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Princeton Basketball Weekend

Princeton Basketball Weekend

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Princeton Basketball Weekend Tigers host massive games against Brown Yale

Last year, Princeton Tigers claimed an outright Ivy League championship and are back at Jadwin Gymnasium for a monumental weekend of four games against Brown Yale - their biggest tournament since almost knocking off Hoyas during March Madness 1989.

Princeton made history in 1996 by beating defending champion UCLA, despite several close calls.

1. Saturday

Princeton Tigers (14-9, 9-2 Ivy) sit atop the league standings with two impressive victories over Cornell and Columbia. Yale (14-10, 5-4) is only one game behind in third place, while Brown (12-12; 7-5) comes into Saturday's pivotal Ivy matchup as one of four teams still alive in the race for Ivy Madness.

On Friday and Saturday, the Tigers have two major Ivy League games to prepare for: Harvard (11-13; 5-7 Ivy) will look to get back on track against a tough Brown Bears squad; Penn (7-3, 15-8) hopes to extend its winning streak with an at home game against Yale.

Penn is led by senior guard Kayla Padilla, who scored 27 points in their win against Harvard last weekend. She's averaging 16.8 points per game and leads the Quakers with 84 assists on the season.

She has steadily moved up the all-time scoring list at Penn, now sitting with 1,228 points through 70 games for ninth in school history. In their 78-62 win against Harvard on Tuesday night, she was a key factor with 10-for-16 shooting from the floor and making four threes.

Many are aware of Princeton Tigers' success, yet few truly understand why. This program has an unconventional style of basketball which makes opponents uncomfortable and can often balance any advantages larger teams may have when playing smaller programs.

But this style of basketball is so much more than a great game. It can help a team make it to the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers' style has led them to great success and earned them a reputation for rising to any challenge that comes their way. They boast an impressive record against bigger opponents and have made multiple trips to the NCAA Tournament.

For the Tigers to make a deep run in March, they need to win some key Ivy League road games. Over the next couple of weeks, they'll travel to Dartmouth on Friday and Yale on Saturday.

These two games will have the greatest influence on their final Ivy League standings. If they win both of them, they have a great chance of finishing in the top half of the conference.

Losing those games would make it even tougher for them to finish in the top half. That is why it is so critical for the Tigers to remain healthy and confident this weekend and extend their Ivy League winning streak.

On Saturday, the big game is a must-see for all Ivy fans. So if you're searching for Princeton NCAA Tournament tickets, be sure to take a look at our exclusive selection of Final Four tickets!

2. Sunday

On Saturday, Princeton could secure the Ancient Eight regular-season title if it wins both of its games against Brown and Yale. Conversely, if Princeton loses both contests against Dartmouth (currently third in conference standings with a 5-2 record), it would fall behind for the first time this season.

With the loss of two senior leaders, the Tigers will need to fill a void at point guard and forward. EJ Jarvis '23 and junior forward Luke Kolaja '25 both missed last week's game at Cornell with non-COVID-19 illnesses; furthermore, senior center Alausa Dike '20 has been sidelined since late January due to double hip surgery.

Jones had hoped Dike and Jarvis would return to the team before Monday's matchup against Brown, but he wasn't certain whether they would be fit to go.

Doyle and Carril both praised their seniors' performance and leadership during the past season, which included Princeton's first Ivy League tournament appearance since 2012. But with two seniors starting in the starting lineup, it will be up to the younger players to carry the load on this monumental night.

The Tigers boast a talented core of young players, led by sophomores Kieran Cockburn '20 and Jaden Jones '21 as well as freshman Ethan Johnson '22. Both will be instrumental in helping the Tigers overcome an intense Ivy League schedule.

After an impressive start to the season, Dartmouth has lost two of its last three matches. The Big Green were outscored by a combined 48 points in losses to Penn and Harvard - its initial Ivy League opponents this year.

Dartmouth's defense proved the difference against two of the nation's top teams, holding both Penn and Harvard to just 29 points combined - 31.8 less than they had scored prior to the weekend. Chris Ledlum of Harvard and Jordan Dingle of Harvard were held to just 14 points combined, ending a 13 game streak in which each averaged over 20 points.

Ledlum and Dingle were both shooting above 50% from three-point range, but Ledlum could only muster four made shots while Dingle made five.

Jones was shocked that their offense were held to just 18 points for the weekend; he had expected more energy from their young Tigers in recent games. Nonetheless, the Big Green's offense struggled mightily this past weekend.

But the Hoyas never wavered, and kept running their plays that had worked all night long. Their defense on the inside was so effective that it prevented Doyle - who had played so well all night long - from scoring in the second half.

3. Monday

On Saturday, Princeton Tigers have a chance to make a statement against Brown Yale Bears when they host both rivals for two intense games. As the top team in the Ivy League, Princeton will aim to continue its streak of victories over Brown while also keeping its place atop the standings.

Princeton has won eight of the last nine meetings against Brown, including a 67-54 triumph in their initial matchup back in January. Tosan Evbuomwan and Ryan Langborg lead Princeton's scoring attack with both players averaging double figures.

Despite their impressive win streak, the Tigers remain vulnerable against the Bears' offense. Aside from allowing more than a third of their points on threes, the Bears have been shooting well this year - averaging over 50 percent from the field and an impressive 50 percent behind the arc.

But they must play a remarkably good game if they want to come out on top on Monday. Otherwise, the Crimson will drop to 10-10 overall and 3-4 in Ivy League play.

Last Wednesday night, the Tigers suffered a disappointing 87-65 loss at home to Yale in their final Ivy League game. That marked their first defeat against the Bulldogs this season and they have yet to overcome any of the other three teams tied for second place in the Ivy League - Harvard and Penn.

This game is critical for both teams as the Bulldogs try to maintain their hold on third place and close in on the Tigers in the Ivy League standings. Should both teams win, a tiebreaker will determine who takes home the regular season title from the Ivy League.

On Thursday, the NET and KenPom rankings for both schools showed the Bears at 216th in the country while the Tigers are 108th. Furthermore, it's fair to say that the Tigers are an overwhelming underdog against a Brown team only one game behind them in the standings.

On Monday morning, the Princeton Athletic Office will host a breakfast at Jadwin Gymnasium to help get Tigers basketball fans in the mood for the big game. This exciting event promises to get everyone pumped for what promises to be an exciting matchup and provide encouragement throughout the morning.

Enjoy breakfast pastries and drinks as the Princeton Band & Cheerleaders perform before the game. If you'd like to join in on the fun, tickets can be purchased through the ticket office online or at the door.

After the pregame, kickoff for the game will be at 6 p.m. For the next 20 minutes, special warmup shirts can be purchased through the Princeton Athletic Office for just $20.

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