Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Zane-Y End To Our Countdown

Zane Kalemba of the men's hockey team was the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications pick as the top Tiger athlete of 2008. His selection can be seen on the front of, along with the complete list of the top 12 athletes of the year.

Kalemba figures prominently in the countdown of top stories as well, as Princeton's rise to the ECAC championship to end last season and its 12-2 start to this season was named the top Princeton event of 2008 as well.

We hope you enjoyed the countdowns; judging by the amount of web traffic to the stories you did. Again, Princeton has more than 1,000 student-athletes competing on 38 varsity teams that play more than 600 athletic events a year. To be named to the top 12 is quite a feat.

As an aside, TigerBlog would like to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year. The first events of 2009 begin this weekend.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Princeton Men's Basketball at Lafayette

Final: Lafayette 54, Princeton 53
Dan Mavraides had Princeton's last two shots on the game's final possession, but both attempts came up short. The Leopards escape with a 54-53 win.

:28 2nd: Lafayette 54, Princeton 53
A critical turnover goes Princeton's way, and Jason Briggs snags the loose ball at the baseline. Tigers call timeout with 28 seconds left. Princeton has one left, Lafayette two.

:47 2nd: Lafayette 54, Princeton 53
Nick Lake tried to save the ball by jumping out of bounds but couldn't, and the ball goes back to Lafayette, which calls a timeout with a full shot clock with which to work. Princeton could have the last possession, but Lafayette might have a two-possession lead.

1:18 2nd: Lafayette 54, Princeton 53
Pawel Buczak picks up his fourth foul and Lafayette's Michael Gruner makes one of two from the line before Lafayette gets the rebound and calls timeout. Princeton's big men are in foul trouble, as Buczak now has four and Zach Finley has three.

2:19 2nd: Princeton 51, Lafayette 51
Just in case it gets there, Princeton and Lafayette last went to overtime in the series in the 1999-2000 season. Princeton has had one overtime game this year, a three-point loss to Maine in November.

2:19 2nd: Princeton 51, Lafayette 51
It's tied again as we've reached the last media timeout.

4:26 2nd; Princeton 51, Lafayette 49
Dan Mavraides hits his third three of the game to give Princeton the lead, and Sydney Johnson immediately follows with a timeout. Princeton has one 30 and one full left, while Lafayette still has three 30s and a full left. That could be an important fact in a game that has been tight most of the way.

6:32 2nd; Lafayette 47, Princeton 46
Dan Mavraides is back in for Kareem Maddox as one of two players with three fouls. The other is Zach Finley.

8:11 2nd; Princeton 42, Lafayette 42
Just before he picked up his second foul of the game, Kareem Maddox leapt up from a crowd underneath the hoop for a slam dunk. TigerBlog can't recall the last Princeton dunk this season, but Maddox did have one against Maine in November.

8:30 2nd; Lafayette 42, Princeton 40
Doug Davis' first three, and first points, of the game gives Princeton a lead, but as with Comfort's three, Lafayette gets its own three right back.

11:13 2nd; Lafayette 39, Princeton 35
Freshman John Comfort's second three of his career brings Princeton within one but Lafayette hits its own trey at the other end. The half's second media timeout comes, and with it, the Kirby Sports Center reaches its zenith of sound once again. A t-shirt is being tossed by the Leopard mascot.

16:51 2nd; Lafayette 26, Princeton 26
Sydney Johnson calls Princeton's first timeout of the second half. The Tigers have two 30s and a 60 remaining, while Lafayette has its second-half maximum 3-plus-1 left.

18:00 2nd; Lafayette 26, Princeton 24
Dan Mavraides briefly took back the lead for Princeton with a three, but a three on the other end puts the Leopards ahead again. The 23-21 lead at the end of the first half was Lafayette's first of the game.

Halftime; Lafayette 23, Princeton 21
For those fans who tried to view the live stats through Princeton's link but couldn't, that link is now fixed.

1:30 1st; Princeton 19, Lafayette 18
The Tigers will hope to continue the Ivy League's winning ways today. Penn got a victory earlier this afternoon down in Orlando, Fla., on Central Florida's court against Campbell, and Yale is leading Hampton in the first half down in Virginia's Tidewater region. Dartmouth will be out near California's capital at UC Davis later tonight.

2:22 1st; Princeton 16, Lafayette 16
Doug Davis is whistled for his second foul, and Max Huc will make another early appearance. After not playing against Manhattan, Huc got back into the rotation in Princeton's last game at Central Connecticut State. Huc scores and is fouled.

3:34 1st; Princeton 16, Lafayette 16
It's tied for the first time since the game's early moments, and John Comfort makes his first first-half appearance of the season.

3:58 1st; Princeton 16, Lafayette 13
Ending a 6-0 run for the Leopards, Jason Briggs hits a long two to get a three-point lead back.

9:35 1st; Princeton 14, Lafayette 7
To get a score more apt for the football game Princeton and Lafayette play almost every year, Marcus Schroeder hits a three, his first since the South Carolina game Dec. 2.

11:08 1st; Princeton 11, Lafayette 7
Finley is whistled again, really rubbing it in to TigerBlog's jinxing abilities, and fouls are even at 4-4. Buczak replaces Finley.

11:35 1st; Princeton 11, Lafayette 7
In another case of TigerBlog crushing good karma, Princeton is whistled for its third foul, this one on Zach Finley. Finley, Dan Mavraides and Pawel Buczak each have one.

11:51 1st; Princeton 11, Lafayette 5
Media timeout number two.

12:30 1st; Princeton 9, Lafayette 5
The Tigers have started off well in the fouls category, with just one so far. Lafayette has four. It's a significant stat because the Tigers have had more fouls than their opponent in eight of nine games this season, including the last six. The only game where Princeton was whistled less was at Army, a win.

15:48 1st; Princeton 4, Lafayette 3
The game sees its first media timeout. The Leopards have been to the NCAA Tournament three times, in 1957, 1999 and 2000. In the recent two appearances, Lafayette was a 15 seed and lost to Miami (Fla.) in Boston in 1999 and Temple in Buffalo in 2000.

The 1957 appearance shows how different the tournament was back then. in a 23-team field, Lafayette got a first-round bye, while Syracuse and UConn fought it out to play the Leopards in the regional semis. Syracuse beat Lafayette by four in their meeting, and the Final Four that year was North Carolina, Michigan State, Kansas and Bill Russell's University of San Francisco.

16:15 1st
A Lafayette turnover results in a smattering of applause. A Bronx cheer? No, the Tigers have a following here in Easton. Among the orange fans are Kyle Koncz and Kevin Steuerer, both 2008 Princeton basketball alums.

17:45 1st
It's an auspicious start for the Tigers, who are out to a 4-0 lead and Lafayette has the only foul whistled.

Hello from Easton, Pa., where Princeton's second-longest non-league rivalry will add an installment tonight, the 61st in a series Princeton leads 43-17.

Also new today is Princeton's starting lineup, breaking a nine-game streak to start the season. In for Patrick Saunders, who is away from the team due to a family matter, is Dan Mavraides. In for Jason Briggs is Marcus Schroeder, who will be making his first start since Feb. 23, 2008 at Dartmouth.

Hello From Snowy Syracuse!

Final SU 70, Princeton 61
Syracuse in-bounds the ball and hangs on to it until the time runs out.

48.4 SU 70, Princeton 61
Erica Morrow has scored six of SU's last eight points, and the Cuse is now up by nine.

3:21 SU 64, Princeton 57
The Orange is back up to a seven-point lead, scoring 10 points since the last media timeout to Princeton's six.

7:27 SU 56, Princeton 51
Syracuse has been silenced since its took its largest lead of the game, an 11-point lead. Micir, Hill and Johnson have put the Tigers within five, 56-51. The Orange is now even with the Tigers in fouls, with eight.

11:14 SU 50, Princeton 45
Edwards scores seven straight points to bring Princeton within three, 45-42. SU answers with five points, but Berry quiets the crowd with a bucket from long range.

15:50 SU 41, Princeton 33
SU starts the half on a 7-0 and goes up by eight as Princeton picks up six fouls in less than five minutes. Coach Banghart has a talk with the officials at the timeout.

Halftime Princeton 28, SU 27
Krystal Hill scores two and Edwards adds another to help the Tigers take a three-point lead. Two free throws by Lina Lishere put the Orange down by one. Micir is leading the Tigers with 10 points, while three players have three rebounds apiece. Edwards has three steals and Devona Allgood has picked up two blocks.

2:30 SU 25, Princeton 23
The Cuse took a five-point lead, but Princeton's Laura Johnson cut the lead back to two with a basket from long range.

5:04 SU 21, Princeton 18
SU takes the lead going on an 8-0 run. Coach Banghart calls a timeout as Erica Morrow makes and steals and goes coast to coast with a layup.

7:41 Princeton 18, SU 13
Micir is already in double digits in scoring with 10 points. As a team Princeton is shooting 44 percent, and SU is shooting 33 percent. Edwards just picked up her second personal foul.

11:54 Princeton 12, SU 8
Addie Micir hits two threes and adds one in the paint to help the Tigers take a 12-8 lead at the second media timeout. Both teams have seven rebounds and five turnovers.

15:11 SU 6, Princeton 4
Lauren Edwards picks up a foul and Syracuse will be shooting two after the media time out.

18:59 SU 2, Princeton 2
Princeton wins the tip and Lauren Edwards scores on the first possession. In typical SU fashion the fans at the Dome are on their feet until the Orange scores its first basket. Nicole Michael does on its trip down the court and Coach Hillsman calls a timeout to get a sub into the game.


