#72 Princeton Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Princeton Tigers
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #72
Conference Rank: #1 Ivy League
Princeton finished last year’s Ivy League campaign with an impressive 12-2 mark. However, that was not enough to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The losses at Yale and Harvard were too much to overcome and it was Yale that claimed the conference crown with a 13-1 record. But with five starters returning, this season the Ivy title will have to go through Princeton. Henry Caruso, a 6-4 small forward, led the team with 15.0 points and 6.2 rebounds last season and he will compete for conference Player of the Year accolades during his senior season. Caruso can shoot the ball very well, but he does most of his scoring by attacking the basket.
2015-16 Record: 22-7, 12-2
2015-16 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Mitch Henderson
Coach Record: 96-53 at Princeton, 96-53 overall
Who’s Out:
The lone loss for Princeton is Mike Washington. He averaged just 3.6 minutes in 17 games during his senior season. That leaves a whole slew of talent returning to a team that won 22 games and reached the NIT last year.
Who’s In:
Richmond Arariguzoh will look to add some depth in the frontcourt and Vittorio Reynosa will do the same in the backcourt, but Coach Mitch Henderson does not need any of the incoming freshmen to do anything at all this year. Not only are the top 12 minute earners back, but so is Hans Brase. Brase, a 6-9 forward, missed all of last season with an injury. Back in 2014-2015, he averaged 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. The problem for Princeton will be finding enough minutes for everybody.
Who to Watch:
It will be difficult to get Brase back in the starting lineup with so much size already on the roster. Pete Miller was the big man in the starting lineup last season. The 6-11 senior is not a dynamic scoring threat like Brase, but he did average 6.1 rebounds and a team high 1.2 blocks. If Coach Henderson wants to play big, like he did at times in 2014-2015, he will find a way to get Miller and Brase into the starting lineup. With Caruso, Spencer Weisz and Steven Cook all 6-4 or 6-5 forwards who have size and shooting ability, Princeton has some flexibility. Weisz is the best all-around player of the bunch. On top of his 10.8 points per game, he averaged 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Weisz also connected on a team high 63 three-pointers. Cook had a very good junior campaign too, averaging 11.7 points and 4.1 rebounds. It will be tough to take any of them out of the starting lineup, but that is a good problem to have. Alec Brennan, Noah Bramlage and Jackson Forbes will provide some frontcourt depth after seeing limited minutes in 2015-2016. However, with all of that depth, none of them will be asked to do too much.
Final Projection:
Amir Bell and Devin Cannady are the main guards for the Tigers. Bell will run the point again. He is not the best shooter around, but he can attack the basket and finish or find one of his teammates. With so many other scoring threats on the team, the Tigers will be happy if he averages 9.1 points per game again this time around. Cannady will have competition from one of his teammates for the title of best sixth man in the conference. Last season he did not start a single game, yet ranked third on the team in scoring with 11.6 points per game. Cannady is a superb shooter and connected on 45.6 percent of his three-point attempts last season. With his offensive spark off of the bench, Princeton is absolutely loaded with scoring options. Throw in more guards like Myles Stephens and this is a team that is amazingly deep and amazingly experienced. This group has grown up together and they keep getting better with every season. Following a 12-2 finish and a trip to the NIT, there is only one other place for Princeton to go.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Amir Bell, Junior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Spencer Weisz, Senior, Forward, 10.8 points per game
Henry Caruso, Senior, Forward, 15.0 points per game
Steven Cook, Senior, Forward, 11.7 points per game
Pete Miller, Senior, Forward, 6.6 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.1 (39th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.6 (89, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (57, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.6 (185, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.7 (14, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.3 (31, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.1 (129, 3)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (81, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (77, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (64, 2)