Could Princeton actually do this? We've seen Florida Atlantic get into the Elite Eight, beating teams that were better than their regular season opponents. Fairleigh Dickinson beat Purdue despite some of the most unfavorable metrics in the tournament.
Granted, the Ivy League was not a bad conference this year, but was Princeton even the best team in it?
Even if a team like Yale was superior, we're not certain the Bulldogs could take down a squad like Arizona, which fell in a similar manner to previous victims and near-victims the Tigers surprised in the Big Dance. Of course, all of this came long after Princeton went to a Final Four with Bill Bradley, who was one of the premier players in the country, or had the likes of future NBA star Geoff Petrie or Brian Taylor, who set records at the school before leaving early for the pros as a "hardship" case.
We don't see any superstars here, but we have an Ivy who is 23-8, off a win over SEC standout Missouri. They hit the boards, have some size in the backcourt, and can even play a little defense.
They've got a task in front of them as they face a more complete basketball team - the Creighton Bluejays - in this Sweet Sixteen matchup. This takes place at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. You can see it on TBS.
Greg McDermott's team is no joke; last time out they showed the exit to Baylor, the national champs from two years ago who compete in a conference that may have been the best in the nation (Big 12).
Obviously it is no surprise that Creighton is the favorite, according to our friends at BetOnline:
Creighton Bluejays -10
Princeton Tigers +10
Over 140 Points -115
Under 140 Points -105
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There are limits to what Princeton can do; the question is whether Creighton can exploit them, here and now.
The Bluejays can stretch Princeton's defense out. Against Baylor they shot 24 triples, but only 31 from two-point range. They hit eleven treys, and mighty mite guard Ryan Nembhard hit all ten of his free throw attempts on the way to 30 points.
Why Princeton takes 41% of its field goal attempts from beyond the arc is beyond us, as they haven't necessarily been all that proficient (just over 33%). Against Arizona in their huge first round upset, they were just 4-of-25 from downtown. But 'Zona got lazy with its inside defense.
Creighton is not likely to do that, as they are 28th in two-point defense, and that's anchored by seven-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner. They do a great job of taking away three-point attempts, so we wonder whether Princeton might feel lost at some point. The Bluejays defend without fouling and have registered 78% from the charity stripe, and that is a considerable edge as well.
Princeton has re-established some prestige for the Ivies, but this express comes to a halt. We'll lay the points with a team that has a Top 25 efficiency rating a both ends of the floor.
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