It's orange versus orange today at the Carrier Dome. The teams are on the court warming up with tip-off at noon. This will be Princeton's first game since the holiday, while Syracuse played two days ago at St. Bonaventure and snuck away with a one-point victory. Lauren Edwards will getting the start for the third straight game, as Whitney Downs is still under the weather. Jessica Berry, Addie Micir, Julia Berger and Cheryl Stevens round out the starting five. Syracuse will be starting Tasha Harris, Erica Morrow, Tyler Ash, Chandrea Jones and Nicole Michael.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Two Sport Athletes

Holly McGarvie is the No. 4 Princeton athlete on the countdown. She would have been high on the list even if she played only field hockey or women's lacrosse, let alone both.

The field hockey/lacrosse double used to be more common than uncommon 20 years ago or so. When TigerBlog used to be a mild-mannered reporter, there were many trips to Gulick Field to cover Princeton field hockey, and the roster then was basically the same as the women's lacrosse roster the following spring.

The advance of women's athletics and especially opportunities for girls to start in sports has led to much greater numbers in participation, which has made filling rosters easier. Also, the demands of playing a college sport now make it even harder to play two sports.

TigerBlog, though, believes that the main reason that fewer college athletes play multiple sports is that fewer kids do so. The pressure on kids to specialize in one sport is greater and greater and increasingly younger ages. If you want to be on the spring baseball travel team, then you have to play fall ball, which means you can't play football. Basketball tryouts are often in September for seasons that run throught the spring and see kids play twice as many games as college teams.

There are all kinds of problems with this in youth sports, not the least of which is that so many kids simply give up playing before they ever get to high school. Those who do remain are less likely to be well-rounded athletes and much more likely to be programmed into one sport (and likely one position) for years before they reach high school.

That makes an athlete like McGarvie even more remarkable.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Culbreath's Day Was Elias-Esque

Jordan Culbreath rushed for 276 yards against Dartmouth, giving him a pretty nice end to a unanimous first-team All-Ivy League season that saw him finish with 1,206 rushing yards. His 276 yards against Dartmouth added up to the second highest single-game total in school history.

His efforts against Dartmouth made his performance the No. 5 event of the Princeton athletic year on; he was named the No. 6 athlete in the countdown.

The top single-game rushing effort was by Keith Elias, who ran for 299 against Lafayette in 1992. In its 27 years of watching Princeton athletics (26.5 of which were in the pre-TigerBlog era), TigerBlog hasn't seen too many Princeton athletes like Elias, on the field or off. For those who never got to see Elias play, he was a threat to break one every single time he touched the ball. It was more of a surprise when Elias didn't go for at least 10 or 20 yards or more than it was when he did.

Culbreath had that kind of day against Dartmouth. His performance in piling up the big yardage was almost effortless, and it was a typically Elias outing. It was almost the same exact feeling watching Elias; it was a shock when Culbreath was stopped.

Culbreath is the opposite of Elias in personality. The current Tiger doesn't say much, whereas Elias ranks as one of the great interviews of all time. Elias, in fact, is the only Princeton coach or athlete who has rivaled Pete Carril in terms of charisma; when Elias walked into a room, all conversations immediately stopped and he became the focal point, just as it remains to this day with Carril.

So what if Culbreath doesn't quite have that part of Elias' game down. The parts he has are pretty good.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Home - And An Addition To The Banners

Jim Barlow, the men's soccer coach at Princeton, liked to stand near the top of the steps by the concession stand at Roberts Stadium during women's games, so he could hear the responses of people who saw the new soccer facility for the first time. The reviews were unanimous; there can be no doubt that Roberts Stadium is a spectacular place to watch a game.

Banners marking the accomplishments of the men's and women's teams hang at the opposite end from where Barlow liked to stand. Because of the success of the women's team this past season, the banner marked "Ivy League Championships" needs to add a "2008" under the other seasons. has named this the seventh-best event of the 2008 Princeton athletic year.

Princeton's women's soccer team reached the NCAA Final Four in 2004, something no other Ivy team has ever duplicated. It's also the only time an Ivy school has reached the Final Four of a 64-team NCAA tournament.

In many ways, the crowds that overflowed Lourie-Love Field during the four home NCAA games Princeton played that year opened the door for the new facility. University President Shirley Tilghman said as much during the Roberts Stadium ceremonies.

Julie Shackford was named Division I Coach of the Year in 2004 by the NSCAA. Awards like that often start at the championship and work backwards until they come to the first coach who seemed like a longshot at the beginning of the year.

Shackford's 2004 team was loaded with talent from top to bottom; her 2008 team was a solid one, but she and assistant coaches Scott Champ, Ron Celestin, Julio Vacacela and Ashley Beyers did a tremendous job of molding the team into one that won basically every important close game it played.

This was true of opening day at the new stadium, when Sarah Peteraf and Lisa Chinn scored late in the second half to erase a deficit for a 2-1 win over Boston University. It kept going all year, culminating in the final game of the regular season, when Taylor Numann headed in a ball right in front of all those banners in the second overtime against Penn to give the Tigers another Ivy title.

A new stadium and an Ivy title? The 2008 soccer season will be remembered for being special, and in many ways as special as the one four years before it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hello From the Nation's Capital - Part II

Final GW 77, Princeton 56
GW holds Princeton scoreless and goes on a 12-0 run to end the game.

3:44 GW 64, Princeton 51
GW scores seven to retake the 13-point lead.

5:14 GW 57, Princeton 50
Princeton is back within seven with a jumper from Devona Allgood and another three from Micir That is her sixth three - a personal best.

7:32 GW 56, Princeton 43
The Colonials have rattled off the last four points, holding Princeton scoreless since 10:01.

11:14 GW 48, Princeton 41
The Tigers are back within seven with 11:14 to play. The one unusual aspect of the game is how many fouls Princeton has drawn, having six already this half. GW is a good free-throw shooting team, shooting 83.3 percent today, so Princeton has to be careful. 

13:42 GW 44, Princeton 33
Coach Banghart calls a timeout to try to refocus the Tigers. They don't look as together as they did in the first half, which has set them back 11 points.

16:41 GW 44, Princeton 31
GW came out of halftime scoring 12 points to Princeton's four. The Colonials have drained five of their last seven baskets, while the Tigers are 2-for-5.

Halftime GW 32, Princeton 27
The Tigers are playing well, one of their better games this season. The defense is once again its strongest aspect of the game. GW has only four offensive rebounds and has picked up nine turnovers. Standing out on the court is Julia Berger who has four offensive boards and one defensive. Addie Micir has the most points after the half, with nine, all by way of three-point baskets. Jessica Adair has 10 points for GW.

3:55 Princeton 23, GW 22
Princeton takes a one-point lead after a three from Laura Johnson. The Tigers are shooting 30.8 percent from behind the arc, connecting on 4 of 13.

4:58 GW 22, Princeton 20
There has been a stoppage in the game because of a discrepancy on the shot clock. Princeton picked up an offensive rebound but the shot clock was not reset and as Princeton tried to get up a second shot the shot clock sounded. The players and coaches asked the officials to check with the official book and Princeton resumed the game with possession.

7:50 Princeton 18, GW 17
Princeton takes a one-point lead after a three from Micir, her third of the game. GW draws back-to-back offensive fouls. The Tigers have scored seven points off of turnovers.

10:03 GW 15, Princeton 11
GW took a seven-point lead, 10-3, but  after a jumper by Lauren Edwards followed by a three by Micir, the Tigers cut the lead to three. The teams have traded baskets in the past few possessions.

15:25 GW 8, Princeton 3
The Tigers are playing well, and have forced GW into four turnovers. They are getting good looks at the basket but the shots aren't dropping, going 1-for-8 at the first media timeout.

Starting Lineup
Princeton is using the same starting line-up as in the American game, replacing Whitney Downs with Lauren Edwards. However, Downs is dressed and should see some minutes today. Also on the court is Addie Micir, Julia Berger and Cheryl Stevens.

40 minutes to game time
We're here at the Smith Center for the final game of Princeton's weekend in D.C. The squad is warming up on the court but they will look a little different today. The Tigers will be sporting their third uniform - wearing all orange. They have their black shooting shirts on right now, but Tigerblog is anticipating the full-on orange look.

Yesterday the team spent the afternoon at the National Mall. Before being dropped off, we stopped at the White House and saw the National Monument, Capital Building, Lincoln Memorial, Watergate Hotel and the National Cathedral. At the mall, members of the team were able to check out the National History Museum - the dinosaur exhibit was the favorite for Carrie Moore, and TigerBlog personally enjoyed the gem/diamond exhibit. The team was able to check out the paintings by DaVinci, Monet, Picasso and Pollock at the National Art Museum. With 25 minutes remaining TigerBlog and crew raced to the national archives to sneak a peek at the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and other famous documents. Though brief, this was Coach Flores favorite stop. Some other groups visited the Holocaust Museum, American History Museum and the Air/Space Museum. 

Returning to pick up the bus, we found out it had broken down not long after dropping the team off. We hailed three taxis to get back to the hotel - for a moment it felt like we were on the Amazing Race. 

Almost every member of the team is taking flights out of D.C., to go home for the holidays. Every moment counts as they have to return for practice the day after Christmas.

Besides Tigerblog, you can follow the game by listening to Derek Jones call the action for free on the internet and check out the free live stats. Video is available for a fee.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Men's Basketball at Central Connecticut State

Final, CCSU 67, Princeton 56

1:15 2nd CCSU 62, Princeton 56
Davis hits a layup but misses a free throw, and CCSU calls a 30-second timeout. They have two timeouts left.

1:27 2nd CCSU 62, Princeton 54
Right on cue, Robby Ptacek hits a pair after a Doug Davis foul.

