Previewing Princeton

(Pomeroy moved his stats behind a paywall, so there will be no more links to the scouting reports and such. Sorry about that. Statsheet has all the same data, it just isn't as well organized.)
2011 Stats
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

Princeton Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.3 97
Turnover Rate 22.5 283
Off Reb Rate 30.0 266
FTA/FGA 33.1 289
Princeton Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 51.9 51
Turnover Rate 18.7 86
Off Reb Rate 30.5 241
FTA/FGA 36.6 200

 

 

 

 

 

Last season was the culmination of Sydney Johnson's reclamation project at Princeton, or so he must have felt, anyway, since he moved on to Fairfield during the offseason.

Johnson's rebuilding efforts worked quickly, as the program went from six wins in his first season to 13 in his second, 22 in his third, and 25 in his fourth and final season. He decreased the team's reliance on the three-pointer and built a defense predicated on solid interior play and defensive rebounding. They won the Ivy League in 2011 and almost upset Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.

They lost a couple of key contributors off that team, though--Dan Mavraides was an excellent outside shooter and a primary contributor. Kareem Maddox was the team's best interior scorer, defensive rebounder, and shot blocker; he'll be especially difficult to replace. But new Franklin C. Cappon-Edward G. Green '40 Head Coach (that's what they call the position) Mitch Henderson has enough pieces to be competitive in the Ivy League, and Johnson left him plenty of size.

Henderson has spent his entire career coaching the Princeton style (he spent the last decade at Northwestern), and it remains to be seen if he makes the Tigers back into a perimeter-oriented team. Last year just 31% of their field goal attempts were threes, a proportion below NCAA average. This team isn't really built to hoist up a lot of long-range shots--its go-to scorer attempted zero threes last season--and doesn't have what one would call a diverse array of deep threats.

Starters:

Douglas Davis (5-11, 157) -- Davis has been a heavy contributor since he stepped foot on campus, but he's never been much of a distributor of the basketball. Not sure if that changes this season. He's used to taking a lot of shots, though, inside and out. He hit 38.5% of his 179 three-point attempts in 2011 and should be State's primary perimeter concern.

T.J. Bray (6-5, 205) -- Bray is one of the guys with a bigger role this year; he played in all 32 Princeton games a year ago but wasn't much of a factor in any sense. He attempted less than 9% of the team's shots while he was on the court, a Soroye-worthy effort if ever there was one.

Will Barrett (6-10, 208) --Barrett played sparingly during his first two seasons at Princeton so it's tough to know what to expect. He'll probably shoot as many threes as he does twos.

Ian Hummer (6-7, 230) -- Hummer is gonna have to be the man for this team, and if the 17 shots he took in the season-opener are an indication, he's a good bet to increase his usage this season. As a sophomore in 2011, he improved in almost every category, including two-point and free throw accuracy, offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, block rate, and turnover rate. He's got a bright future in the Ivy League. Against teams like NC State, though, he may have a tough time without the support he had a year ago.

Brendan Connelly (6-11, 255) -- Connelly started 30 games last year but was a light contributor at the offensive end and committed a lot of fouls defensively. Could be important to this team for his rebounding, but I don't know what they will count on beyond that.

Bench:

Patrick Saunders (6-8, 205), Mack Darrow (6-9, 230), Ben Hazel (6-5, 192), Jimmy Sherburne (6-3, 197). Saunders and Darrow both were efficient contributors as role players a year ago; they'll shoot it inside or out.

Princeton Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 44.4 18
Turnover Rate 23.7 20
Off Reb Rate 29.0 32
FTA/FGA 37.4 174
Princeton Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.1 77
Turnover Rate 18.5 269
Off Reb Rate 26.6 5
FTA/FGA 35.4 116

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson made good use of his team's size at this end of the floor. While they weren't known for forcing a lot of turnovers, they were good at preventing three-point attempts and funneling opponents into their stingy interior defenders and cleaning up the glass. That's a recipe for success as good as any other, and they've been the Ivy League's dominant defensive presence in conference play over the last two seasons.

Henderson's task is to keep that going. If they still aren't going to force many turnovers, it's imperative for them to continue taking care of the defensive boards or they risk a collapse at this end of the floor.

Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by nine.

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