Princeton men’s and women’s basketball punch their tickets to March Madness
For the second time in school history, the Princeton men’s and women’s basketball teams will both play in the NCAA Tournament after each team won the Ivy League Championships held on campus this past weekend.
The men’s team, a 15-seed, will travel to Sacramento, California, to play Arizona University, a number 2 seed, on Thursday, March 16 at 4:10 p.m. (EDT), broadcast on TNT. This will be the Princeton men’s basketball team’s 26th NCAA Tournament appearance.
The 10th-seeded women’s program, playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in program history, is slated to play 7th-seeded North Carolina State University in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, March 17 at 10 p.m. (EDT), broadcast on ESPN 2.
The last time that both Princeton teams made it to March Madness was 2011.
The Ivy League’s postseason tournament, also known as Ivy Madness, was first played in 2017, and this weekend it was hosted at Princeton’s Jadwin Gymnasium for the first time.
In another first, this was the first time that both of the Ivy Madness championships were won by the same school.
On Sunday night, the Princeton community came together to celebrate the programs at Jadwin Gym with a “Selection Sunday” watch party as both squads discovered their fate for the NCAA March Madness tournament.
Among the festivities, Franklin C. Cappon-Edward C. Green ’40 Head Coach Mitch Henderson, Class of 1998, and Women’s Head Coach Carla Berube spoke to the crowd about the excitement around the two programs.
“I see Princeton basketball through coach [Pete] Carril's eyes,” Henderson said, explaining how the team has worn a patch on their uniforms dedicated to the late, longtime Princeton men’s basketball coach.
Henderson added: “We've had a lot of tough moments but I always felt that coach would say to us, 'You are what you want on the court when you are off the court' ... I see that reflected in both programs."
“It's been an amazing weekend, just an incredible journey for our team,” said Berube. “I couldn't choose a better teammate than I have in Mitch [Henderson] ... to have both of our teams win here in front of an amazing crowd, we couldn't have written a better script than that.”
Princeton Tigers both crowned Ivy League Champions after weekend wins
On Friday, March 10, the top-seeded Princeton women’s program met the University of Pennsylvania Quakers for an afternoon semi-final contest, which began with a 16-0 scoring run for the Tigers.
Junior Kaitlyn Chen, the 2023 Ivy League Player of the Year, led the game in scoring with 24 points. Ivy League Freshman of the Year Madison St. Rose added 12 points of her own, while Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year junior Ellie Mitchell completed a double-double, with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Tigers came away with a 60-47 victory.
In the tournament finale on the evening of March 11, Princeton took on the Harvard Crimson in what became a back-and-forth matchup for all 40 minutes. The Tigers erased an 11-point deficit to win the game, 54-48, and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Chen added 21 points while Mitchell earned another double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
For their exceptional performances, Chen was named Ivy Madness Most Outstanding Player and Mitchell was named to the All Tournament Team.
In the men’s basketball semi-final on March 11, the Tigers took on the Penn Quakers, the second time the two teams have met at Ivy Madness.
Throughout the contest, senior Tosan Evbuomwan, a unanimous first team All-Ivy League pick this season, added 21 points and became the ninth player in program history to reach 300 assists. Ivy League Freshman of the Year Caden Pierce recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
On March 12, the Tigers topped Yale University 74-65, in a game where they kept the lead the entire second half, and secured the win with 9-for-12 foul shooting down the stretch. Junior Matt Allocco and senior Ryan Langborg combined for 29 points as Evbuomwan added 21 of his own to the score.
Pierce was named to the All Tournament Team, with Evbuomwan earning Ivy Madness Most Outstanding Player.