1:46 2nd CCSU 60, Princeton 54
Winning the game at the line might be tough for the Tigers, as CCSU might not miss many opportunities. They are making 73% of their attempts on the season entering today, and four of five players on the court for CCSU are hitting at 69% or better.
1:46 2nd CCSU 60, Princeton 54
Doug Davis hits a big three-pointer to give him 13 points and keep Princeton in the game, but CCSU's Aaron Hall hits a long two on the other end, and Princeton calls its second-to-last timeout.

4:19 2nd CCSU 56, Princeton 48
Two free throws make it 14 points for Horton as CCSU has its largest lead of the game. John Comfort makes his earliest appearance in a game yet for Princeton, and Nick Lake hits a three.

5:18 2nd CCSU 54, Princeton 48
It's a six-point lead again for CCSU after Ken Horton's 12th point of the game.

6:55 2nd CCSU 48, Princeton 45
An alert defensive play by Dan Mavraides and a coast-to-coast contested layup gets an and-one opportunity (and a media timeout), bringing the Tiger sophomore to 12 points before the free throw. It's his fourth double-digit scoring game of the season. His high is 15 against South Carolina.

9:11 2nd CCSU 46, Princeton 41
Back-to-back fouls have put CCSU ahead by six, as Horton has reached 10 points for the Blue Devils, who have three players in double-figures.

10:00 2nd CCSU 43, Princeton 41
Nick Lake has scored the last five points for the Tigers, who lead again... but not for long, as Thompson hits his own three.

11:37 2nd CCSU 40, Princeton 36
Just as TigerBlog was thinking that the Tigers might hold CCSU's Ken Horton to a season-low point total, the 20-ppg scorer gets a layup. He now has seven, and his season-low is 10. Shemik Thompson (10 pts) and Robby Ptacek (15) are filling in for the Blue Devils.

14:44 2nd CCSU 33, Princeton 30
Layup? What layup? Buczak, who has hit a couple three-pointers this season, hits a long two.

14:59 2nd CCSU 33, Princeton 28
After Pawel Buczak can't find a lane for a layup, his outlet pass is tipped out of bounds and alertly caught by Princeton play-by-play man John Sadak, seated courtside. Sadak didn't fumble one bit, even while calling the action solo.

16:34 2nd CCSU 29, Princeton 26
Jason Briggs hits a three, his first since the Rutgers game, and it's a one-possession game again.

17:48 2nd CCSU 29, Princeton 23
A nifty up-and-under move by Kareem Maddox gives Princeton its first points of the half, and the Tigers get a rebound on the other end.

18:09 2nd CCSU 29, Princeton 21
CCSU has scored the first six points of the half, and Sydney Johnson calls timeout.

0:00 1st CCSU 23, Princeton 21
Davis gets a steal and a layup to become the first Tiger into double-figures with 11 points, and Shemik Thompson sees a half-ending three-point attempt rim out. Princeton is fortunate to have just a two-point deficit, shooting just 32% for the half, including 3 for 16 (18.5%) from beyond the arc.

1:28 1st CCSU 23, Princeton 19
Nick Lake sees Princeton's 15th attempt from long distance touch every part of the rim before missing, and after Pawel Buczak's first foul, Princeton's 10th, CCSU heads to the line and makes one.

1:52 1st CCSU 22, Princeton 19
The Tigers are struggling from three-point range today, hitting only 3 of 13 attempts.

2:31 1st CCSU 22, Princeton 19
The Tigers will retain the ball after a foul on CCSU's Shemik Thompson, but the Tigers have still out-fouled CCSU 9-4. Ken Horton remains on the bench for CCSU, but Thompson has picked up the slack, scoring five points since Horton took a seat. Robby Ptacek has four for CCSU since that time.

4:43 1st Princeton 19, CCSU 18
Hello Doug Davis! The Princeton freshman hits a long two to put the Tigers ahead, but Shemik Thompson counters and CCSU is ahead 20-19.

5:20 1st CCSU 18, Princeton 17
Make that a 10-0 run as two CCSU free throws follow a Max Huc foul, Princeton's eighth of the half. CCSU had never led until now and the game hadn't been tied since 0-0.

5:57 1st Princeton 17, CCSU 16
An 8-0 run makes Princeton coach Sydney Johnson call a timeout, the first of the game for either team. Princeton hasn't scored since the 11:12 mark of the half, a span now approaching six minutes.

7:08 1st Princeton 17, CCSU 14
Max Huc makes his first appearance of the afternoon. Huc didn't play against Manhattan but logged 12 minutes against Rutgers, his second-most of the season.

7:45 1st Princeton 17, CCSU 14
The trend of Princeton's opponents shooting more free throws than the Tigers looks to continue for this game, as CCSU has six to Princeton's two. The Blue Devils are already in a one-and-one foul shooting situation.

8:43 1st Princeton 17, CCSU 12
The Tigers are behind in fouls, racking up six to CCSU's three, but only one Tiger has two (Saunders). Meanwhile, Ken Horton, CCSU's big scorer, just picked up his second and has taken a seat.

11:42 1st Princeton 14, CCSU 8
We've reached the second media timeout as Dan Mavraides, painted into a corner, tossed the ball off a CCSU leg to retain possession.

12:00 1st Princeton 14, CCSU 6
Dan Mavraides is up to a quick five points off the bench.

15:18 1st
CCSU's top scorer, Ken Horton, who is averaging 20 points a game, didn't get his first points until just now when he sank one of two free throws following a Kareem Maddox foul.

16:01 1st
The score was Doug Davis 7, CCSU 3 until Jason Briggs just put in a layup to make it 9-3 Tigers. Davis has scored in every possible way, getting a layup, hitting a three-pointer and sinking two free throw.

18:34 1st
Three straight turnovers to start the game, and two of them have come from CCSU. Still 0-0.

13 minutes to tip
Princeton's starters are in the book, and they're the same five for the ninth straight game to start the season: Jason Briggs, Doug Davis, Kareem Maddox, Patrick Saunders and Pawel Buczak.

Starting for CCSU are 6-0 guard Shemik Thompson, 6-5 forward David Simmons, 6-3 guard Robby Ptacek, 6-6 forward Ken Horton and 6-2 guard Joe Seymore.

25 minutes to tip
TigerBlog bids a fond farewell to the site of one of Princeton's best NCAA Tournament memories. The RCA Dome, which has been slowly dismantled over the year, was imploded today. An expanded Indiana Convention Center will take its place, and the Indianapolis Colts have moved across the street to Lucas Oil Stadium. The new place will host the Midwest Regional in the NCAA men's tournament this year as well as the 2010 Final Four.

The RCA Dome, of course, was where Princeton defeated UCLA, 43-41, in 1996 for one of the most memorable upsets in NCAA Tournament history. Since the new building will host NCAA Tournament games, perhaps the Tigers will be able to create more Indy memories there someday.

35 minutes to tip
Hello from New Britain, Conn., home of Central Connecticut State University and this afternoon's game between the 4-5 CCSU Blue Devils and the 2-6 Princeton Tigers. TigerBlog will again be courtside to augment John Sadak's excellent play-by-play, which is available free here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Live From the Nation's Capital

Updated Final
American wins a 59-44 game to remain undefeated on its home court. Check out the final stats on the Princeton Athletics Web site.

Updated 1:45
Tigerblog is curious as to what the shooting percentage is for the Tigers from behind the arc, but no live stats, monitors or stats at timeouts is making this a big guessing game.

Updated 2:50
Tigerblog was wrong - it was Micir with a three. American leads 53-40.

Updated 3:40
At the final media timeout, American is in the middle of an 11-0 run. Which Tiger wants to put an end to this? Tigerblog will make a prediction just for fun and say Lauren Edwards.

Updated 7:26
Laura Johnson nails a three to bring the Tigers within two possessions, but Kristin Coles answers with a jumper to make it 43-37.

Updated 10:11
A three from Micir sets the score at 41-34. Princeton is becoming more aggressive under the basket and the team is starting to see its other options on the court.

Updated 11:50
The Tigers' 6-0 run brought them within 10. American leads 39-29. One of the Princeton assistant coaches was charged with a delay of game when the official said she rolled the ball away from her instead of to her - makes Tigerblog laugh.

Updated 15:12
Princeton has scored the last two baskets, bringing them within 12, 36-24.

Updated 17:05
The Tigers' offensive troubles have continued into the second half. They haven't been able to capitalize on their possessions yet with some missed shots and silly mistakes, while American has scored five. American leads 36-20.

Updated at Halftime
American leads 31-20. Princeton is having trouble getting good looks at the basket and dribbling has led the Tigers into some errors. The staff here is having some sort of trouble with the stats, seems to Tigerblog they are more concerned with the timeout and halftime promotions than anything else. (Clarification: The American SID is awesome - its the staff hired to work the game that are having issues)

Updated 2:20
Princeton has had two shot clock violations on its last two possessions. American leads 25-16.

Updated 4:43
American has its largest lead of the half, 23-16. Liz Leer is pacing the Eagles. The half is going quickly with only five combined fouls being called.

Updated 8:00
Addie Micir is hot tonight! She has drained two three-pointers to help Princeton take a 16-14 lead. Tigerblog had to pause from the action to ask the American event staff to get a power outlet that actually provides electricity.

Updated 15:30
American leads 6-4. Princeton won the tip and had back-to-back baskets. American nailed two free throws to even it up and a layup to take the lead.

Starting Line-up

Earning her first collegiate start tonight is freshman Lauren Edwards. She will be taking the place of senior Whitney Downs who is under the weather. Hope you're not still watching the Food Network Whit!

