Monday, May 23, 2011


TigerBlog was driving over the Burlington Bristol Bridge Saturday evening when Little Miss TigerBlog asked what time it was.

Informed that it was a little after 6, LMTB replied: "Wasn't the world supposed to end at 6?"

TB had forgotten all about that, at least as the day wore on.

Earlier, he had been wondering what to wear for the end of the world, and he bounced back and forth between formal, business casual and ultimately what he chose to wear, his gray Princeton athletics t-shirt and khaki shorts, the ones he got for $7 at Target.

For his own money, TB looked rapturous.

TB is hardly a biblical scholar, though he was pretty sure that there would be a Sunday this week. And next week, for that matter.

This coming weekend will be the NCAA men's lacrosse Final Four. In case you missed this past weekend's quarterfinals, the No. 1 (Syracuse), No. 2 (Cornell), No. 3 (Johns Hopkins) and No. 4 (Notre Dame) seeds all lost.

TigerBlog's tournament predictions so far have been pretty good ones.

For instance, he has said all year that No. 1 Syracuse was vulnerable and not a prohibitive favorite. The Orange played a ton of close games - including a two-goal win over Princeton in a game that was tied late in the fourth - and TB had a feeling that it would catch up with the Orange eventually.

Plus, Maryland did everything it needed to do to win that game - controlling face-offs, making saves, playing from ahead. Even when the game got to the overtime, Maryland felt like it had the advantage, and that was the case, though SU did have a good transition opportunity before Grant Catalino's game-winner.

TB picked Virginia to win the tournament, largely because the Cavs have such overwhelming talent every year and because of the way they crushed Penn 11-2 in their first game without the Brattons. TB doesn't understand how the game against Cornell could be considered an upset, when UVa clearly has as good a group of players as any team in the country.

As for Duke-Notre Dame, TB never figured out for the entire championship game last year which team he was rooting for, and he was in the same position as he watched the quarterfinal yesterday. Eventually, he was probably pulling for Notre Dame, since Westy Hopkins, who had three of the five Irish goals, is a Lower Bucks Lacrosse alum.

And then there was the only game of the four quarterfinals that TB couldn't watch, Johns Hopkins-Denver. Thankfully, he did get updates from TigerBlog Jr.

The first one said 2-1 Denver. Then it got to 6-1. Then 8-7. And then, just when it seemed like the Hop was going to take it, the Pioneers exploded, running away to a 14-9 win.

For Bill Tierney, it's Final Four number 11, as he chases NCAA title No. 7, which would tie Roy Simmons Jr. for the most ever in Division I men's lacrosse.

It's only been two years for Tierney at Denver, and already his vision of what the sport could be in the West is starting to come true - in a much greater way than forecasts of a zombie apocalypse.

Denver's opening round playoff game was played in front of a packed house, and it was the first NCAA men's lacrosse tournament game played west of the Mississippi River. Already since Tierney went to Denver, Michigan and Marquette have announced the addition of varsity teams, as the sport continues to creep westward.

What Tierney has done in Denver already is extraordinary, and the Pioneers - with their high-flying offense that ranks second nationally - figure to be a force for the foreseeable future.

TigerBlog made another lacrosse prediction this year, this one back in the fall, and that was that Princeton was going to be a Final Four team this year as well.

Obviously, TB had no idea how many players were going to be injured for the Tigers this year. He figured Jack McBride would have a first-team All-America senior year of about 45 goals and 20 assists, not one goal and no assists. He figured that the first midfield group of Mike Chanenchuk and Tom Schreiber would force defenses to neglect the other attackmen, which would open Chris McBride up for 25-30 goals of his own.

Instead, Jack missed basically the whole year, while Chanenchuk didn't play a minute. Schreiber, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year who is everything he was advertised to be, and Chris McBride also missed games due to injury.

When TB looks back on the 2011 lacrosse season, hopefully he's looking back on Denver's first NCAA title.

At the same time, he's positive he'll look back on this season for Princeton knowing that his Final Four prediction would have come true had the team that started fall ball still been playing.

It's something that will nag TB for awhile, knowing just how good Princeton could have been this year.

Of course, it's not like it was the end of the world.

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