inicio mail me! sindicaci;ón

This year's schedule: pros & cons.

Princeton released their 2012-13 basketball schedule yesterday. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises, but with the full slate now known I thought it would be fun to look at the potential pros and cons of this year’s complete fixture list. I hope you’ll add your own sentiments in the comments.

More after the jump.


1. This might be a selfish starter, but the Tigers get their trip to Buffalo out of the way early! A late December drive to northwestern New York was not something I was looking forward to. Beyond that, I like how the Tigers kick off 2012-13 with a formidable-but-not-impossible MAC opponent that went 20-11 last season instead of a cupcake or daunting guarantee game on the road. As was pointed out to me by a site member after the schedule was fully unveiled, based on the median RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin rankings for each team, Princeton will play seven of last season’s top 99 teams this season (the Tigers were also one of these schools). Buffalo is on that list.

2. There’s an absence of pushovers. The best schedules avoid 200+ RPI foes unless absolutely necessary. This is how you schedule competitively without being over your head. The location of the Fordham game in Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center and the contractual obligation to head to Elon combined with the “revenge factor” for last season’s poor showing make both matchups acceptable.

3. There’s a lack of weird one-off road games in hard-to-reach locales like Evansville, Indiana or Huntsville, West Virginia or Olean, New York or Tulsa, Oklahoma (a trip that concluded with the Tigers forced to bus back from Detroit due to a snowstorm) with no return game at Jadwin in the offering. I'm always a proponent of building rivalries with teams in the 200+ mile radius around Mercer County instead of booking a game that involves either a connecting flight or a plane followed by a decent distance bus ride.

4. Unlike 2011-12, the Tigers won’t vanish from their home floor for two months. The longest stretch away from Jadwin actually comes in Ivy play. More on that later.

5. The final game added to the schedule was the one at Syracuse, and adding the Orangemen gives this year’s slate a certain panache that would be lacking sans one top-flight foe.

6. There were gaps that needed to be filled, and to be able to do so with a pair of 20 win MAC schools is excellent work. As Michael James wrote on his Twitter page yesterday: "If Columbia became an honorary member of the Patriot League with its schedule, Princeton chose the MAC with its. A much stronger choice."

7. I already mentioned that Princeton faces seven of last season’s top 99 teams this year. Three of those matchups are going to come at home in the shape of Drexel, Harvard and Bucknell. When Coach Henderson mentioned at Reunions that a game versus the Bison was in the works, I was excited as the future visitors from Lewisburg are the sort of school the Tigers should aspire to Xerox in terms of consistent quality of play, national level of performance and type of players they’re recruiting. I’m a big fan of what Bucknell has accomplished the past decade.

8. If the Bataan Death March of 12 straight DI opponents on the road wasn’t enough, Princeton was forced to play their game at Penn last season the Monday after the close of the Tigers’ annual exam break. By sending the Quakers to the Tigers the second Saturday in January, both teams should enter their Ivy opener on more equal footing.

9. As the schedule’s release dragged, I had fears of a second non-DI opponent like West Alabama or a pair of sub-300 RPI schools materializing. Thankfully, this was not to be.

10. The spacing between games is nice. One game a week through most of December gives the coaching staff additional time to focus on the team in practice instead of rushing right into opponent preparation and scouting. One tilt between the Bucknell matchup on December 22nd and January 5th’s trip to Elon provides for an unexpectedly calm holiday season!


1. I know the coaching staff tried to get another BCS opponent on the 2012-13 schedule, ranging from attempts to visit Big 10 and SEC arenas, but nothing came to pass. The schedule could have used one more “marquee” or “made for TV” game.

2. To the casual observer, this schedule is not as strong as it really is - even though many of the opponents are stronger than the middle and bottom tier teams from elite conferences. This might be a niggling detail, but I’m big on "perception" and I think those who don’t follow college basketball as closely as most of us won’t be as impressed with what Princeton was able to construct.

3. This isn't something past Tiger coaching staffs have ever done to my recollection, but a game in the DC area for Ian Hummer's senior season would have been a sweet touch. Speaking of which, doesn't Towson still owe the Tigers a home game I thought had been deferred until this season?

4. Oof. Seven of nine Ivy games on the road to close the year is r.o.u.g,h s.l.e.d.d.i.n.g. I understand that we’re now at the end of the Ivy League’s five year scheduling rotation and that this year’s conference opponents are an exact flip of last year’s with each home game being replaced by a corresponding road game against the same school, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid five straight home contests or seven of nine away.

Jon Solomon said,

August 30, 2012 @ 11:46 am

Best case non-conference scenario I foresee: 11-3.

Worst case non-conference scenario I foresee: 5-9.

TigerHeel said,

August 30, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

Great points all, Jon. Hear, hear to your third con about the Tigers playing "home" games for departing seniors. UNC has long followed that tradition. It is a classy move and good recruiting ploy.

Also, I will echo your and others' disappointment that the Ivy League cannot find a way to avoid schedules with five consecutive home/away games. That said, I prefer this year's Ivy slate to last year's brutal conference schedule. Here's hoping that the Tigers can jump out to a strong start in Ivy play and not have to work from behind.

John Poole said,

August 30, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

Sorry to see that our series with Siena ended. Both games were competitive and we had a revenge factor this year.

Also, a game against Loyola (MD) would have been interesting and nice for Ian Hummer fans in the Balto-Wash area.

But, on the whole it is an interesting and challenging schedule that should prepare us well for the Ivies.

Paul Witteman said,

August 30, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

Well, all schedules for me are judged against the 27-2 season when Wake or was it NC State and Texas went down at the Meadowlands. the Tar Heels came to Jadwin and went home wounded if not defeated and I'm missing somebody. UNLV and Michigan State were the luck of the draw, of course.

MAC opponents are fine mid-major opposition, and I emphasize MID MAJOR , if not names. As I told Jon, I could do without Elon and Rider in the future, realizing they had to play them this year. Wagner may be the class of the NEC again, even though the Irish undertakers have moved on. I'm sure ESPN called the Syracuse shot, The league is down this year once everyone realizes that Harvard is beatable with their personnel losses and Yale will be poor as will be Penn. So the league RPI will suffer and so will Princeton's as a result.

Here is a trick question for Mitch and Brian if Jon can get them each to answer in each other's presence. Given the state of the guards, which player would each of them choose to buttress the lineup? Mitch or Brian? Mitch would give them speed and playmaking. Brian would give them killer three point shooting. I think he is actually a better shooter than Davis because he was consistent. Mitch said Koon was an old man. Shades of Mooney. He'd better be an old man in a young man's body.

Jon Solomon said,

August 30, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

Paul, that's a great question.

With Bray in the backcourt, I think the 2012-13 Tigers would be better-served with an Earl than a Henderson.

One correction above: The 27-2 season Princeton played AT North Carolina. They visited Jadwin the previous year.


Paul Witteman said,

August 30, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

Ah, the old man's memory is fading, as once did the jumper. The legs went first, of course.
I thought I saw the Princeton plane go over my deck in Maine last night on its way across the pond. The underside had a blinking message like the blimps along the Jersey Shore. I thought it said, " We want Kentucky" It didn't say, "We want Gettysburg."
I'm rooting for Chris Clement to have a breakout season.

Daniel Maass said,

August 31, 2012 @ 12:01 am

I wonder if having a few cupcakes early in the schedule wouldn't have been a good thing if only so we could hold an "open tryout" at shooting guard without worrying about the score. Is Koon really still in the mix at guard? Seems like he's the heir aparent to Hummer to me...

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.