It's Friday in D.C., and the Princeton women's basketball team is warming up for its first of two games this weekend, first facing American. The team got into the city without any trouble (aka traffic) and went to dinner at an Italian restaurant a few blocks from the hotel in Georgetown. The players had plenty of downtime, which they took advantage of. Breakfast, film, shoot around and pregame meal were on the docket for today. Tomorrow the team can venture out to explore what DC has to offer before a dinner with alumni.

There may be some changes in tonight's starting lineup with one player getting hit with a illness this week. Coincidentally enough, she was put in room 911 at the hotel.

One comment so far this trip silenced even the most talkative members of the team and staff. When an upperclassman asked who Tyler Hansbrough is. After a deafening silence she said, "What?! I don't follow sports."

Ah the uniqueness that is the women's basketball team.

A Comeback, And The Greatest Comeback In Princeton History

The No. 8 story on the countdown of the Top 12 Princeton athletic events of 2008 is the softball team's twin rallies against Cornell to win the Ivy League South Division title.

Princeton trailed 7-1 and 11-6 in the first game before winning it 12-11 on a grand slam from Kathryn Welch and a two-run shot from Jamie Lettire in the sixth. The second game ended when Welch and Lettire homered in the bottom of the seventh for a 6-5 win.

It was a wild comeback, to be sure. You don't usually expect balls to be flying out of softball fields, where dominant pitching and slap-hitting usually win games. Princeton, though, hit 55 home runs last softball season, an extraordinary number.

Any talk of Princeton comebacks, of course, leads back to Feb. 9, 1999, at the Palestra. That was the night that Princeton trailed Penn 29-3 (after a 29-0 Penn run), 33-9 at halftime and then 40-13 at the first media timeout of the second half before coming back for a 50-49 win.

If you were in the building that night, you'll never forget it. If you weren't, you can't possibly imagine what it was like. It is the best comeback in Princeton athletics history, and there is ZERO chance that it'll ever be topped.

What amazes TigerBlog now, though, is that it's been 10 years already. This decade is simply flying by (what is this decade called, anyway? the zeroes?); doesn't it seem like yesterday that Y2K was the biggest problem anyone faced? Contrast this decade with the ’70s, which to TigerBlog will never end.

The twin countdown stories will now break for the weekend, to be picked up next week at No. 7. A break for Christmas will enable the No. 1 stories to appear on Dec. 31.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Celebrity Ends Up No. 9

Meagan Cowher is the choice for the No. 9 Princeton athlete of 2008. Her senior season saw her set a women's basketball program record with 532 points, and her last three games of 25, 26 and 31 points left her 12 points away from the school career record. In the entire history of Princeton basketball, only Bill Bradley ’65 and Sandi Bittler ’90 scored more points than Cowher.

At the same time, Cowher brought with her a celebrity presence to Princeton athletics. The daughter of former Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach Bill Cowher, she was used to being in the limelight and had even been interviewed on an NFL films piece as a pre-teen. From Day 1 as a Princeton player, she was deluged by requests for interviews, and the media crush reached a fever pitch during the Steelers' run to the Super Bowl title her sophomore year.

Cowher's bio was the most-viewed bio on, by far, during the last four years.

And yet she was much more than just a name. She was a three-time first-team All-Ivy pick, and her work at Princeton extended beyond basketball to countless charitable causes and campus work, especially with the VSAAC.

In short, Meagan Cowher was the most recognizable Princeton athlete for the last four years. And one of the best.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Out Of Nowhere To No. 10

Each year when the Roper and von Kienbusch Trophies are awarded to the top senior male and female sportspeople at the Princeton Varsity Club banquet, TigerBlog likes to joke about the future "watchlist" for the awards of the following three years.

To that end, most of the names on the list of the Top 12 Princeton athletes of 2008 being counted down on could have been predicted as 2007 ended.

The most glaring exception is today's choice at No. 10, who literally came out of nowhere to have one of the greatest seasons of any Princeton athlete in recent history.

Sarah Peteraf of the women's soccer team finished her senior season with 12 goals, including two that came in overtime and seven that were game-winning goals. She began her season by scoring the first goal ever scored by a Princeton player at Roberts Stadium, and she would go on to lead the Tigers to the Ivy League championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

She became the third Princeton player in the last 24 years (along with former Ivy Players of the Year Esmeralda Negron ’05 and Emily Behncke ’06) to score at least 12 goals in a season. She was a first-team All-Ivy League and third-team Regional All-America selection, as well as an Academic All-Ivy pick.

She did all this after having four career goals prior to this season, with two as a freshman and sophomore and none as a junior. The season preview in the media guide lists five players to watch as potential goal-scorers; Peteraf wasn't even one of those five.

TigerBlog has tried to compare Peteraf's senior year to that of other athletes through the years. Maybe the closest was the final season of Chad Roghair ’92, who sat on the bench until his senior year and then put up the 11th-best single-season passing yardage total in school history in 1991.

Peteraf's senior year will be remembered as one of the greatest clutch seasons in Princeton women's soccer history. She is a well-deserving member of the Top 12.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Schneider's Big Day

Bob Schneider's performance against Harvard back in April ranks No. 11 on the countdown of the top 12 events of 2008.

It's a well-deserved honor for Schneider, who was awesome in that game. He scored four goals that day, tying the game with 1:20 to play and then winning it in the overtime. Princeton never led at any point of that game until Schneider's goal in the OT.

The game-winner came one possession after Harvard's Zach Widbin came from behind the net and was one-on-one with Tiger goalie Alex Hewit, who stuffed Widbin to keep the game alive.

As for Schneider, his senior year saw him erupt into a dominant scorer; Schneider scored 20 goals in 2008 after having 19 for his first three years combined. He finished second on the team in goals and points, and almost all of his goals were lasers from the outside.

Princeton lacrosse has a history of having players, especially midfielders, have huge senior years after not having big career numbers prior to that. Looking for a candidate in 2009? How about Rich Sgalardi, who has seven career goals but figures to more than match that this coming spring.

Monday, December 15, 2008 Begins Year-End Countdowns

The Princeton Office of Athletic Communications has selected its top 12 athletes and top 12 athletic events of the 2008 calendar year (this is Princeton stuff only, so don't look for LeBron James or Michael Phelps), and the countdown now appears on

The No. 12 athlete is softball's Jamie Lettire; the No. 12 event is the induction of women's lacrosse coach in the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

To offer some perspective, Princeton has roughly 1,000 student-athletes who compete in roughly 650 intercollegiate athletic events each year. Add to that all of the events that aren't actual contests (such as Sailer's Hall of Fame induction), and you have even more to consider.

To be in the Top 12 of either list, then, is pretty impressive. Again, this is Princeton OAC generated and only for the year 2008.

Let us know your feedback.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Princeton Men's Basketball at Manhattan

Final: Manhattan 70, Princeton 60

John Comfort has his first career points as he drains a three, making it three Tigers with career highs today along with Davis (27) and Buczak (15).

1:28 2nd
Doug Davis hits a three-pointer to bring Princeton within seven. That's 27 for Davis, a new season and career high. He isn't the game's leading scorer, however, as Manhattan's Chris Smith has 35.

2:50 2nd
Zach Finley picks up his fourth foul and Manhattan goes to the line for two as Princeton has 10 team fouls. Chris Smith hits both for the Jaspers, and it's a nine-point game. Though Patrick Saunders will go to the line for Princeton, time is getting awfully short for the Tigers.

3:02 2nd
Pawel Buczak splits from the line, and Princeton is down seven, 57-50.

3:46 2nd
A long two falls for Davis, giving him 24 points, but the Tigers are still down by eight.

7:00 2nd
Buczak gets baby hook in the lane to go, and the Tigers are within six. With under seven minutes to go, that was likely a key bucket to keep Princeton's chances alive. After a Princeton rebound under the basket at the other end, Dan Mavraides has a layup go halfway down the basket and rim out for a Manhattan rebound. Manhattan 53, Princeton 47.

7:27 2nd
It's an eight-point game at the third media timeout, 53-45 Manhattan, with the ball going to Princeton. A Manhattan player tried to call timeout as he was falling out of bounds, but that's no longer allowed.

8:12 2nd
Just as the Tigers were closing in, Manhattan has hit back-to-back shots to pull away. First came a three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer, followed by a breakaway dunk by Chris Smith.

9:35 2nd
Davis cans another three, nothing but net, and Princeton is the closest its been all half at 46-43. Davis has 22 points, three off his career high from the season-opening Central Michigan game.

10:37 2nd
Nick Lake splits a pair from the line, and Manhattan leads 46-40. Sydney Johnson calls timeout. The Tigers have two 30-second timeouts and a full timeout remaining.

11:23 2nd
Davis' sweet stroke nails a three-pointer, and the Tigers are back within five. Davis has 19 points.

12:20 2nd
We have our first dunk of the night with Manhattan's Chris Smith doing the honors. Smith leads all scorers with 24 points.

13:16 2nd
Nice fallaway jumper in the lane by Doug Davis with defender in his face, giving him 16 points. Five-point game, but the Jaspers are headed to the line.

14:22 2nd
There's a track here in Draddy Gym, and Jason Briggs just won both the high jump and the long jump in the same leap, clearing the Manhattan bench and the drink cooler behind it to land safely in front of the stands. Still 41-34 Manhattan, however.

15:40 2nd
Pawel Buczak's latest bucket gives him 10, bringing him to double-digits for the second time this season. There must be something Buczak likes about the Bronx, since his season-high 13 came at Fordham.

17:15 2nd
Doug Davis' shooting stroke strikes again, bringing the Tigers back within six at 37-31. Davis now has 13 points.

