When I looked at the stats of Princeton and Air Force last season, I got the impression that Tigers coach John Thompson III was playing Princeton-lite ball. Air Force played at a pace about 5-10% slower than the Tigers, and relied on the 3 pointer more. This resulted in a few games with freakishly low offensive rebounding numbers for the Falcons.
It’s more fair to say that new Princeton coach Joe Scott employed "Extreme-Princeton-Ball" at Air Force- seen on the Game Show Network nightly, by the way, with that guy who should have won ESPN’s Dream Job. EPB was in effect against Bucknell last night, with the Tigers getting only one offensive rebound for the game. On a useless statistical note, that may hold up as the lowest total for any team in any game all season. Last season, only once did a team fail to grab any offensive boards in a game and that was a 2-24 Dartmouth team vs. Quinnipiac.
Scott’s Tigers took 18 of their 39 shots from beyond the arc. Each team had about 53 possessions – closer to the absurdly low Air Force pace of the mid-50s than last year’s Princeton pace of near 60. Tonight’s game against Syracuse should be a little faster, because Syracuse will want it that way. But in college hoops, the team with the unusual style, be it fast or slow, often gets its way. So while Northern Colorado’s 54 points were barely more than half of what the Orange had last night, if Princeton gets to 54, this could well be a tight game.