4 for 25 three-point shooting. If good shooting hides a multitude of sins, then playing extraordinarily hard and being extraordinarily physical hides a multitude of bad shooting.

And where did that line come from anyway? Did TigerBlog just think it up? Uh, no. Where do you think it came from?

Princeton won this game in the city where Pete Carril coached for 10 NBA seasons after he left Princeton after that 1996 season. When you think of Carril, you think more of his time in high school and college than in the NBA, but he did make a real impact on the careers of several members of the Sacramento Kings.

And there was something really, really fitting that Princeton played this game in that city in its first season since Coach passed away at the age of 92 last August. 

What would Carril have thought of what Princeton did? He would have had a grimaced, anguished look on his face with every shot that went up early in the shot clock. He would have crushed his rolled-up program (or copy of the game notes) at the back-to-back offensive fouls called against Tosan Evbuomwan.

But man, would he have loved how hard the Tigers played. He also would have loved how the team did it all without having any timeouts left. He would have loved the balanced scoring.

Princeton made every big play down the stretch. Evbuomwan was able to get to the basket and score when the three's weren't falling to keep the team in it and start the comeback from down 47-35.

Langborg's tough driving bank shot gave Princeton its first lead was not easy, and it made it 56-55 with two minutes to go. The biggest moments, though, were yet to come. First there was Langborg's blocked shot on Courtney Ramey with 50 seconds left in the game and eight seconds left on the shot clock.

Then there was the pass that Martini threw. It was one of the best passes TB has ever seen a Princeton player throw, and he saw Mitch Henderson throw some extraordinary ones.

This one came at huge moment, with the shot clock on its way down in a one-possession game. Evbuomwan threw it to Martini on the outside, and then Martini threaded a bounce pass through three Arizona defenders, hitting Caden Pierce underneath. Pierce was fouled and made both foul shots, and then after two Arizona missed threes and one more Evbuomwan foul shot, it was done.

Henderson (now the first to win an NCAA game as a Princeton player and Princeton head coach) didn't run across the court and jump with his arms extended upwards in triumph, like he did as a sophomore point guard on that 1996 team. He reacted calmly, on the outside at least.

On the inside, he had to bursting with pride at how his team had played. It was a reflection of him, after all. Play hard, at all times. Be tough. Know what to do in any situation. Practice hard, and the results will speak for themselves.

A week ago, Princeton was getting ready to play in the Ivy tournament at Jadwin Gym. Now the team is getting ready to take on Missouri Saturday, in a game that will send one of those Tigers to the Sweet 16.

Whatever happens next, what this Princeton team did against Arizona will never be forgotten. Nor should it be.

Princeton had a chance to make history in Sacramento, and it took full advantage of that opportunity.

NCAA Today

The Princeton men's basketball team plays its first-round NCAA tournament game today at 4:10 Eastern when the 15th-seeded Tigers take on second-seeded Arizona in Sacramento. 

The 10th-seeded women play tomorrow, at 10 at night, when they play seventh-seeded North Carolina State in Salt Lake City.

By the way, the basketball Tigers are not the only Tigers who compete in the NCAAs today. Princeton has four, and possibly five, wrestlers who chase their own dreams when the NCAA championships begin in Tulsa. 

TigerBlog starts with basketball.

There are two separate experiences to be had at the NCAA basketball tournament, and both of them create memories for a lifetime.

First, there is all the off-court stuff, beginning with the Selection Show and continuing all week before the ball is tossed up. There is the travel. There are the practices. There are the interviews. There is checking out the venue.

That's the part that the Princeton men's and women's teams have been taking in the last few days, ever since both teams won the championship at the Ivy League tournament over the weekend.

Second, there is the chance to make history, the chance to do something that is talked about forever. Ask anyone who was with Princeton in Indianapolis 27 years ago, when the Tigers knocked off UCLA. Or in Providence in 1989 when the Tigers almost took down Georgetown.

Ask the 16th-seeded UMBC guys who actually did beat a No. 1 seed, Virginia.