Shooting percentage is the stat of the half. Manhattan, after hitting 6 of 7 to start the game, finished the half at 56% to Princeton's 40.9%. In a game where Princeton has the rebounding advantage, 15-12, and turnovers are relatively low (Princeton 5, Manhattan 3), hitting five more shots than your opponent makes a big difference. The Tigers have used the line to keep pace a bit, making 5 of 6 to Manhattan's 2 of 7. Princeton hasn't shot more free throws than its opponent in any game this season.

0:00 1st
Though the Tigers cut it to four at the 3:26 mark, they haven't scored since and will take a seven-point deficit into the break.

3:13 1st
Davis adds five more points to get to 10, perhaps restarting a new double-digit scoring streak. Davis had 10 or more in his first five games in a Tiger uniform before struggling in the last two. Manhattan 30, Princeton 26 at the last media timeout of the half.

6:00 1st
That's another layup by Buczak, who leads the team with eight points. But Chris Smith, who now has 15 points, answers on the other end. Manhattan leads 28-19.

6:57 1st
A big offensive rebound and layup by Pawel Buczak marks Princeton's first field goal in more than four minutes. 25-17 Manhattan.

7:31 1st
Manhattan has scored the last three baskets to turn a six-point game into a 10-point lead at 25:15. Timeout, Princeton.

9:58 1st
It's 21-15 Manhattan at the second media timeout.

12:08 1st
Jason Briggs makes one of two free throws to bring Princeton within 17-12. Manhattan has cooled off a bit, missing four of their last five from the field, but the early hot start still has the Jaspers the lead.

14:41 1st
Today's game is being played at Manhattan's Draddy Gymnasium, named for Vincent dePaul Draddy, the namesake for football's Draddy Trophy. Though Manhattan hasn't had varsity football since 1942, Draddy, a Manhattan alum, went on to become the president of the National Football Foundation. The award combines academic honors with on-field performance Princeton's own Brendan Circle '08 was named a semifinalist for the award in his senior year, which since its inception in 1990, has once gone to a player from outside Division I-A/FBS. That was Washington University's (St. Louis) Brandon Roberts in 2002.

16:06 1st
Manhattan 14, Princeton 6. Manhattan has made 6 of 7 from the field to start the game.

18:30 1st
It's Manhattan 7, Princeton 4. The Jaspers aren't missing much early, but Doug Davis, who is looking to recover from making just one field goal in his last two games after his hot start, has Princeton's first field goal.

19:00 1st
Manhattan starts 2 for 2 from the field as Chris Smith makes a three to re-take the lead at 5-2.

One of the Manhattan starters, Chris Smith, is the brother of J.R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets. The Smiths and Princeton aren't far apart, as both Smiths went to Lakewood High just down I-195 from the Trenton/Princeton area. The Tigers have had some famous basketball names in their lineage in recent years, too, with '88 alum and former coach John Thompson III as the son of the national-championship winning Georgetown coach, as well as Nate Walton '01 as the son of Bill Walton.

Hello from Draddy Gym at Manhattan College in the Bronx, N.Y. The Tigers will start the same five as in its first seven games, with Jason Briggs, Kareem Maddox, Doug Davis, Patrick Saunders and Pawel Buczak. The Tigers will look for their third win in the season's first four road games today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Coming Attractions

Beginning Monday, (TigerBlog's big brother) will begin counting down both the top 12 athletes and stories in Princeton sports for the calendar year 2008. These lists were compiled by the TigerBlog staff (the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications), and they will appear in descending order from 12-1 over a basically two-week period on the main Website. TigerBlog will offer some commentary as well.

The ground rules were that athletes were considered only for what they did in a Princeton uniform in the calendar year of 2008. Diana Matheson, for instance, competed in the 2008 Olympics, but she was ineligible for the list because she didn't compete for Princeton in 2008.

As for the events themselves, they include single-game accomplishments and general team accomplishments. Interestly, a vote of the TigerBlog staff had the No. 1 story be unanimous, while there were four different votes (out of five people) for the No. 2 story.

As always, TigerBlog welcomes feedback. Look for the two lists begining Monday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

History Lesson

Here at TigerBlog HQ, we were lamenting the technical malfunctions that prevented us from blogging during last night's Princeton-Rutgers men's basketball game. The conversation turned from there to the fact that it was the 115th meeting between Princeton and Rutgers in men's basketball, and from there to the question of what is the most-played non-Ivy rivalry in any sport in Tiger history.

The answer is that Princeton and Rutgers have played 149 baseball games.

The most-played rivalry in any sport is men's hockey against Yale, which stands at 230 and counting. Some of the other top numbers by sport include 219 men's basketball games against Columbia and 88 men's lacrosse games against Yale.

On the women's side, the Princeton-Dartmouth 's hockey and Princeton-Penn basketball series both have 64 meetings, though the hockey series has already had one of its meetings this year, so the basketball series will be in the lead at the end of this winter, unless Princeton and Dartmouth play in the ECAC playoffs.

The Princeton-Penn softball series, though, has had 55 previous meetings, and the softball teams play each other four times a year. At this rate, the softball series will pass the other two in the next five years (depending on playoff meetings).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First Goals

For those Princeton hockey fans that double as Philadelphia Flyer fans, you already know that Darroll Powe '07 scored his first NHL goal last night in the Flyers' 4-3 win over the Islanders at the Wachovia Center. The goal came in his sixth NHL game and was scored on former Brown netminder Yann Danis. Powe faced Danis twice in his collegiate career during his freshman campaign of 2003-04 but was scoreless against the All-America goaltender. Click here then scroll down to watch the goal. (Just an aside but the NHL website is great. Highlights of every goal scored.)

Speaking of firsts, this season two Tiger freshmen scored their first collegiate goals and both came in the same game, a 5-3 win over then fourth-ranked Northeastern. Freshman Marc Hagel scored the first two goals of the win and classmate Derrick Pallis had the shorthanded game winner. Hagel's first goal was a little unconventional as his shot from the boards bounced off the post into the crease and then caromed into the net as Northeastern's goalie scrambled to get back into the net. It was a fitting first goal for Hagel considering how his brother Kyle, a 2008 Princeton graduate, scored his first collegiate goal. Kyle's goal came in the first game of his sophomore year at Notre Dame when Mike Moore's point shot bounced off the shoulder of the Irish goalkeeper, hit off Kyle's facemask and wound up in the back of the net.

Speaking of Kyle Hagel, he is in his first season playing in the ECHL for the Fresno Falcons. He has five goals this season and scored his first professional goal in a 1-0 win over the Ontario Reign. Hagel's classmate at Princeton, Mike Moore, who assisted on Hagel's first college goal also has scored his first professional goal this season as he is playing in the AHL for the Worcester Sharks. Moore's first goal came in a win over the Norfolk Admirals on the power play.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering ...

TigerBlog is, like say "Batman," not really anyone's actual name, as you clearly could have surmised. TigerBlog is a joint effort of the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications, begun this past September as a way to add additional - and different - content to and to give an added dimension to in-game coverage.

It seems to be a successful venture so far. Readership is on its way up, and it has gone considerably higher since we committed to updating daily during the week in addition to in-game blogging.

One by-product of this is that you have five different people offering up five different historical perspectives, all under the collective name of "TigerBlog." This means that when one TigerBlogger says that his only knowledge of Bob Lanier is from the movie "Airplane," it doesn't necessarily apply to the senior TigerBlogger, who remembers Bob Lanier as a dominant NBA big man and for having size 22 shoes, the largest in NBA history. One TigerBlogger, the lone female of the group, tends towards using exclamation points, which other TigerBloggers would never do.

We here at TigerBlog Central feel like these five different points of view under one collective name leads to something interesting and unique. We'd like to thank you for tuning in and hopefully the word will continue to spread.

In the meantime, make sure you read yesterday's post about Chris Ayres and the wrestling program, located just below this one.

If you have any thoughts, TigerBlog welcomes the feedback.

Monday, December 8, 2008

When A Win Is More Than Just A Win...

Over the last couple of weeks, the win-or-else nature of big-time college athletics has been on display. Longtime Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer brought a national title to the Volunteer State, developed a quarterback named Peyton Manning (you might have heard of him) and posted only two losing seasons since 1992. He's looking for work.

He's not the only big-time coach in American collegiate athletics who has been fired for a bad season -- or pressured to resign -- nor will he be the last. If any B.C.S. football coach ever went his first two seasons without a win, he'd probably want to keep his resumé updated.

That brings us to Chris Ayres, head coach of Princeton wrestling. Over the weekend, his Tigers picked up a 25-14 EIWA win over Franklin & Marshall. It didn't exactly shake up the national landscape of college wrestling, but it matters here. It was Ayres' first win since taking over in the summer of 2006, and it's something the program has been building towards since he came here.

It didn't have to be this long. It wouldn't have been outrageous to schedule a couple of Division III opponents just to get a win on his record. But Ayres felt that his kids knew it wouldn't be the same as defeating a true Division I opponent, and he kept that as the goal. He stuck to his guns this year. Part of that security comes from the administration's belief in Ayres and his staff. If AD Gary Walters and his staff wasn't on board with the direction of the program, there might have been a bit more pushing to change the schedule a bit. But everybody was united in the belief that a win was less important than a sturdy foundation.

If you aren't a big fan of college wrestling, you might not be fully aware of the individual/team dynamic of the sport. One top recruit won't make you great overnight. A star running back, an ace pitcher and a hot goaltender can win games on their own. A superb wrestler can make sure you lose 54-6 instead of 60-0. However, bringing in one or two top competitors each year will draw others, and a once-stagnant program starts to gain momentum. Last year, 125-pound freshman Tony Comunale was an EIWA placewinner and stood about a minute away from NCAAs. Classmate Travis Erdman earned All-Ivy honors, the first for a Princeton wrestler in years.

