BUFFALO- Princeton will open the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Round of 64 on Thursday in Buffalo.
The Tigers are a 12-seed - a spot coveted by March Madness underdogs.
With a little luck, Princeton will upset 5-seed Notre Dame. But, Irish fans are everywhere, and Buffalo is no exception.
As the crowd gets louder, the Tigers have to be focused. They have to be poised. And, they have to hit shots.
But first, they have to hit the books.
Because of how the school schedule played out, some of the Tigers have mid-term exams the day before the Tournament opener.
"i think we have close to 20 mid-terms this week," said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson. "We have two rooms at the hotel, and one room is for studying, and half the team is in there at 8 a.m. It's what we do."
"Certainly, it's tough," admitted senior Spencer Weisz. "But, at the end of the day, it's what we signed up for. By coming to Princeton University, you know you have to balance academics as well as athletics."
So, Princeton brought its 6th Man to Buffalo: Professor Gene Grossman.
Grossman is a faculty advisor to the team and will proctor the exams.
"I told them the night we got here, 'I'm pretty sure they're the only team, out of 68, that's thinking about mid-term exams'," said Grossman. "It's not just mid-terms. Six of the seniors are writing senior theses."
"While there will be studying, most of the studying will be done on Notre Dame," Weisz declared.
But, the biggest test awaits.
Pass, and advance to the second round for the first time since 1998. Or fail, and go home.
Watch out for Princeton: a 12-seed armed with 3-point shooters...and #2 pencils.
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