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Division I Men's College Basketball in NJ
February 2002

Men's college basketball has a rich tradition in New Jersey. The Garden State is home to six Division I teams. Monmouth, St. Peter's, and Rider have all had teams that reached the NCAA tournament. Princeton, Rutgers, and Seton Hall have all played in the Final Four.

Bill Bradley led Princeton to its first and only Final Four in 1965. In the third-place game, Bradley set the NCAA single game scoring record with 58 points. While at Princeton, Bradley also played for the 1964 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team.

Coach Pete Carril picked up where Bradley left off. Since 1967, Princeton has been a team that opponents hate to face. In 1989, Carril's squad almost pulled off the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history. The sixteenth-seeded Tigers came within one point of beating number one seed Georgetown. No sixteen seed has ever defeated a number one. Carril's career at Princeton had a storybook ending in 1996 when the Tigers upset defending champion UCLA in the Big Dance.

Seton Hall has regularly made the NCAA tournament in recent years. In 1989, the Pirates played in the championship game, losing by only one point in an overtime thriller against Michigan. The Pirates won the Big East tournament in 1991 and 1993. Seton Hall made the Sweet 16 in 2000.

Rutgers had its finest season in 1976 when the Scarlet Knights were undefeated before falling to Michigan in the national semifinals. Rutgers was a perennial contender in the Atlantic-10 in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996, Rutgers joined the Big East, one of the toughest conferences in college basketball.

In 1996, college basketball's biggest event, the Final Four, was held at the Meadowlands. Kentucky, Syracuse, Mississippi State, and Massachusetts battled in three exciting games with Kentucky winning it all.

Led by point guard Jason Williams, the Duke Blue Devils won the title at last year's Final Four. A graduate of St. Joseph's of Metuchen, Williams is a probable future number one pick in the NBA Draft. Speaking of Duke, Jersey City's Bobby Hurley led Duke to the first of back-to-back championships in 1991. The point guard was Most Outstanding Player of the 1992 Final Four.

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