On Saturday, two more freshmen picked up key wins. 141-pounder Daniel Kolodzik, who was hurt in the offseason and made his debut that day, picked up a technical fall victory. He was a two-time state champion in Ohio, a terrific area for high school wrestling, and was a nationally-ranked recruit. Classmate Kurt Brendel won both matches at 184 pounds, including a major decision at 184 pounds.

There are other talented competitors, but this is just an example of a group of underclassmen who could be legitimate scorers for Princeton over the next three years in 40% of the team's matches (a college wrestling match has 10 weight classes). Then you try to get a couple more freshmen who are immediately ready to compete, and you find a couple of upperclassmen who have figured it out and reached their potential... and you've found yourself a foundation to build upon. And win upon.

(One more thing about the F&M win. Wrestlers like Nikhil Pereira, Danny Scotton, Mike Alvarez and senior captain Marty Everin -- athletes not recruited Ayres -- picked up big wins. They have bought into the program, even though the better days will likely come after they graduate. That kind of character and leadership will only benefit the rest of the locker room and is to their credit.)

Winning simply hasn't been an option for Princeton. First of all, without enough wrestlers to fill all 10 weight classes, Princeton has been starting matches down 12-0 over the last two seasons. Unless you're loaded with All-Americas the rest of the way (and we're not), you aren't coming back. Princeton forfeited one match this weekend because heavyweight Stephen Turner was injured, but the Tigers overcame it. When Turner returns, and assuming (hoping?) the rest of the lineup stays healthy, Princeton will have a full 10 starters when it gets into the heart of the Ivy League season.

By no means is this team ready to challenge the likes of Cornell and Lehigh just yet. But maybe this year Princeton adds an Ivy League win. Maybe it will come next year. But TigerBlog was impressed with Ayres in 2006, and nothing has changed.

One win does not a program make, but it is another step forward. Not the only step forward in two and a half years. Just another one.

For more on Chris Ayres, Daily Princetonian writer Vikram Rao did a nice piece on the Tiger head coach last week. You can read it here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hello From Sunny California! Part II

Princeton vs. St. Louis
Updated End of Game
SLU wins 53-51. Lauren woods hits a jumper and is fouled. She lands her free throw to give SLU a 51-49 lead. Cheryl Stevens ties it at 51. With 16 seconds left Alisha Goodwin puts one in to regain the lead. Berry had 10 seconds to bring the ball down and make something happen. She takes the ball into the paint but her shot doesn't drop. Micir takes a foul sending a Billiken to the line but she misses her shot.

Updated 1:18
Princeton leads 49-48. This is gonna be a nail biter!

Updated 3:58
Last media timeout of the half. Just a note: Princeton has nailed all of its free throws this half, 8-8, while SLU is 0-2.

Updated 4:34
Princeton sets up a great play and Berry records a layup to give Princeton a one-point lead, 45-44.

Updated 7:37
It looks like this game will definitely be decided in the final seconds. There have been eight lead changes during the half. SLU leads 42-41.

Updated 11:47
Tied score at 35-35. Downs has scored the last six points for the Tigers.

Updated 15:31
St. Louis drains a three to retake the lead, 33-31.

Updated 17:00
Princeton has earned its first lead of the game, 31-30, after Downs took the ball down the lane.

Updated Halftime
SLU leads 27-25. Sophomore Addie Micir has 10 points and Whitney Downs has added seven as Princeton shot 37.9 percent in the half. The Bilikens are shooting 37.5 percent with Theresa Lisch and Amanda Kemezys each with six points.

Updated :54
SLU leads 25-23. Princeton has started to play stronger. Sophomore Krystal Hill and freshman Lauren Edwards have been making some key plays to the Tigers success.

Updated 3:26
SLU leads 25-18. The Tigers will have possession after the final media timeout of the half.

Updated 8:18
SLU leads 20-11. The Tigers still are having trouble finding its offensive rhythm. TigerBlog imagines Coach Banghart is looking forward to halftime.

Updated 11:43
SLU leads 11-8. Micir just dropped a bucket and will be shooting a free throw following the media timeout.

Updated 12:48
The Tigers don't seem like themselves today. A couple jumbles with the ball has resulted in turnovers.

Updated 14:59
Finally the streak has ended - Micir hits a jumper!

Updated 15:56.
SLU leads 2-0. The teams are both shooting cold. Princeton is 0-for-7, and SLU is 1-for-5. It really is a case of being unlucky for the Tigers. They are getting good lucks but the ball is either bouncing off the rim or rimming out.

Updated 18:21
Princeton is having a hard time finding the basket, shooting 0-for-4, but St. Louis isn't having much luck either. SLU leads 2-0.

Updated 20:00
And here we go
...Cheryl Stevens wins the tip for the Tigers.


It's the final day of the women's basketball trip to California. After a terrific performance last night versus No. 3 Cal, the team stuck around to watch some of the St. Louis/TCU game. Dinner followed at Pyramid, where coincidentally, members of the Cal team were seated right next to the Princeton tables. The athletes settled into bed early to rest up for Sunday's game. The team met for film and shoot-around this morning and are now warming up for its game with St. Louis. TigerBlog has been getting a hard time from the team for wearing a blue shirt to today's game. Not only is it blue, but the exact blue of the St. Louis Bilikens. An error in judgement on TigerBlog's part when packing on Wednesday night. After the game the team will head to an alumni reception, where at least 20 Princeton alums will get to meet the players and coaching staff. The Tigers will take the red eye out of San Francisco tonight, leaving at 10:30 p.m., and will arrive in Newark at 6:30 a.m., with an arrival back at Jadwin at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Princeton-St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball

Final, St. Bonaventure 60, Princeton 53

:05.3 2nd: St. Bonaventure 60, Princeton 53
Princeton's possession following the final timeout comes up empty, and St. Bonaventure's Ray Blackburn will ice it at the line by hitting both. So much for the free throw struggles.

:38 2nd: St. Bonaventure 58, Princeton 53
The Reilly Center gets as loud as it has been all night, as a Pawel Buczak turnaround jumper in the lane misses and Doug Davis commits a foul to lengthen the game. Nicholson hits both, bucking the team's free throw trend, and Princeton is down by five.

1:45 2nd: St. Bonaventure 54, Princeton 53
Let's hope its not the TigerBlog jinx, as SBU's Andrew Nicholson hits both following a Patrick Saunders foul, his fourth. Sydney Johnson uses his full timeout, and Princeton has one 30-second timeout left.

2:08 2nd: Princeton 53, St. Bonaventure 52
Speaking of free throws, the man who made the last two for Princeton, Pawel Buczak, isn't as fortunate this time as he missed both. The rebound ended up as a jump ball even though Princeton appeared to have it and attempt to call time out. It might have turned out better than if Princeton had gotten the time out called, as the Tigers only have two left. SBU calls one anyway, and the Bonnies now have three left.

3:27 2nd: St. Bonaventure 52, Princeton 51
If it's a free-throw shooting contest, Princeton might get the upper hand. The Tigers are 14 for 20 from the line tonight, while SBU is 15 of 27, just below their 57% average entering the night.

3:41 2nd: St. Bonaventure 51, Princeton 49
Reilly Center isn't a place for the faint of heart tonight. Pawel Buczak will go to the line to try and tie it up. The game's last 221 seconds will last a lot longer than that.

4:14 2nd: St. Bonaventure 49, Princeton 49
Nick Lake fouls out for the second time this season, not long after hitting the game-tying three. It could be a free-throw shooting contest down the stretch, as Princeton now has 10 team fouls to SBU's 9.

5:06 2nd: St. Bonaventure 49, Princeton 49
As the saying goes, two out of three isn't bad, though the Tigers would have preferred all three go down as SBU gets a layup at the other end. Nick Lake buries a huge three-pointer to tie it.

5:18 2nd: St. Bonaventure 47, Princeton 44
Three points is St. Bonaventure's largest lead of the game, but Doug Davis, who hasn't yet scored, will get three free throws after being fouled on a trey attempt.

6:07 2nd: St. Bonaventure 45, Princeton 44
Is it 2008? There's a crowd-surfing wolf mascot as the SBU student section sings Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

6:07 2nd: St. Bonaventure 45, Princeton 44
St. Bonaventure missed, but a lane violation gives SBU's Ray Blackburn another chance and he hits to re-take the lead. Sydney Johnson calls timeout and has a full and a 30 left in what looks like it'll be a tight game the rest of the way.

6:37 2nd: Princeton 44, St. Bonaventure 43
It's become a free-throw contest lately, and St. Bonaventure, which entered the night shooting 57% from the line, has hit its last five after starting the night cold. SBU is now 11 for 20 from the line tonight.

7:20 2nd: Princeton 42, St. Bonaventure 41
It's a 5-0 run for St. Bonaventure, aided by three straight free throws and a running layup. The Tigers need a bucket.

9:44 2nd: Princeton 42, St. Bonaventure 36
Pawel Buczak's and-one conversion nets the Tigers a six-point lead. He picks up his fourth foul at the other end, however. Buczak has yet to foul out of a game this season.

11:25 2nd: Princeton 39, St. Bonaventure 35
St. Bonaventure's Jonathan Hall throws down SBU's second dunk of the game, while Princeton hasn't thrown one down yet this game. Kareem Maddox is the likeliest to do that. The Bonnies can have their dunks, says Nick Lake as he hits a more Princeton-esque shot, the three-pointer.