No matter what the outcome, when the game begins, you have no way of knowing if you're going to be part of that "One Shining Moment" when it's all over. 

All of that is why it doesn't matter what any "expert" says about who has a chance and who doesn't. It doesn't matter what the seed is. It doesn't matter who has the better pro prospects.

It's all about what happens in those 40 minutes. And the way to pull off a major upset? Well, you could shoot 15 for 20 from three-point range, but that's unlikely. The actual way to make it happen is not to play a perfect game yourself. It's to get the other team to be completely imperfect, first physically and then mentally. First take them out of their game. Then get in their heads.

Wait? We thought this would be easy. Why isn't it?

TigerBlog always laughs when people say Princeton was nearly perfect against UCLA. Actually Princeton shot 37 percent for the game and 29.6 percent from three. What Princeton did was force UCLA into similar numbers and completely take UCLA out of its preferred tempo.

Also, it was 7-0 Bruins at the first media timeout. It all was happening easily for UCLA. Then it was a 19-18 game at the half. By the second half, you could feel the tension on the part of UCLA while Princeton was just doing what it always did, which is to say execute offensively and play as hard as possible. 

That's how you win.

Can Princeton beat Arizona? Of course. Is it easy. No. It's impossible, though, if you don't believe.

As TB mentioned, Princeton Wrestling is also competing on its biggest stage. A year ago, Princeton had two NCAA runners up, both of whom are back for one more shot at winning it all. 

You can read TB's colleague Andrew Borders' excellent feature story on one of them, Quincy Monday, HERE.

Monday is the fifth seed at 165 this time around. His first-round opponent today will be Andrew Sparks in one of two Princeton-Minnesota matchups, as Travis Stefanik at 285 will wrestle Gopher Garrett Joles in a preliminary matchup, with the winner then to take on top seed Mason Parris of Michigan.

The other runner up last year was Pat Glory at 125. Glory is the second seed now, and his first match today is against Reece Witcraft of Oklahoma State. Should Glory advance, he'd have an Ivy League opponent in the Round of 16, either Cornell's Brett Ungar (whom Glory defeated in the EIWA final) or Penn's Ryan Miller.

Princeton will also be represented by Luke Stout, the 23rd seed at 197 who wrestles Cornell's 10th-seeded Jacob Cardenas, who defeated Stout in the EIWA semis.

The fifth Princeton wrestler in Tulsa is Nate Duggan, the first alternate at 184.

You can get the results HERE.

And with that, it's time to go. 

History is waiting to be made by someone today. It might as well be someone from Princeton.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A To Z

Princeton Basketball in the NCAA tournament, A to Z:

A - Arizona

Princeton's opponent on the men's side is Arizona, the two seed in the South. Arizona won the Pac 12 tournament this past weekend, defeating UCLA in the final Saturday evening after finishing second during the regular season. Arizona has a record of 28-6.

B - Berube

Carla Berube, Princeton's head women's coach, has led the Tigers to three Ivy League titles in three seasons. She also has a 4-0 record in Ivy League tournament games, winning the championship in both of her appearances. Princeton is 44-2 against the Ivy League since Berube became head coach.

C - Cunningham

Julia Cunningham has averaged one more assist per game this year than she did a year ago. In fact, her assist average by season has gone from 1.7 to 1.8 to 1.9 and now to 2.9, which leaves her second on the team. Cunningham came to Princeton with the reputation as a big scorer, and she currently has 1,053 career points, five away from tying Allison Cahill for 24th at Princeton. What's most impressive about Cunningham, who is a three-time All-Ivy League selection, is how far she's come as a defender in Carla Berube's system, to wit ...

D - Defense

Princeton's women rank fifth in Division I in scoring defense after allowing an average of 52.5 points per game. The Tigers have led the Ivy League in each of Carla Berube's three years as head coach. North Carolina State averages 71.1 points per game, by the way.

