Interview Conducted 10/28/2008
Before the 1988-89 college basketball season, the NCAA considered removing automatic NCAA Tournament bids of teams from small conferences.
These teams were generally non-competitive in the first round against their opponents, who were #1 and #2 seeds.
The #16 seed Princeton Tigers of the non-scholarship Ivy League forever changed the thinking of the NCAA hierarchs.
Led by Ivy League Player of the Year Bob Scrabis, the 1988-89 Princeton Tigers nearly pulled off a monumental upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against the #1 team in the nation, the Georgetown Hoyas.
The final regular season game before the NCAA Tournament seeding was the Big East Conference Championship between Georgetown and Syracuse. The Princeton Tigers watched the game on television waiting for the selection show. The Hoyas’ won 88-79 with a pressing defense that overwhelmed Syracuse.
SCRABIS: “When the selection show started, the first game they showed was Georgetown and us. I think we were excited and me being the only senior and captain of the team, I had to sort of keep my composure.”
During practices leading up to the tournament, Head Coach Pete Carril instructed Princeton’s second team to mimic Georgetown’s pressing defense against the starters.
SCRABIS: “They were told just to press us all over the place. We were having all kinds of trouble getting our offense to function against our second team. We knew we had a tough game ahead of us.” Continue reading