As the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament is in full swing, all eyes are on the top seeded teams, such as Monmouth and Siena, to see who will come out on top. However, one team that has caught the attention of many is Princeton, who is not even a member of the MAAC.
Princeton, a member of the Ivy League, has been on a mission this season, winning their last 15 games and finishing the regular season with an impressive 16-1 record. While the Ivy League does not have a conference tournament, Princeton is still making waves in the postseason with their strong performances.
Many are wondering if Princeton is the next Saint Peter’s, a team that shocked everyone last year by winning the MAAC tournament as the No. 6 seed and securing an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. While the Tigers are not eligible for the MAAC tournament, there are several similarities between the two teams.
Both Princeton and Saint Peter’s rely heavily on their defense, with the Tigers being ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 52.5 points per game. Additionally, both teams have a balanced scoring attack that doesn’t rely on just one or two players to carry the load.
The Tigers have been led by senior guard Carlie Littlefield, who is averaging 17.7 points per game and was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. However, they also have several other players who can contribute on any given night, such as senior forward Bella Alarie and freshman guard Grace Stone.
While Princeton may not be able to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament through a conference tournament, they still have a chance to earn a bid through an at-large selection. However, they will have to continue their strong play in order to impress the selection committee.
As for Friday’s tournament action, the women’s quarterfinals will feature some exciting matchups. Top seeded Monmouth will take on No. 9 Rider, while No. 2 Marist will face off against No. 7 Manhattan. No. 3 Fairfield will play No. 6 Iona, and No. 4 Quinnipiac will go up against No. 5 Canisius.
On the men’s side, the quarterfinals will also feature some intriguing matchups. Top seeded Siena will take on No. 9 Fairfield, while No. 2 Saint Peter’s will face off against No. 7 Marist. No. 3 Rider will play No. 6 Niagara, and No. 4 Monmouth will go up against No. 5 Quinnipiac.
While all eyes may be on the top seeded teams, don’t count out the underdogs, such as Princeton, who may be able to pull off their own version of a Saint Peter’s-like upset. The MAAC tournament is always full of surprises, and this year should be no exception.