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Feb.24, 2010

Vol. 110, No. 9

Schedule tougher teams

As an avid college basketball fan, I was surprised to see a blog entry on Yahoo! Sports arguing for Cornell’s legitimacy for an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament after its close loss to Kansas. Regardless of the argument, it’s still surprising to see Ivy League schools such as Cornell and Harvard earning this sort of national respect. As a school with one of the most storied basketball histories, Princeton needs to work to become relevant on the national stage again, or at least stay relevant in the Ivy League. This all starts with scheduling.

While Princeton plays schools such as Maine and Lafayette, Cornell and Harvard are playing Kansas, Alabama, UConn, and Boston College. These tough non-conference games not only increase their national exposure, but help them prepare for the conference season. While Princeton did play Cal this year, we need to work on improving our strength of schedule and really challenge our team. If we want to become more competitive, we need to compete against the best and give the team more experience against tougher competition, as well as increase our appeal to recruits. There is very little to lose, since no Ivy League team probably will ever earn an at-large bid to the Big Dance and we only need to win the conference.

Princeton once was known as the giant-killer; it’s time that we go back to fighting the giants.

James Yan ’09
Stanford, Calif.

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1 Response to Schedule tougher teams

R.W. Enoch Jr. '09 Says:

2010-03-01 09:21:04

Playing name-brand teams only helps recruiting if you can win, or at least have a shot at winning, those games. Teams compose schedules based on how talented they think they will be that year. Sure, Cornell played Kansas and Alabama this year, but 3 or 4 years ago -- before they had a national profile -- they played Quinnipiac and Keuka College. At that time, Princeton was expected to be good (while simultaneously floundering under our former coach), so games against teams like Duke, Temple, and Stanford were on the schedule; however, after embarrassing losses to Carnegie-Mellon and Monmouth, they began to schedule easier to avoid embarrassing, loss-addled seasons like Penn is having this year. I'm confident that, if this year's team pushes through the end of the season with some level of success (and possibly an appearance in a lower-tier postseason tournament), the schedules will feature more of the name-brand teams you're looking for in years to come.
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