Thursday, April 18, 2013

One Classic Down; Another To Go?

TigerBlog likes the signs on highways that tell drivers how many miles and how long it will take to get from some upcoming point to another point some further distance down the road, even if he doesn't always believe what they say.

For instance, when TB was driving to North Carolina for men's lacrosse recently, there was one on I-95 south of Richmond that said there was a big delay coming up. TB immediately tried to figure out how to get off 95 and take other roads to I-85, which goes to the Raleigh-Durham area (and eventually to Atlanta).

Apparently, he wasn't alone, since the next exit was swamped. So TB stayed on 95, and he found no delay between there and 85.

That seems to happen just enough to make TB cynical about believing the signs warning of delays.

He's gotten off of enough highways to try to bypass enough delays, only to figure out in the end that he probably didn't save any time, to be unsure what to do in those situations anymore anyway. On the other hand, if you're moving the whole time, isn't it better than sitting in traffic, even if it takes a little longer?

Yesterday, the sign on I-95 south mentioned that it would be 60 minutes to on a nine-mile stretch a little past Center City in Philadelphia. Fortunately for TB, he was going north.

The traffic the other way was probably more commuters than those going to the Princeton-Penn women's lacrosse game, which is a shame, because the game was a classic, even if you were rooting for the team that lost.

Penn ended up beating Princeton 10-9 in overtime in a game that was huge for the Ivy League race. With the win, Penn clinched at least a share of the league title, something Princeton would have done had the game gone the other way.

Penn would clinch the outright championship with a win at Brown Saturday. With a Penn loss to the Bears, the winner of the Princeton-Dartmouth game would get a share of the championship as well.

One thing Penn did do was clinch home field for the Ivy League tournament, which means the winner of the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament will be celebrating on Franklin Field.

Penn has now defeated both Dartmouth and Princeton by a single goal, in a five-day span, after the three teams had all reached all 4-0 in the league.

TB continues to be fascinated by how many close lacrosse games are being played this year, and more importantly how significant the difference between winning and losing in a close game can be. When it comes to NCAA tournament consideration, there is no difference between losing 10-9 or 110-9.

No matter what happens Saturday, Princeton and Dartmouth will play again in one semifinal of the Ivy tournament 13 days later. If Brown - who only lost by one to Dartmouth (and by seven to Princeton) - can upset Penn, then the Princeton-Dartmouth winner would get a share of the league title.

Actually, the Penn-Brown women's game is followed by a very similar Cornell-Brown men's game in Providence, in which a Brown win would open the door for Princeton, Yale or both to get a share of the men's championship, whereas a Brown loss would mean an outright title for the visitor.

The upcoming games are all significant, and after the last five days, the winner of the Princeton-Dartmouth game will be drooling over another shot at the Quakers.

As for the game last night, TB watched the videostream (he has to tip his hat to the job Penn does with its production), and the tension and drama of the entire night was obvious, as neither team ever led by more than two.

TB doesn't know the women's game like he does the men's, but he's definitely not a fan of the way that women's teams can hold the ball with immunity, rather than be forced by either the rules or the defense to have to push the pace.

And he would much prefer if overtime were sudden death, as opposed to two three-minute OT periods.

And he also thinks that the officials have too much discretion when it comes to fouls that result in free position shots, especially when the ramifications are so huge.

In the game last night, there were 19 total goals - six of which were on free position shots. Looking further, two of the first 14 in the game were on free positions, and then four of the last five were as well, including the game-winner.

That's a huge impact on the outcome for judgement calls.

Even with his lack of understanding, TB still had no trouble figuring out how dramatic the game was, right down to Princeton's last possession in the overtime.

And he does have enough understanding to know the Ivy tournament should be pretty intense.

After last night, it'll definitely be at Franklin Field.

The host team is set. The team that will be celebrating when it's over?

There's a long way to go for that.

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