E - Evbuomwan

Princeton's Tosan Evbuomwan was named the Ivy League tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging 21 points and five rebounds per game. Evbuomwan, a unanimous first-team All-Ivy player the last two years and the league Player of the Year in 2022, has 985 career points in three seasons, having missed a full year due to the pandemic. He also has 305 career assists, seventh all-time at Princeton and one more than Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson. Had Evbuomwan had another full season, he would almost surely beaten the Princeton career record of 413, held by Bill Ryan (1981-84). Evbuomwan also was named to the NABC All-District first team.

F - Final Four

Princeton's men have made one Final Four appearance, and that was in 1965. Bill Bradley still holds the NCAA record for points in a Final Four game when he scored 58 in a 118-82 win over Wichita State in the third-place game.

G - Going forward

The winner of the Princeton-Arizona game will play the winner of the game between No. 7 seed Missouri and No. 10 seed Utah State Saturday. The winner of that game advances to the South Region Sweet 16. The winner of the Princeton-North Carolina State game will stay in Salt Lake City to play the winner of the game between No. 2 seed Utah and No. 15 seed Gardner-Webb.

H - Henderson

Mitch Henderson is making his fifth NCAA tournament appearance with Princeton, three of which came as a player in 1996, 97 and 98 and then again in 2017 as head coach. He is 2-2 in his first round games to date.

I - International

Arizona's men's team has nine international players on its roster. Princeton has three, Tosan Evbuomwan (England), Xaivian Lee (Canada) and Leyi Adebayo (Australia). Princeton women's freshman Tabitha Amanze is from Nigeria, and North Carolina State's women's team has no international players. Princeton men's basketball athletic communications contact Elliott Carr is from Australia.

J - Jadwin Gym

Princeton's home court was the site of last weekend's Ivy League tournament, where the Princeton women defeated Penn 60-47 and Harvard 54-48 and the Princeton men defeated Penn 77-70 and Yale 74-65. The Ivy League tournament is relatively new, with this edition just the fifth all-time. Princeton's women have won four of the five titles, while Princeton's men have won two of the five.

K - Kaitlyn

That's Kaitlyn, as in Kaitlyn Chen, the Ivy League Player of the Year and Ivy League tournament Most Outstanding Player. Chen scored 17 points while playing all 40 minutes in Princeton's 69-62 win over Kentucky in last year's NCAA tournament opener and then scored 10 more in the second-round 56-55 loss to Indiana, who this year is a No. 1 seed.

L - Last time

Princeton and Arizona have met only once before, and it was long before any of the current players were born. To be exact, it was on Dec. 27, 1985, in the McKale Center, and Arizona won 54-41 despite a 22-point effort from Tiger guard Mike Harnum. Among the players for Arizona in that game were Steve Kerr, who had 16, and Sean Elliott, who had 15. Perhaps those names are familiar.

M - Minutes

Only one player in the Princeton-North Carolina State game averages at least 30 minute per game, and that's Princeton's Kaitlyn Chen at 33.5. There are five other players who average between 29 and 30 minutes per game: Princeton's Ellie Mitchell (29.6), Grace Stone (29.5) and Julia Cunningham (29.3) and NC State's Saniya Rivers (29.7) and Diamond Johnson (29.4). On the men's side, there are five players who average at least 30 minutes per game: Princeton's Matt Allocco (32.5), Ryan Langborg (30.9) and Tosan Evbuomwan (30.8)  and Arizona's Kerr Kriisa and Courtney Ramey (30.9 each). Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis is at 29.9, and Princeton's Caden Pierce is at 29.8.

N - NCAA Tournament

Princeton's men are making their 26th trip to the NCAA tournament, while the women are making their 10th. The men first played in the 16-team NCAA tournament in 1952, and among the highlights for the program are reaching the 1965 Final Four and the 1967 East Regional final, the 50-49 loss to No. 1 Georgetown in 1989 and the 1996 win over UCLA in the first round (Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson was a sophomore on that team). The Princeton women made their first appearance in 2010, and they have two the Ivy League's three tournament wins: in 2015 against Wisconsin-Green Bay and a year ago against Kentucky.

