Penn men's basketball has already beaten Princeton once this year, but on Tuesday night, the Quakers will try to do it again — except this time it will be on the road.
A win against the Tigers would not only give Penn a sweep over its rival, but would also solidify the Red and Blue's standing atop the Ivy League. Ahead of the big game, three DP sportswriters made their cases for the biggest keys to a Quaker victory.
Bench production — Yosef Weitzman (Sports Editor)
In Penn and Princeton’s first game this season, the Quakers’ role players scored nine of the team’s 76 points, and the Tigers got eight out of their 70 points from the bench.
If that doesn’t seem like a lot, it's because it isn’t. But, what was different about that game compared to Tuesday’s rematch is that both teams had plenty of rest both before and after the game. Neither team had any other games within six days of the contest.
This week, Penn and Princeton don’t have that same luxury. Both teams played Ivy League back-to-backs last weekend, and both teams will have another back-to-back starting on Friday. To make the situation even more extreme, both teams are coming off of overtime games, as the Red and Blue needed an extra period to take down Brown, and both of Princeton’s games this weekend went long.
With fatigue figuring to be a major factor, whichever team can better utilize its depth should be in great position to pull out the victory.
Controlling the paint — Danny Chiarodit (Associate Sports Editor)
The winner of Tuesday’s game will be the team that controls the paint.
For Princeton, this entails limiting AJ Brodeur’s impact on both sides of the ball. The sophomore forward for Penn has shown that when he’s on, he can be a dominant scorer on the low block. The Tigers will need to make sure that he doesn’t get comfortable down low; they can do this by putting constant pressure on him and forcing him to pass out of double teams.
On defense, Brodeur, alongside junior forward Max Rothschild, makes his presence felt both by altering and blocking shots. Thus, the matchup between Princeton’s guards slashing to the basket and the twin towers of Brodeur and Rothschild will be an intriguing one.
In Penn’s home victory against the Tigers in the Ivy opener in early January, the Quakers outscored Princeton by 12 points in the paint and also won the rebounding battle 32 to 28. While Brodeur and Rothschild have been a major reason for these types of interior victories, all five players on the court continue to be important, both in finding the big men for easy buckets and playing sound team defense.
Princeton's star guard Devin Cannady will be a difficult assignment for the Quakers, but a good way to neutralize him is to limit any uncontested layups that could get him going.
Shooters shoot — Jonathan Pollack (Senior Sports Editor)
This game is going to come down to which team's top scorer can establish himself first. In the first meeting between the two teams, Penn sophomore guard Ryan Betley exploded for 19 first-half points. His efforts in the first 20 minutes allowed Penn to take a nine-point lead at the half.
While Betley and Princeton's top scorer, junior guard Devin Cannady, both ended the game with 21 points, Betley's first-half heroics helped open the floor up for the rest of the team in the second half. Max Rothschild and AJ Brodeur each had 10 points in the final 20 minutes, and, while Cannady stuck tight to Betley for most of the half, his hot start caused the Tigers to overcommit while guarding him.
Cannady is one of the best scorers in the Ivy League, but he was slower to get going in the January matchup. If he starts better on Tuesday, the Quakers will have trouble containing all of Princeton's offensive threats without leaving someone open.