Tuesday, March 3, 2015


TigerBlog was walking out of Jadwin Gym yesterday afternoon when he saw what has become as much a part of the building as the statue of that guy all the way in the corner of the lobby.

Another day, another TV camera.

These days, the big story is the Princeton women's basketball team. And why woudn't it be?

The Tigers are now 27-0, just three games away from a perfect 30-0 regular season. Think about that. Three games away from 30-0.

Princeton is the lone undefeated team in Division I women's basketball. The Tigers are currently ranked 13th nationally.

These are unprecedented areas for an Ivy League women's team. A win Friday in Ithaca would tie the 1971 Penn men's team for the best start by an Ivy team; Princeton long ago shattered the women's record.

Were UConn or Notre Dame are undefeated this time of year - though neither one is - it's not abnormal in women's basketball. When it's Princeton?

It's a different story. And the media has embraced it completely.

The onslaught is, as TB has said, the same as it was for the men in 1998. Maybe this speaks to how much the women's game has been embraced in the last nearly 20 years. This kind of media attention would have been unthinkable back then.

Today? This season?

For Princeton's women, this has been a great by-product of this so far perfect season.

Yesterday it was channel 7 from New York, who will feature the Tigers tonight at 6 on the news. There was the familiar sight, a TV camera and reporter.

And the story is a bit different. TigerBlog doesn't like the implication that Princeton does it "right" and everyone else does it "wrong," because that's a bit snobby.

For TB, it's enough to say that Princeton is winning like this without having to in any way compromise its academic standing or the integrity of the institution. And its players? They are an extension of and reflection of the general student population, which is how it should be.

The media aren't the only ones who've noticed and bought in. Attendance at Jadwin from Saturday night's win over Brown was 2,097.

TigerBlog has wondered what Princeton would be ranked and how much media attention it would be getting if it had lost one of its non-league games and was 26-1 instead of 27-0.

Where Princeton is ranked now is 13th in the AP poll. The Tigers overwhelmed Yale 67-49  Friday night, leading 51-19 at one point before Yale closed in garbage time. Yale, as you recall, played Princeton to a six-point game the first time around.

Brown was peskier Saturday night, but Princeton still pulled away to win 79-67 after leading by only five at the half. Princeton has completely destroyed any reasonable expectations by demolishing pretty much every opponent.

About the only downside is ESPN's weekly bracketology, which for the first time in awhile didn't have Princeton at home in the NCAA tournament. Instead it had Princeton as a sixth-seed, playing in Iowa against DePaul.

And yet? TigerBlog will sound his weekly warning.

Standing between Princeton and perfection are Cornell Friday night, Columbia Saturday night and Penn next Tuesday.

The first time around, Princeton won those games by 28, 39 and 29 points. That averages to, well, a lot.

What does this mean for this weekend? Nothing. Before Princeton can worry about playing in the NCAA tournament - at home or anywhere else - it has to get to the tournament. And to do that, it has to win the Ivy League.

And to do that? Princeton would accomplish that with a sweep this weekend, or with a split and a Penn split. The really, really, really bad news would be if Princeton were to lose once this weekend and Penn would sweep, leaving Princeton only a game ahead of the Quakers with the game in Philly next week.

Penn, the defending champion, is having a really good year, with a 18-9 record overall and 9-2 Ivy record, with seven straight years. In a normal year - like last year, for instance, when Penn ended Princeton's four-year championship run - the Quakers would be right there in the mix.

Now? A 60-49 loss to Cornell is haunting Penn, who otherwise would be just a game back of the Tigers.

Princeton plays to finally wrap up the championship this weekend. And, beyond that, there is the at one time unthinkable goal of a perfect regular season.

You can see more about tomorrow on channel 7 in New York. And other places last week, this week - and hopefully next week.

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