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It's official. It is history for the Princeton Tigers. For the first time in school history, Princeton is going to the Sweet 16. Just the fourth 15th seed ever in the history of the tournament to advance to the round of 16.
You're listening to the Zach Gelb Show. The Princeton Tigers, they're dancing to the Sweet 16. They will have a battle up against Creighton on Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern.
They're now joining us fresh off his 22 point performance in the round of 32 to send the Tigers to the Sweet 16 up against Missouri, which they did a heck of a job over the weekend. It's Ryan Langborg who joins us right now. Ryan, first off, congratulations.
Thanks so much for doing this. How you been? Doing great, man. I'm on cloud nine right now.
So, yeah, having a blast. When did it start to feel real? Like, was there a moment in the last 24, 48 hours you're like, holy crap, we're going to the Sweet 16? Yeah, I think being, we got back to Princeton, we took a red eye after the game. So, I think having a full day here and just kind of letting the dust settle a little bit, it starts to get pretty real and you ask how special of a run it's been so far. But at the same time, we just started scout today for Creighton and job's not done yet. What are people saying to you on campus just wondering? We've got a couple of standing ovations and things, but people are just rolling back from spring break.
So, as it gets busier, I think it'll ramp up a little bit. I know a lot of people are going out to Louisville for the game though, so that'll be fun. Ryan Langborg here with us from the Princeton men's basketball team at 22 points to send the Tigers to the Sweet 16. I want to take you back to the first round game up against Arizona. When you guys win and it's three straight years of a 15-beat and a 2, just what's the lasting memory for you and what are you going to take from that game up against Arizona?
Yeah, it's unforgettable. I think everyone on the team did a tremendous job following the scout and making them uncomfortable on the floor. I mean, it's a 15-2, it's March Madness, it's Magic, it's the best time of the year. Like I said, it's an unforgettable moment for all of us and we're just super excited to keep the run going. And you guys were down 10 in the second half to Arizona. How is this team able to not only get back in the game, but then end up going and win that game when you're up against such a really good team in Arizona and you guys were able to accomplish what you did?
Absolutely. I mean, we just don't get too up or too down. It's a big thing with Coach Henderson and all of us guys on the team are best buddies, so we believe in each other and we know that we're going to tough it out whether they go on a run. I know they're a tough team to come back down 10-2, but it's hard when it's March and everyone's believing in each other and having fun. We're a tough team to stop and I think that holds for a lot of the team still in the tournament. And I love what Mitch Henderson, he joined us on Friday and he said, yeah I get it, it looks like an upset of 15 beat in a 2, but you guys are a gritty team. Where does that confidence come from to allow you guys to just look so cool and calm in a big stage no matter what the score is?
Yeah, I think part of it actually just comes from the whole 15 seed that we received to play Arizona. We just played like we had nothing to lose and I think that's still true. Going into all these games, no one's looking at us saying, oh you guys are supposed to win this game, so let's go play, let's use that to our advantage. Let's go leave everything we have on the court.
If this is our last game, we're going to give it everything we had and we're not going to look back with any regrets. And I also think it helps you guys when you come from a one-bid league in the Ivy League, your postseason starts earlier because it's really win or you go home and you don't get into the NCAA tournament. I'll take you back to obviously 2020-2021 when you guys lost the entire season, the adversity, you came coming back from that and then you lose to Yale. I feel like all those moments, it's like okay, this is our time to shine, right?
Absolutely. I think a lot of us thought that a moment like this could possibly happen last year, like you said. We won the Ivy League and had a really good team going, but I think this year, obviously we're still very skilled and we have all those tangible things, but I think it's our belief in one another, overcoming some of those tough moments in the season. The Ivy League sets us up so well, all the teams have very different play styles, like Cornell set us up for that game against Missouri and things like that. We could take from each one of those tough moments and we know and we're confident that we can overcome anything that we face. What allowed you guys to dominate that game up against Missouri? Because I was just saying this right before you came on, I was actually more impressed with the game on Saturday just because of how dominant you guys were rather than the game on Thursday.
Absolutely. I mean, I think we matched up a little bit better with Missouri in terms of just pierce size, which definitely was helpful on the boards. I think we out-rebounded them by like 14, which gives us shooters a lot of confidence when people like Kate Pierce are going for 16 rebounds in one game, to just get them up and feel really confident. I think we just carried that belief that we got from that Arizona win. We went into halftime and we just had this calmness about us.