O - Overtime

If it comes to it, the Princeton women are 0-1 in overtime (having loss to Columbia on Jan. 6) while the North Carolina State women are 1-0 (having defeated North Carolina on Feb. 16 to get a season split with the Tar Heels and former Tiger head coach Courtney Banghart). Princeton's men's team is 2-1 in overtime, having defeated Dartmouth (first meeting) and Penn (second regular season game) and having lost to Yale (second regular season game). Arizona's men have not gone to overtime this season.

P - Palace

Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch. Princeton played in the London Basketball Classic during Thanksgiving weekend (at least American Thanksgiving weekend), in an event that was 11 miles away from Buckingham Palace. Princeton defeated both Army and Northeastern to win the championship.

Q - Quarterly

Princeton's women have cumulatively outscored their opponents in every quarter this season. The Tigers' best quarter has been the third quarter, in which Princeton has outscored its opponents by 115 points (270-155).

R - Rebounds

Princeton's men rank third in Division I in defensive rebounding and 10th in Division I in total rebounds per game. Arizona ranks fourth in Division I in defensive rebounding and ninth in Division I in total rebounds per game.

S - Sacramento

The California capital is the site of the Princeton-Arizona men's game. It's also where Pete Carril coached with the Sacramento Kings for 10 years after he left Princeton following the 1996 season. Carril, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, passed away this past August at the age of 92.

T - Tall

Arizona has five players who are listed as at least 6-10, and two who are listed as 7-0. Of those five, two have started every game: 6-11 Azuolas Tubelis and 7-0 Oumar Ballo, who are the team's two leading scorers. Princeton's tallest starter is Keeshawn Kellman, who is 6-9.

U - Utah

Princeton's women have never before played a game in the state of Utah. The Tigers flew out yesterday afternoon for Salt Lake City, which is on Mountain Time. Both Princeton and NC State are in the Eastern Time Zone, and the game will tip off at 10 PM Eastern, 8 Mountain, Friday night.

V - Veterans

All five Princeton starters from the NCAA tournament games last year will be starting in this year's tournament. The four who will start for Princeton are: Julia Cunningham, Ellie Mitchell, Kaitlyn Chen and Grace Stone. Abby Meyers will start for Maryland as a grad transfer; Meyers, who was the 2022 Ivy Player of the Year and who in Jadwin Gym this past weekend to cheer on her alma mater, is Maryland's second-leading scorer (14.5 per game).

W - Wolfpack

Princeton has never played North Carolina State, though the Tigers have twice played at North Carolina State in the NCAA tournament. NC State brings a record of 20-11 into the tournament, which for the program will be its 28th. Princeton and NC State have one common opponent, and that's UConn, who beat both (UConn 69, Princeton 64 and UConn 91, NC State 69).

X - Xaivian Lee

The Princeton freshman went 8 for 8 from the foul line in the Ivy League tournament. Lee made two with eight seconds to go to seal the semifinal win over Penn and then went 4 for 4 in the final 34 seconds to seal the win against Yale in the final.

Y - Youngsters 

Princeton has the two Ivy League Rookies of the Year: Madison St. Rose for the women and Caden Pierce for the men. This season is the first time Princeton has had the winner for both women and men.

Z - Zero

Double zero, actually. That's the uniform number worn by Ellie Mitchell, who has been the Ivy League's Defensive Player of the Year each of the last two years. She also has never met a loose ball she didn't feel entitled to, so it's not surprising that she ranks 11th in Division I rebounds and rebounds per game. Mitchell had 27 rebounds in the Ivy tournament, but she also added 10 points in each game, nearly double her per game average. Mitchell had the basket in the final minute that put Princeton ahead of Harvard in the final.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Sondre Guttormsen's Own March Madness

TigerBlog will say this again, as he has said every year: The NCAA basketball tournament is the only sporting event that is at its most exciting at the start and then sees that level of excitement dwindle with each successive round.

