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No stranger to big upsets, Princeton will need another to get to NCAA Tournament Elite Eight

Princeton fans cheer on men's basketball team as they head to Sweet 16
Princeton fans cheer on men's basketball team as they head to Sweet 16 01:34

PRINCETON, N.J. -- In college hoops, the Garden State has turned into the Cinderella State.

First it was Saint Peter's. Then it was Fairleigh Dickinson. Now, Princeton has joined the list of New Jersey schools that have busted NCAA Tournament brackets.

CBS2 went to the school's Central Jersey campus on Wednesday for the team's send-off rally.

Spring break at Princeton is supposed to be quiet. Yeah, not this year.

The Tigers are just the fourth No. 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16, after shocking No. 2 Arizona and No. 7 Missouri last week in the South Region.

"I'm shaking my head. I mean, this is the path I walk to my office every since day," Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson said. I'm pinching myself. This is amazing. It's really hitting home that we are going to the Sweet 16."

"Athletics, in general, is something our school hasn't really been on the center stage for," one student said.

When asked if there is more pride in being the top-ranked academic school in the nation or being in the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, a student said, "Good question. I mean, personally for me, being in the Sweet 16 is awesome."

Princeton's players walked through a sea of fans at the send-off rally for their game Friday night against No. 6 Creighton in Louisville, Kentucky.

It's not the first time Princeton has worn the glass slipper. Back in 1996, the Tigers knocked off defending national champion UCLA. Now, the star of that iconic March Madness moment is back as Princeton's head coach.

"We're gonna take that photo down as soon as I can get my hands on it. It's time to get rid of that photo and this is the right time to do it," Henderson said.

Much like that '96 team, this Princeton squad is winning with fundamentals like accurate passing, rebounding, and physical play, all reinforced by loud cheers.

So how much is the team strengthened by the fan base and the cheering section?

"I actually think it's the secret sauce," Henderson said.

Sprinkle in a little grit and hustle and maybe Princeton can pull off another stunner.

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