Everyone in the group, we had this trust that we were going to take this one home no matter what. What was the thought in the locker room after the game? I know it was elation, I know you guys were having a water fight with Coach Henderson, but when you know you're going to the Sweet 16, what was that kind of feeling in the locker room after the game? It was a bit of relief, obviously, the excitement you mentioned, but it's also kind of excitement to be able to look forward and say, alright, now we have another one coming up, let's continue this fun, let's not let this die out now, let's go as far as we can go, and who knows, maybe you'll see us in a national championship game. That would really be something. That would be incredible. We saw St. Peters last year get to the Elite 8 and they lost in the Elite 8.
How much is that on your mind? I know that's another team from New Jersey, but you guys are going to be linked to those teams that were 15 seeds, and we've seen three of them the last three years go and take down two seeds. We're totally good at that. We want to be compared to some of those teams. Whether we want it to be the case or not, they gave us inspiration, they gave us something to look forward to when it comes to making these upsets.
It's been done before, so we know it's possible. I guess there's something in the water in New Jersey with FDU, St. Peters, it's a great inspiration to all of us. What's your first thought on Kraton when you get a chance to look at them and get ready for the game? They're solid, they're disciplined, but I think we match up pretty well with them. We've just got to make sure we hammer down the scout and we'll be good. I think a real underrated part of this team, and I covered Princeton basketball for a little bit as Ryan Langborg is joining us right now. Brett McConnell, who's one of your assistant coaches, what do you take from Brett McConnell and what should the world know about him? He's a fantastic coach, an even better guy. Whenever he does our scouts and stuff, it seems like we have this statistic, it's called points per possession on defense, where if we hold a team to less than 1.0 points per possession on their offensive possessions, it's a big thing for us.
We win almost every game where we do that, and it just seems that whenever, we call him Coach B-Mac, but whenever Coach Brett McConnell is on the scout, it seems like we hit that mark almost every single time. He's working with us every day, he's everything you could want in an assistant coach. I'm sure you guys get reminded about it all the time, not from Mitch Henderson, but just the nature of playing for Princeton basketball, what he was able to do in the NCAA tournament up against UCLA all these years later, you guys back in the big dance and now in the Sweet 16. When you look at Coach Mitch Henderson and what he's meant to that Princeton program from playing and also now is his time coaching, what do you take away from that? It's an honor to be able to help him get a Sweet 16 as a coach as well. I know he had that big UCLA win, and we get asked about that all the time.
Since even before I was a Princeton student when I was being recruited, they were talking about how special that moment was and how maybe if you come here, you'll have a chance to replicate that. So it's pretty special to be able to give him that celebration and that excitement from both the playing standpoint, but now the coaching standpoint. I think he really deserves it, so we're all elated. Have you seen Toson's game just really develop the last few years? Oh, I mean he's come alive the last few years.
Freshman year, we didn't know exactly what to expect. I had never seen him play because he was coming from England, but I think when he stepped into the gym, everyone knew that this guy could be something special. I think he's proven that he's an elite force and he makes us so agile on offense and defense. He can guard multiple positions and really hurt Missouri because they were focusing on crashing in on him when he gets to the rim.
He's so good at passing and finding guys with his vision, so it makes all of our jobs super easy. The game you had, to be able to do that, to send your team to the Sweet 16, what's that lasting impact for you individually? I know you've been having a great year all throughout the season, but to be able to do that on the big stage and make everyone know who Ryan Langborg is, what does that mean to you? It means everything, but it's more the fact that our team is in the Sweet 16 because it could have been any one of us on that day that we were able to have the shots go in. Blake Peters, I think, made even more of an impact than I did. It's really cool to be able to live out my dream and have a good performance in March Madness, but like I said, I couldn't have done that without Toussaint and these other guys setting me up and yelling at me in the middle of the game to shoot it whenever I'm open. It's always nice to have that confidence behind you. I'll tell you, some of those younger guys like Kaden and you mentioned Blake, they don't look like they're freshmen and sophomores, I'll tell you that. No, they play unafraid and that's the best thing you can have out of an underclassman.
Everyone makes mistakes, but if you play with no regrets, then usually your effort will make up for those. It's really remarkable. It's been a heck of a story to see you guys now get to the Sweet 16. Good luck, enjoy coming up, and we'll see if you guys get the Elite 8, but really appreciate you doing this today. Thank you so much.
Thanks for having me. Hammock. Check. Arnold Palmer.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 20:43:08 / 2023-03-20 20:49:03 / 6