11:51 2nd: Princeton 34, St. Bonaventure 33
Jason Briggs' three-point attempt gets the dreaded wedge between the rim and backboard, resulting in a media timeout.

12:33 2nd: Princeton 34, St. Bonaventure 31
Offensive rebounds are key, and Patrick Saunders swoops in for a big one that he converts for a layup to give Princeton a three-point lead again. However, SBU gets its own layup on the other end, and it's 34-33.

13:37 2nd: Princeton 32, St. Bonaventure 31
St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson must have been able to clean the blood from his shirt, as he's back in with the No. 44 jersey. Meanwhile, Zach Finley makes one of two from the line to help Princeton grab a one-point lead.

14:18 2nd: Princeton 31, St. Bonaventure 29
The students have nothing between them and the court, as a security guard has to hold them back from Doug Davis inbounding the ball in front of them. Nick Lake gets an offensive rebound off Davis' miss, but the Tigers can't convert and St. Bonaventure will try to tie with two free throw attempts.

15:02 2nd: Princeton 31, St. Bonaventure 29
Jason Briggs hits a badly needed three-pointer to re-take the lead for Princeton after it changed hands a couple times since St. Bonaventure closed the deficit. It's a hard-fought game, alright, as St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson has to use the media timeout to change jerseys into one that doesn't have blood on it.

18:21 2nd: Princeton 26, St. Bonaventure 25
The Tigers' lead dwindles to one as St. Bonaventure starts the half on a 5-0 run. Princeton needs another run like the 10-0 streak that gave the Tigers a 13-point lead in the first half. Sydney Johnson calls time out to try and spark one. The Tigers have two 30s and a full remaining.

What has made the difference in a six-point game? Princeton has hit a couple more three-pointers and a couple more free throws than St. Bonaventure, which is 2 for 8 from the line in the first half. Princeton is 4 of 7 and 4 of 9 from three-point range.

<1:00 1st: Princeton 24, SBU 20
Princeton hasn't scored since the 5:20 mark of the half, but Zach Finley ends that drought with :31.1 seconds to go with an and-one opportunity. Finley can't convert, however, and the Tigers will take a six-point lead into the break at 26-20.

5:20 1st: Princeton 24, SBU 13
Doug Davis checks back in the game. He has been scoreless so far, which threatens his double-digit scoring streak to start the season.

6:48 1st: Princeton 22, SBU 11
After a Jason Briggs three-pointer, his third of the season, SBU gets a one-and-one free-throw shooting situation and capitalizes, breaking its 0 for 5 string to start the night.

10:28 1st: Princeton 15, SBU 9
The struggles continue for St. Bonaventure at the line, as the Bonnies aren't able to capitalize on a Zach Finley shooting foul. SBU is 0 for 4 from the line so far as the half nears the midway point.

11:51 1st: Princeton 12, SBU 7
The friendly PA announcer pointed out to TigerBlog that Richmond, in the Atlantic 10 with St. Bonaventure, runs the same offense as Princeton. Not a coincidence of course, as Richmond coach Chris Mooney is a 1994 Princeton alumnus and a one-season teammate of Princeton's coach, Sydney Johnson '97.

12:o0 1st: Princeton 12, SBU 7
Jason Briggs' almost no-look pass to Kareem Maddox nets the Tigers an and-one opportunity. Maddox takes advantage.

14:34 1st: Princeton 8, SBU 5
Princeton play-by-play man John Sadak pointed out to TigerBlog before the game that St. Bonaventure wasn't a strong free-throw shooting team at 57%, and it hurts them in their first attempts from the line tonight following a Kareem Maddox foul, Princeton's third of the half. Still 8-5, and Jason Briggs will go to the line at the other end.

15:36 1st: Princeton 8, SBU 5
It's been a couple scoreless minutes for the Tigers, while St. Bonaventure has hit a three and a layup to cut the 8-0 Princeton run to start the game to 8-5.

17:33 1st: Princeton 8, SBU 3
TigerBlog has to give the St. Bonaventure student section credit. The whole lot of them has sardined into their half of the lower level, and all of them, at least in the front row, seem to be wearing blue jeans with their brown Wolf Pack t-shirts. No word if the denim is part of the official Wolf Pack uniform.

18:44 1st
Back-to-back threes, with a nice swat of a pass in the lane by Pawel Buczak in between, lead the Tigers to a quick 6-0 lead and a timeout by the Bonnies. It's a matchup of head coaches in their second seasons at their current schools, as St. Bonaventure's Mark Schmidt was previously the head man at Robert Morris near Pittsburgh.

Almost tip-off
Though Christmas is still 19 days away, TigerBlog spots at least one red Santa hat and a fellow in full Santa costume under the basket near the Princeton bench. In a pre-game stunt TigerBlog has never seen anything quite like, the campus ROTC delivers the game ball by sending about a half-dozen camouflaged "snipers" (dummy weapons, of course) to secure the court, while another slides down a rope from the ceiling with the game ball. It must be a lucky game ball, because St. Bonaventure wins the tip before giving it away on a travel.

2 minutes to tip-off
Quite an entrance for St. Bonaventure's players, through a tunnel of cheerleaders and dance team members, led by their wolf mascot.

6 minutes to tip-off
St. Bonaventure's court is named for its most famous basketball alumnus, Bob Lanier, who played most of his NBA career for the Detroit Pistons in the 1970s. Since that was before TigerBlog's time, TigerBlog best remembers Bob Lanier from his mention in the movie Airplane when a defensive Kareem Abdul-Jabbar asks the youngster in the cockpit if he thinks it's easy to drag (Bill) Walton and (Bob) Lanier up and down the court. Walton, of course, is the proud parent of Princeton grad Nate Walton '01.

8 minutes to tip-off
The arena is beginning to fill in. The students appear to have their run of half the lower level... coincidentally or not, the half opposite the Princeton bench.

10 minutes to tip-off
Princeton's five starters are the same for the sixth straight game to start the season, with Pawel Buczak, Doug Davis, Kareem Maddox, Patrick Saunders and Jason Briggs. Princeton also started last season with the same five in 12 straight games.

28 minutes to tip-off
The Tigers re-take the floor for some shooting and passing warmups, drawing mild jeers from the Wolf Pack. A 15-piece band, all of whom look to be alumni age, begins to play.

40 minutes to tip-off
TigerBlog zips back across the continent to Olean, N.Y., where the Tiger men's basketball team will meet the St. Bonaventure Bonnies on their home floor for the first time. While it was sunny in California, flurries are the order of the day in western New York. St. Bonaventure has averaged 5,000 fans for its first two games of the season in its home arena, the Reilly Center, which should feel like a sellout if a similar crowd shows today. About 50 "Wolf Pack" members are already in the student section, which runs the length of the floor opposite the benches.

Hello From Sunny California!

Princeton at Cal
Updated End of Game
Cal's wireless internet has been going in and out during the second half. The Golden Bears earn a 75-53 win.

Updated 15:25
Cal leads 45-20. Ashley Walker has scored all of Cal's points in the second half, six. While Princeton's Downs has scored five, Berry has two and Cheryl Stevens one.

Updated Halftime
Cal leads 39-22 at halftime, shooting over 58 percent. At the buzzer Natasha Vital hit a halfcourt shot to put the fans on their feet.

Updated 3:08
It's 33-20 Cal after a 13-5 run.

Updated 7:26
Cal leads 20-15. Princeton mirrored Cal since the last media timeout and now has nine points off of turnovers. The Golden Bears went up by 10, 20-10, but the a steal by Downs resulted in two points and Jessica Berry drained a three to make it 20-15.

Updated 11:19
Cal has taken a 13-8 lead, getting five points off of two turnovers.

Updated 12:57
Tied 8-8. Wow TigerBlog is impressed, this is the best Princeton has looked all season. Julia Berger looks fantastic hustling all over the court and Whitney Downs has two steals already. Addie Micir is having one of those games, running cold, shooting 0-for-3.

Updated 15:26
Cal leads 3-2. Both teams are having trouble finding the basket, with Princeton going 0-2 and Cal 1-5 in the first four minutes.

Updated 18:00

So far the Tigers are looking good. The Tiger defense wasn't giving the Golden Bears any good looks on its first two possessions and Cal drew an offensive foul to send the ball the other way.

Saturday, Dec. 5

It's 12:45 p.m. (PT) and the women's basketball team is warming up for the first of two games at the Collier's International Classic versus No. 3-ranked California. It's a busy day on the Cal campus. The final regular season football game got underway at noon versus Washington and the first and second rounds of the NCAA volleyball tournament are being held here this weekend as well.

The team arrived in San Francisco at around 9 p.m., (PT) on Thursday and went directly to dinner. The seven hour flight and realizing it was really 1 a.m., back in New Jersey, when we arrived at the hotel at the Berkeley Marina was obvious on the faces of the players. The team however was up at 8:30 a.m., on Friday, for breakfast followed by film and practice at Cal. In the evening the team visited Pier 39 - highlighted by a magic show - and had dinner at the Hard Rock.

This morning, the team was up at 6:30 a.m., and headed to Hass Pavilion to practice and familarize themselves with the main court. Pre-game meal followed and then some studying/relaxation before heading back to Hass.

Check back in for game updates and check back tomorrow to find out what the Tigers were up to on Saturday night.

Friday, December 5, 2008

365 Days and Counting Down

This weekend at Stanford, the NCAA men's water polo championship will be contested between USC, Navy, Loyola Marymount and Stanford, which reminded TigerBlog that exactly a year from now, Princeton's DeNunzio Pool will play host to the championship event.