There is nothing in college athletics quite like the first round of the NCAA basketball tournaments. It's wall-to-wall games on TV, with history-making upsets that join the list of iconic moments that of course includes Princeton-UCLA in 1996.

If you're a college basketball fan, you can't wait to watch. 

If you work for one of the teams that is in the tournament, the time between the Selection Show and tip-off is the most hectic, most exciting, busiest, most fun time you'll ever have in your job. There are hundreds of details to be looked after, from travel arrangements to postseason guides to patches on uniforms to finding a local practice venue and on and on.

And you're doing this all under the guise of hoping that your team will indeed be making history this March.  

As you know, Princeton's men's and women's teams are both in the tournament. They are both heading west, the men to Sacramento to play Arizona Thursday at 4:10 and the women to Salt Lake City to face North Carolina State at 10 Eastern Friday night. The men are a 15 seed; the women are a 10 seed.

The men flew out to California yesterday morning. The women leave today for Utah.

Of course this past weekend was one big Jadwin Gym party with the Ivy League tournaments and the Selections Shows. Still, the great celebrations in Princeton Athletics from this past weekend were not limited to just basketball.

There was, for instance, this:

Princeton's Sondre Guttormsen won his third straight NCAA pole vault championship, following up on winning indoors and outdoors a year ago by taking the indoor championship this past Friday night in Albuquerque. 

Guttormsen cleared six meters, or 19-8 1/4 feet, to tie the NCAA all-time record. Only one other competitor in the field, Zach Bradford of Texas Tech, was within a foot of Guttormsen (Bradford cleared 19-4 1/4). This is the NCAA championships, by the way, and only one competitor could stay within a foot of him.

Another would have, had Sondre's brother Simen not missed the meet due to an injury. The brothers are from the Norwegian town of Ski, a suburb of Oslo. That's pronounced "She," as an aside.

TigerBlog has followed the brothers during their Princeton careers, but he'd never spoken to either until he sat down with them a few weeks ago to talk to them for a feature story for You can read the story HERE.

One of the best parts of watching Sondre's win was seeing Simen there in support and the genuine joy that Simen felt in seeing his brother's win.

It's an extraordinary event, the pole vault. It takes a variety of skills — speed, strength, the flexibility of a gymnast — but more than anything else, in the words of Princeton track and field coach Fred Samara, it takes "fearlessness."

Sondre came into this year's NCAA's as one of two Princeton track and field athletes to have won multiple national titles, along with high jumper Tora Harris, who also had won indoors and outdoors (in 2002). Guttormsen now has three, with a shot at a fourth this spring in the outdoor event.

In case you're wondering, Princeton's other NCAA champs in track and field are Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer in 2014, Donn Cabral in the steeplechase in 2012, Dave Pellagrini in the indoor weight throw in 1980, Bill Bonthron in the mile in 1934, the distance medley relay (Peter Callahan, Russell Dinkins, Austin Hollimon, Michael Williams) in 2013 and the indoor two-mile relay (Charles Norelli, Richard Aneser, Charles Hedrick, Craig Masback) in 1975.

Back to the Guttormsens, there are this summer's World Championships in Hungary, where both Sondre and Simen will compete for Norway. Their goal is next summer's Olympic Games in Paris. Sondre already has one Olympic appearance under his belt after having competed in Tokyo in 2021.

Elsewhere in madness this month, the Princeton fencing teams competed at the NCAA regionals this weekend, and all six individual weapons champs were Tigers: Tristan Szapary and Hadley Husisian in the epee, Mohamed Hamza and May Tiue in the foil and Ronald Anglade and Chloe Fox-Gitomer in the sabre.

The NCAA fencing championships will be held March 23-26 at Duke. Princeton will find out today which of its fencers have qualified.

See? Not all celebrations were in basketball. 

Speaking of basketball, though, coming tomorrow here: Princeton Basketball in the NCAA tournament, A to Z.