Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hit The Road

There were several occasions last night when TigerBlog saw one candidate with less than 45% of the vote, the other with more than 55% and fewer than 10% of precincts having reported.

And the candidate with 45% or less was projected as the winner.

Then there were the countdowns to the top of the hour, when the polls would close in any number of states. And then, in the next second, most of those states were called for one candidate or the other. 

The whole concept of polling is fascinating. Ask a few people what they think and extrapolate it out for the entire population. Fascinating.

TigerBlog was hoping to be part of an exit poll, the ones that are used to project out states one way or the other in rapid succession. Alas, once again, it was not to be.

Election Night coverage is rather formulaic, with something like 5% results and 95% over-analysis of results to come.

Last night, for instance, it was too close to call Florida, Ohio and Virginia. So what did the people on TV talk about? The fact that those states were important. No kidding.

The most astute comment TigerBlog heard all night was how the election occupied almost all discussion in America for 18 months at a cost of billions of dollars, and in the end there's the same President and roughly the same makeup of the Senate and House of Representatives.

And now it's over.

Of course, it won't seem to be too long before the mid-term elections are here, and then it'll be the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, which will be preceded by about a year with the announcement of who is running. And it'll all start over again.

With all of the attention focused on the Presidential race, one trickle down from the political process has been the New Jersey law legalizing sports wagering, including single-game betting, and the resulting ban on any NCAA championship events in the state of New Jersey.

As a result of that law, Princeton's field hockey team found itself on the road, sort of, yesterday afternoon, when Columbia hosted the NCAA play-in game between the second-ranked Tigers and Patriot League champ Lafayette, a game Princeton won 6-0.

It's impossible to take an objective look at the sports gambling law and the NCAA's position and not reach the obvious conclusion that it's a bit nuts to move a field hockey game that nobody in a million years would bet on across the river into New York state.

The play-in game is a bit odd in field hockey, at least to those used to the way basketball does it. In the case of field hockey, it was predetermined that the Ivy League champ would play the Patriot League champ, based on overall conference RPI.

As a result, Lafayette found itself matched not against a similarly ranked opponent for a spot in the main draw but instead against the No. 2 team in the country. Princeton, for its part, knew that 1) it would be in the main tournament even if it lost and 2) that it would have to go on the road no matter what.

That destination turned out to be Virginia, where Princeton will play Drexel Saturday and then the winner of that game will take on the winner of Virginia-Iowa Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.

Princeton is the second-seed in the tournament, behind No. 1 North Carolina. UConn is the third seed, followed by No. 4 Penn State; Princeton defeated both UConn and PSU during the regular season.

Princeton tore through the Ivy League, going 7-0 and outscoring its league opponents by a ridiculous 45-1. That's one goal allowed in seven league games, or an average score in the league of 6.4-0.14.

Still, for these Tigers, this year has always been about the NCAA tournament and seeing if the Tigers can get back to the Final Four - and maybe even go all the way.

That path started yesterday, when the Tigers thumped Lafayette. And now the draw has been announced, and it's time for Princeton to go to work.

On the road. Because of the new law.


Anonymous said...

The shame is not only that Princeton is the sole seeded team not hosting its regional bracket but that, if Princeton and Virginia both win their first-round games, the Tigers will be the seeded, nominal "home" team while playing in their opponent's stadium.

Anonymous said...

The Governor's kid is a freshman at Princeton. On the day of the Brown football game, he was wandering around campus in a sweatshirt with "Princeton" written all over it. He should get this. How about the University asking him to seek an amendment to the law that would satisfy the NCAA, on behalf of every college in New Jersey? I would think Ds and Rs in the state legislature would have no problem with this --but someone has to make the case. Or Princeton should talk to the state legislative delegation in Mercer County or itself get with fellow NJ colleges and make a concerted effort on this.