Friday, March 1, 2013

Doubleheader Friday

TigerBlog is not a NASCAR fan. Or an auto racing fan in general. Or a Danica Patrick fan.

He used to be into the Indy 500 when he was younger. And he has memories of rooting for A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

He does love how the Daytona 500, the biggest race of the NASCAR season, is the first race of the season. He's always thought that the BCS championship game should follow the same formula and be the first game of the postseason, followed by all the other bowls.

The Daytona 500 was on the other day, and as usual it didn't really hold TigerBlog's attention. As he started flipping through the channels, he came across something he considered to be interesting programming, though he still can't figure out if it was smart or not.

There it was on one of the other networks, the movie "Days of Thunder."

Though he's not a huge fan of NASCAR, TB does like the movie "Days of Thunder." Robert Duvall is tremendous in it, for starters.

And of course it's Tom Cruise at his apex.

If TB has a complaint about Tom Cruise back then, it's not that his movies weren't great. They were.

It's that in every movie, Cruise was the greatest whatever he was, either the greatest Navy lawyer, the greatest sports agent, the greatest fighter pilot, the greatest pool player - and even the greatest race car driver, which he is in "Days of Thunder."

So anyway, TB couldn't believe that the movie was on opposite the Daytona 500. Ironically, the movie ends at the Daytona 500, as Cole (Cruise) races there. If you haven't seen the movie, see if you can guess what happens at the end.

Anyway, it was a fictional account of the Daytona 500 against the actual Daytona 500. Is that good programming?

On the one hand it is, because if you're in the mood for the Daytona 500 but the race is dragging, then there's always the movie. On the other hand, it's terrible programming, because why watch a fictional account of the race when you can watch the actual one?

In the world of much better programming, there is later today on ESPNU.

Princeton has itself an ESPNU doubleheader, beginning at 5 when the men's lacrosse team is at Johns Hopkins and then continuing at 7 when Princeton hosts Harvard in men's basketball.

Princeton, ranked 12th in both polls, is 1-0 in men's lacrosse with a 10-7 opening day win over Hofstra. Johns Hopkins is 3-0 and ranked third in both polls.

The biggest note from the game is that Princeton has just two returning starters from the Princeton-Hopkins game of two years ago - midfielder Tom Schreiber and attackman Jeff Froccaro, who was a starting middie back then. The Blue Jays? They return eight starters from that game.

That's eight starters back, including the entire first midfield, entire defense and goalie.

For Princeton, it's a tough test, heading into Homewood Field to take on such a veteran team. The Tigers have a dynamic offense and a rebuilt defense, but hey, it's a great opportunity.

Princeton went 1-33 against Johns Hopkins over, obviously, a 34-year stretch, including 0 for 24 from 1967 to 1990. Since then Princeton is 15-10 against the Blue Jays, including 3-0 in the NCAA tournament.

Once the lacrosse game is over, then it's time for men's basketball on ESPNU.

Princeton is 7-2 in the league; Harvard is 9-1. Every other team in the league has five or more losses.

Obviously, then, it doesn't any kind of genius to figure out that the game at Jadwin is huge.

Harvard can't clinch the league with a win, but it can put itself firmly into the driver's seat. Princeton can't win the league with a win, but it can get even in the loss column.

Most importantly, Princeton can still get to the NCAA tournament by winning its remaining games. Should Harvard win tonight, then that would change.

The teams have put together a great rivalry in recent years, highlighted by the playoff game two years ago, the one where Douglas Davis hit the shot at the buzzer to put Princeton into the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Who will go to the 2013 NCAA tournament? Will there be another playoff?

The game tonight will go a long way to answering those questions. It's the kind of game that the two teams have been getting ready for the entire season. TB will be shocked if both teams don't play well.

And if you can't get to Jadwin to see it in person? Then you can watch it on ESPNU.

After you watch the men's lacrosse game.

Now that's great programming.

No comments: