inicio mail me! sindicaci;ón

Tuesday News:

Wednesday, March 21st:
Robert Morris vs. Fairfield - 7:00 pm ET - CIT
Washington State vs. Oregon State - 10:00 pm ET - CBI - HDNet

In addition to our recap, read about Princeton's last game of the season on, in the Trentonian, in the Tribune-Review, in the Post-Gazette, on CBS Pittsburgh and on

Scoring 101, Oregon State (21-14) advanced to the College Basketball Invitational semifinals with a 20 point win over TCU.

Tim Doyle says that the plug should not be pulled on Bill Carmody.

Around the Ivy League: The season also ended for Penn (20-13), who lost to Butler 63-53 in the CBI.

Stuart Schulman said,

March 20, 2012 @ 11:16 am

This group of players raised the bar for themselves. They were playing so well--and were so well coached--that (reasonably or not) there was an expectation that the team could waltz into a Big East opponent's gym and pick them apart. The fact that yesterday's first half letdown was such a surprise--that stands as testament to what the team accomplished. Congratulations and thanks to all who were a part of this enjoyable 32-game run.

Jon Solomon said,

March 20, 2012 @ 6:42 pm


Thank you for putting so well something I wanted to capture in my recap but was unable to pin down. The first 20 minutes really were surprising because it had been so long since something like that happened involving these players.



Steven Postrel said,

March 23, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

There definitely was a big improvement over the course of the season--I actually thought the Tigers were the best team in the league by the end and I had hopes for an upset at Pitt. That said, the team never quite solved its defensive weaknesses and it seemed like the extra effort needed to compensate for those weaknesses evaporated in both CBI games.

In particular, there is no way such a big team (that rarely sent people on fast-break runouts) should have been so inconsistent on the defensive glass. I think back to the previous season and visualize the many times at key moments when Dan or Kareem (as well as Ian) exploded with power to rip the ball down in a crowd. TJ took up some of the slack this year, but Ian can't be everywhere.

Coach Henderson talked about being a strong defensive team, but sometimes after so-so performances he pronounced himself satisfied with the D. It wasn't until after the first Penn game that he suggested the team might have to win more by outscoring people.

It may be my imagination, but I detect a doctrinal and cultural split among the Carril coaches: The JTIII/Sydney Johnson school stresses defense, rebounding, and physical play more than Carril himself (I remember how surprised I was when Princeton under JTIII started outrebounding opponents for the first time in my memory). The Carmody/Henderson school believes in defense, of course, but doesn't put the same emotional primacy on it; instead, they place a lot of emphasis on offensive efficiency and getting really good shots. (Scott/Mooney and Robinson can be left for another day.)

This team is going to have to figure out who it intends to be next year: A physical, intense group that fights hard on and through every defensive possession, or a finesse team that husbands more of its physical and emotional energy for executing the offense. Ideally, you'd like to do both, but there are usually tradeoffs in terms of player skills, practice time, what kinds of mistakes you make the biggest fuss about, and so on. Harvard made a choice this year to slow down its game and focus more on stopping people, which paid off for them over the course of the season. Its not obvious that the same kind of shift would benefit the Tigers next year, but that seems to me to be the key question that MH needs to answer this off-season.

Jon Solomon said,

March 23, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

Steven, great stuff.

This might be simplistic but for comparison here's the Adjusted Offensive & Defensive Efficiency between this year and last year...

2011-12 Offense: 79th
2011-12 Defense: 121st

2010-11 Offense: 100th
2010-11 Defense: 76th

Steven Postrel said,

March 26, 2012 @ 1:01 am

Those numbers reflect what I've perceived this year. It's fun to watch the offense look better than it has in years--the team actually hit a lot of backdoor plays down the stretch this season, in addition to a lot of slick post entries, which was refreshing. On the other hand, I also find it fun to see dread in the faces of opposing teams and coaches when they know that they are probably going to look bad and struggle to score on offense. So on balance pragmatism should reign about which way to go.

My guess is that the defensive path is the one to stress. Watching the NCAA tournament, the gritty defensive squads that occasionally have scoring problems (South Florida, Louisville, Xavier, Cincinnati, Kansas, Wisconsin) seem to have done better than the facile scorers who sometimes have defensive letdowns (Duke, St. Mary's, Baylor, Florida, Missouri). I'm sure there's some stat analysis that will support or debunk this conjecture, but given the specifics of Princeton's returning players (tall, smart, and mostly experienced in the offense) I'd like to see the team focus more on shutting opponents down.

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.