Princeton has appeared in two NCAA tournaments, most recently in 2004 when the championship was also held at Stanford. That year Princeton dropped a pair of heartbreakers, losing to UCLA in overtime in the first game and dropping a one-goal decision to Loyola Marymount in the third-place game. Princeton came within a half of representing the CWPA in this season's tournament, before Navy rallied in the second half of the Eastern championship game.

DeNunzio Pool will become the third Princeton facility to host an NCAA championship event. The 1975 and 1981 NCAA wrestling championships were hosted at Jadwin Gymnasium and were both won by Iowa. Princeton also hosted the NCAA women's lacrosse championship at Princeton Stadium in 2004, which was won by Virginia. Several other facilities at Princeton have hosted early round NCAA tournament events in sports including field hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball and cross country. Already this year, Princeton has hosted an NCAA Play-In Game in field hockey and the Mid-Atlantic Regionals for cross country.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lights, Camera, Carmody

While TigerBlog was supporting its Ivy League counterpart over the weekend by watching the Cornell-Indiana men's basketball game on the Big Ten Network, on came a commercial from the network featuring all 11 Big Ten men's basketball coaches encouraging fans to watch the league's hoops on its home channel in the way coaches best know how: a pep talk.

Appearing four times in the spot was former Princeton coach Bill Carmody, who spent 18 seasons in Jadwin Gym.

You can watch the spot here. Unfortunately, the former Tiger mentor didn't get the exclamation point scene in the ad. That went to the Big Ten's rookie coach, Tom Crean of Indiana, who made it impossible for the Big Ten to say that no clipboards were harmed in the making of that commercial.

Carmody's first 14 seasons were as an assistant coach under Pete Carril, and the last four were as Princeton's head coach. He had a 92-25 record as the lead man from 1996-2000, including 50-6 in the Ivy League with two league-undefeated seasons and an NCAA Tournament first-round win in 1998, the last time the league won in the big dance.

Following the 1999-2000 season, Carmody went to Northwestern, where he remains today and has had a pair of Princeton alums on his staff. One was Craig Robinson '83, who then went on to become the head coach at Brown and is now at Oregon State, and Mitch Henderson '98, who remains in Evanston with Carmody.

Last night in the final game of the Big Ten/ACC challenge, Carmody achieved a milestone that was helped in large part by his days at Princeton. In defeating Florida State, Carmody won his 200th career game, 92 of which came with the Tigers. Of those, 159 came with Henderson, including all 108 as an assistant at Northwestern and 51 as a player at Princeton.

Carmody will be able to celebrate both a professional and personal milestone, as his 200th career win came on the eve of his 57th birthday today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Princeton-Quinnipiac Part III

Tonight, the Princeton men's hockey team plays its third game of the season against its travel-partner Quinnipiac. Typically, each team in the ECAC plays each opponent twice, but for the second straight season, the Tigers will play a third "non-league" game against the Bobcats, which has gotten TigerBlog wondering why?

Well, the simple answer is that non-conference scheduling is not easy, while adding a third game against Quinnipiac was easy. Typically schedules are finalized two or so years ahead. When these past two seasons schedules were put together, it was assumed that Princeton would play two games its opening weekend of the season as part of an inseason tournament.

Last season it was the "Shootout at Ignalls" and this year the "Shootout at Brown." A fourth team had agreed to play in the tournament, but later pulled out and by that point the only replacement was a Canadian team, and games against that opponent, the Ontario Institute of Technology, are considered exhibition games. Each season the home team played the other two Ivy teams, and the visiting teams played the host and the exhibition team.

While this solved the problem for that weekend, it left Princeton with a hole in the schedule for one more game, but it happened after most teams had their schedules finalized. One team that had an opening was Quinnipiac, and it made sense. The teams are separated by only two hours, they play the same league schedule and have many of the same openings for non-league games.

Last season the teams played three straight games, alternating between Hamden, Princeton and Hamden. The first game was the non-league one and it was won by Quinnipiac, as was the first of the league contests before Princeton won in Hamden. This year the first two were the league games, both won by the Tigers, and the third will take place tonight but have no effect on the ECAC standings. If you're interested though, Princeton is currently first, while Quinnipiac is fifth

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Men's Basketball vs. South Carolina

A final, 84-58 South Carolina. The Tigers will be home again Wednesday, Dec. 10 against Rutgers.

3:29 to go
At the last media timeout, South Carolina holds an 80-49 lead. The opposite of last season, when Princeton had all six of its wins at home, the Tigers are 0-3 at home this season and 2-0 on the road. Fortunately, going by that stat, Princeton's next game is on the road at St. Bonaventure Saturday. South Carolina will extend the SEC's record in Jadwin Gym to 2-0, following up on Vanderbilt's win here in 1985.

5:12 to go
As South Carolina extends its lead to 30 at 75-45, turnovers are the stat of the game. Princeton has a season-high 26 to South Carolina's 14.

5:54 to go
While Davis is still on 13 and Finley on 8, the Gamecocks have run their lead to 26 points at 71-45. Princeton's previous high for points allowed on the season was 61 last Wednesday to Fordham, but the Tigers won 73-61.

9:42 to go
A fancy move for Davis down the lane brings him to 13 points, but the Tigers are still down by 20, 61-41.

12:10 to go
Max Huc makes his first appearance, and Zach Finley re-enters the game, looking for a possible season-high point total with another bucket. For the team, however, it's South Carolina 55, Princeton 36.

13:24 to go
And there it is, a fallaway jumper for Davis, who now has 11 points. South Carolina 53, Princeton 34.

15:25 to go
Doug Davis banks in a bucket for his ninth point, just one away from reaching double digits once again. South Carolina 47, Princeton 32.

18:18 to go
Nick Lake's three-pointer ends a 17-0 run for South Carolina. South Carolina 40, Princeton 27.

2 minutes until start of the second half.
TigerBlog apologizes for technical difficulties during the first half, but we should be up and running again. The Tigers led briefly at 24-23, but South Carolina ended the half on a 15-0 run. Doug Davis needs a three for his fifth straight double-digit scoring game to start his career, and Zach Finley needs two points to finally break through to double-digits for the first time this season. Finley has scored eight or nine points in three of the four games so far this season.

TigerBlog says hello from courtside at Jadwin Gym, where the Princeton men's basketball team will host South Carolina. It is the Southeastern Conference's first visit to Jadwin Gym in 23 years, since Vanderbilt stopped by in 1985, and just the second visit all-time.

Princeton (2-2) will start the same five players for the fifth straight game, including Pawel Buczak, Patrick Saunders, Kareem Maddox, Doug Davis and Jason Briggs. South Carolina enters at 4-1 after losing 82-80 at College of Charleston in overtime last Friday night.

The Team Photo

Princeton hosts South Carolina in men's basketball tonight (7, WPRB FM 103.3, in an interesting matchup. The much-improved Tigers played in Columbia against the Gamecocks two seasons ago and dropped a 54-48 decision; this year's game is one of the highlights of the schedule.

South Carolina shipped a box of media guides up in advance of the contest, and TigerBlog was impressed with the publication. At the same time, TigerBlog couldn't help but chuckle at the team picture on page 3.

There are 11 players in the picture - including the explosive Devan Downey, a first-team All-SEC player a year ago who averages nearly 20 points per game.

At the same time, there are 13 non-players in the picture. In other words, there are more people wearing suits and ties than a basketball uniform.

The titles of the non-players are: head coach, video coordinator, strength and conditioning coach, director of player development, equipment manager, Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, co-head manager, co-head manager, athletic trainer, coordinator of basketball operations, assistant coach, assistant coach and assistant coach.

TigerBlog couldn't find the current Princeton team photo but did happen to have the 1997-98 team photo nearby. That picture has 15 players and eight non-players; the non-players are the head coach, three assistant coaches, athletic trainer, equipment manager and two student managers.

Contrast this with the annual Princeton men's lacrosse team photo, which consists only of the players. Bill Tierney has never included anyone other than the players, not even coaches.

TigerBlog is looking forward to seeing the game tonight, and to see how the Tigers handle Downey and a team that likes to get up into the 80s. At the same time, TigerBlog has one question: Would it have been the end of the world to include the sports information person in the team photo as well?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The All-Time Men's Basketball Team

TigerBlog was watching the Georgetown-Maryland game Sunday night when ESPN's Len Elmore put his all-time Georgetown and Maryland lineups on the screen. It left TigerBlog wondering what the all-time Princeton team would be.

Elmore's teams had two guards, two forwards, a center and a sixth man on them. So, here goes, keeping in mind that this is simply the thoughts of TigerBlog and do not represent any official designation. Feel free to supply your own in reponse:

Obviously, it starts with Bill Bradley at one of the forward spots. Brian Taylor would be one of the guards. TigerBlog isn't 100% sure if Geoff Petrie should count as a guard or forward, so he'll fill in at one of the spots.

After those three, it's a little hard to pick just one other non-center. There are probably 20 solid contenders, including Craig Robinson, Brian Earl, Armond Hill, Frank Sowinski, Bob Scrabis and others from the 1940s through the 2000s. TigerBlog is biased towards Earl.

That leaves the center and the sixth man. The top centers is school history are probably Kit Mueller, Steve Goodrich, Chris Young and Chris Thomforde. Young would probably have become indisputably the best, but he left after two years to play professional baseball (in fairness, Taylor also left after two seasons). It's hard to choose against Mueller, who ranks second all-time in scoring and assists at Princeton and who was the keystone of the Tiger basketball resurgence beginning with arrival in the 1987-88 season.

That leaves a team of Bradley and Petrie at forwards, Earl and Taylor as guards and Mueller at center. Throw in Hill as the sixth man, and there you have it.

Alternate opinions are welcome.