Monday, March 19, 2012

This Much Is True

TigerBlog doesn't understand the car commercial with the Spandau Ballet song.

Clearly, it's about a system in a car that does something that helps out with the ride and the fuel efficiency. The problems are:
1) TB saw it 1,000 times this weekend and can't remember which car it's for, which isn't what you want out of your fancy commercial
2) the guy driving mumbles the name of the system, so you can't tell what he's saying
3) are they marketing solely to dorks?

TB has always liked the song "True," the Spandau Ballet song featured in the commercial, ever since he first heard it a million times somewhere in the early ’80s.

It's just that the four people in the car in the commercial don't come across as exactly the coolest kids in the class.

Anyway, that's one thing from Weekend 1 of the NCAA basketball tournament that TB saw and didn't quite comprehend.

Another was Lehigh's win over Duke.

Actually, TB missed the first 35 minutes of the game, since he was at Little Miss TigerBlog's school play of "Honk Jr.," a musical version of "The Ugly Duckling" in which LMTB played one of the cats. In case you're looking for a review: 1) some of the kids are really talented, 2) the cuteness quotient was off the charts and 3) the bullfrog stole the show.

While the play was going on, TB was stealing updates on the Duke-Lehigh game on his iPhone, which by the way has gone from "TB doesn't need one of those" to "how did TB get along without one of those as long as he did" in about three weeks.

By the time TB was in front of television, Lehigh was up and in control, and Duke was in full panic mode. Ultimately, the Mountain Hawks scored one of the great upsets in NCAA tournament history.

And it was no fluke. Lehigh looked like it had the quickness to play with Duke, and maybe even was a the faster team. C.J. McCollum was the best player on the court, even with a Duke team that features more than one lottery pick.

Maybe the whole Jeremy Lin thing shows that it's all about getting a chance and not about the label of "ACC player" or "Ivy League player" or "Patriot League player." Maybe Duke has so many advantages when playing at home that come tournament time, it's a whole new world for the team.

Whatever it means, a team that lost to William & Mary and Cornell during the regular season and came in second in the Patriot League thumped the biggest name in college basketball.

And, as an aside, TB still thinks that Lehigh didn't belong there and that Bucknell actually earned the chance to represent the league in the NCAA tournament by winning the league championship. Or maybe he thinks a 2 vs. 3, winner plays 1 event wouldn't be a bad idea, but he remains completely anti-conference tournament.

Anyway, Lehigh almost got to the Sweet 16 after putting up a big effort against Xavier. Norfolk State couldn't follow up its win over Missouri with a similar effort against Florida, but for one day, Lehigh and Norfolk State showed why people love this event so much.

And hey, Ohio is in the Sweet 16. And N.C. State, not Duke, is there, after knocking off Georgetown in a game that was frustrating for TB to watch.

So was the Denver-Notre Dame lacrosse game, which was on at the same time as Gtown-NC State, but that's for another day.

TB was rooting for both Georgetown and Denver, and neither won.

The one that stung the most for TB this weekend wasn't it men's basketball or men's lacrosse.

It was in women's basketball.

TB really, really wanted Princeton to beat Kansas State and stamp its season with an NCAA tournament victory.

After two years in which Princeton was essentially never in its NCAA tournament game, this year's Tigers clawed all the way to the end before falling 67-64 to Kansas State, a team from one of the two top women's basketball conferences.

While the men's tournament shows that anything is possible, the women's tournament shows that the gap between the top teams and the next level teams is still huge.

In the men's tournament, nine double figure seeds won their first game, including a 12, a 13 and two 15s. In the women's tournament, only three double figure seeds won their first game, two 11s and a 13 (Marist, whom Princeton beat in the regular season).

For Princeton, a No. 9 seed, the challenge was a big physical K-State team, one whose regular-season results suggested that it would be close.

At least, now looking back on it, Princeton doesn't have to be kicking itself about not playing hard or playing well or letting it get away.

Princeton's women's basketball team can look back on a 24-5 season, another 14-0 Ivy season, the league's first-ever national ranking and so many other high notes.

Princeton fans can look ahead to another season of Niveen Rasheed, the best all-around women's basketball player in Ivy history and quite possibly the greatest female athlete in Princeton history. At least the case can be made for both, which says a lot.

And Princeton can look back on its own season, which, as with the other statements, could make this the best Ivy League women's basketball team ever.

The Princeton-K State contest was one of those great NCAA tournament games, against which sits a rather cruel, harsh reality - if you play hard and well and tough for 40 minutes and don't win, you go home.

It's such a brutal way for it all to end, given the stakes.

A few more shots fall, and Lehigh is a Sweet 16 team.

A few more shots fall and Princeton is playing UConn tonight.

Instead, it's just over, just like that.

It's not a fun way for a great season to end.

To quote Spandau Ballet, TigerBlog knows this much is true.

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