Two stats to know before Monday’s CBI quarterfinal clash in the Jungle:
1. Princeton is ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense at 52.3 points per game.
2. Through March 14, IUPUI shot 51.1 percent, second-best in the nation.
There are of course other things to consider when sizing up Monday’s game (rebounding, free throw shooting, crowd noise) but there’s a good chance that the key to the game is what happens when IUPUI’s good shooters try to get good looks against the Tigers stingy (and good) defense.
I almost hate to use this as an example because I’m a Kansas fan, but guess who is ranked second in the country in scoring defense… yep, Northern Iowa.
The good news for Jaguars fans is no one really has held IUPUI down offensively. The Jags have not scored fewer than 57 points all season. Princeton has held its opponent below 57 points 21 times this season.
The Tigers do have flaws. They went 21-8 this season, but let’s take a closer look at that. Princeton went 11-3 in the Ivy League to finish second behind Cornell. Princeton lost both matchups to Cornell (who plays Wisconsin today in the NCAA tournament) by three points each time. The Tigers other Ivy loss was to an awful Brown team. They beat a decent Harvard team twice.
The only NCAA tournament team on Princeton’s nonconference schedule was California. The Bears won that game at home by 21. Princeton did go 4-4 in nonconference road games, with the wins at St. Joseph, Central Michigan, UNC-Greensboro and Marist. The bottom line is Princeton doesn’t have a win over a team that has as good as resume as IUPUI. Harvard is comparable, but not better.
While Princeton has been to 29 postseason tournaments compared to 2 for IUPUI, this group of Tigers doesn’t have any postseason experience beyond last week’s 65-51 win over Duquesne.
While the Tigers have never played IUPUI, they have had some luck in Indy. This was where they beat UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.
The winner of Monday’s 7 p.m. game plays either Boston University or Morehead State in the CBI semifinals Wednesday.
Here’s how the other CBI games have gone so far:
Boston U beat Oregon State 96-78.
Morehead State over Colorado State 74-70
VCU beat George Washington 79-73
College of Charleston defeated Eastern Kentucky 82-79
St. Louis over Indiana State 73-64
Green Bay over Akron 70-66
The other two quarterfinals are VCU-Charleston and St. Louis-Green Bay.