Friday, February 4, 2011

Pre-Game Shows

TigerBlog's favorite NFL team is the Giants, and there really isn't another team that is close.

If he had to choose a second team, he'd go with the Colts, because he likes Peyton Manning. He doesn't mind the Jets, especially after former Princeton OAC assistant Manish Mehta, who covers the team for the New York Daily News, told TB that none of the players on the team is actually a bad guy.

As an aside, Manish says that the nicest player on the team is Jerricho Cotchery.

TB also is okay with the Lions, a team he hopes to see one day become a contender after all of this futility.

His two least favorite teams by far are the Cowboys and Eagles. He's never been a fan of the Raiders, Vikings, Patriots and Chargers.

A Super Bowl matchup of the Steelers and Packers, then, leaves him with very little in the way of rooting interest, as TB doesn't really like or dislike either team.

If anything, he'll root for Aaron Rodgers (it's an anti-Brett Favre thing) and against Ben Roethlisberger and pull for Green Bay.

TB sees it Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 21.

What TB is definitely rooting for is an end to the pregame talk, which has dragged down the quality of sports media for the last two weeks. How many times can TB listen to an interview with Dick Vermeil or Roger Craig or someone like that?

Or worse, how many times can you hear "experts" talk about what's going to happen, all while being praised for their ability to "break down" the game, a phrase that is among TB's least favorite.

Want the keys to the game? Here they are:
* stop the run
* don't turn the ball over
* stay out of third-and-long
* have more big plays than the other team

Those are the keys to every football game, Super Bowl or not.

The talk will only get worse as kickoff gets closer. Fortunately for TB, there's plenty on the Princeton sports calendar to distract him:

* Men's Basketball tonight vs. Harvard, tomorrow night vs. Dartmouth

Princeton, Harvard and Penn head into the weekend all unbeaten in the Ivy League, which is the only league with more than one undefeated team in Division I men's basketball. Of course, that's a bit misleading, since most teams have played 10 or more league games already.

Harvard has won eight straight games, while Princeton has won 12 of 13. Both teams average 71 points per game, but they also rank 1-2 in the league in scoring defense. The winner of this game will get a big lift, but tonight will hardly decide the championship, not with the Crimson at Penn tomorrow night and then Penn here Tuesday, not to mention four more Ivy weekends still to come.

Still, it's a fascinating early game. Harvard has had a great deal of publicity for its rise to the top of the league, and Princeton is trying to reassert itself as a program that has won 25 Ivy League championships.

Plus, if you figure the league champ will be at least 12-2, then you don't want to be losing games this early in the season. It's always easier to play from ahead.

* Women's Basketball at Harvard tonight, at Dartmouth tomorrow night

Just as the men's game matches league unbeatens, so does the women's game tonight in Cambridge.

Princeton is 14-3 overall, while Harvard is 11-6. Yale has one league loss, on its home court to Princeton, and the Bulldogs are 7-11 overall. Every other league team has at least two losses, and only one of the other six teams has an overall winning percentage better than .400.

In other words, Princeton and Harvard are the clear favorites.

Princeton has won six straight games, including five straight since Niveen Rasheed tore her ACL.

Harvard has won five in a row.

* Men's Hockey vs. Union tonight, vs. RPI tomorrow

The men's hockey team has a brutal schedule ahead of it as it chases a top four spot in the ECAC standings, which would mean a first-round playoff bye and home ice in the quarterfinals.

Princeton is ranked 17th nationally in RPI (ratings percentage index, not Rennsalaer Polytechnic Institute), while Union is ninth and, well, RPI's RPI is eighth.

Ahead still are games at Dartmouth next weekend (14th in RPI) and then a season-ending run of a home game against Yale (still No. 1 in RPI despite losing twice last week) and then a trip to RPI and Union.

Princeton enters the weekend third in the ECAC with 19 points, three behind Yale, two behind Union and one ahead of RPI and Dartmouth. Princeton is also eight points (four full games) ahead of Brown for the eighth spot, which means at least home ice in the first round.

Still, Princeton has won 14 of 18 and has its sights a little higher at this point.

Men's Swimming and Diving vs. Navy

The Tigers host Navy tomorrow at 2 in a meet that will challenge Princeton's record of never having lost a duel meet at DeNunzio Pool.

As in, ever.

There are plenty of other Princeton events this weekend, and there are some huge ones on the horizon for next weekend as well, including the first winter Ivy League championships to be decided, in men's and women's fencing here at Jadwin.

In the meantime, this weekend offers up some big games, both in Princeton and on the road, all the way to Dallas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TB, the ESPNU broadcast last Friday night was extremely enjoyable but it might have been even better had the cameras been set up on the other side of the court, namely the south side. In the same way that the P-H soccer game on ESPNU was improved because the cameras faced the crowd, not away from it, the telecast might have felt more energetic had the student section been a backdrop to the court throughout the game.

I don't even know if the temporary stands on the south side have enough space to hold television cameras, but it's an idea.