Friday, November 13, 2015

Opening Tip

So DeAndre Jordan bailed on the Dallas Mavericks at the last minute, choosing instead to re-up with the Clippers.

And then he had to play in Dallas for the first time Wednesday night. Predictably, Jordan was booed from pregame warm-ups through the end of the game, every time he touched the ball.

It wasn't until yesterday that TB heard what Jeff Van Gundy said about Dallas fans, and it was one of the best things anyone has ever said on TV. This is what he said:
“I would also like the Dallas fans to acknowledge the sheer lunacy and absurdity that they’re booing DeAndre Jordan tonight, and they’ll be cheering someone like Greg Hardy on Sunday. That, to me, is absurd. All this guy did was change his mind.
How great is that?

TigerBlog struggles with the Cowboys, because 1) he's a Giants fan, 2) he's never liked the Cowboys, 3) every bandwagon fan when he was a kid was a Cowboys fan, 4) the Giants could never beat the Cowboys back then and 5) Jerry Jones.

On the other hand, the Cowboys are coached by Jason Garrett, a Princeton alum and a man of unquestionable character who has been thrown into an impossible situation with the whole Hardy mess.

As for Van Gundy's comment, it's so simplistically true. Hate the guy who spurned your team. Cheer for the guy who can help your team, regardless. Really, is there any place where the line would be drawn, or would you cheer for your team no matter what?

TigerBlog finds it hard to root for the Knicks because of the owner and top player, neither of who seems all that likeable. But maybe he'd feel better if they were winning championships together.

And he has to admit that one of his all-time favorite pro athletes is Lawrence Taylor, who isn't quite the citizen of the year.

Is it the responsibility of the Dallas fans to have perspective? Or is it enough to hate Jordan for bailing on them and root for Hardy because, if nothing else, law enforcement and the NFL is allowing him to play. Why should Dallas fans hold him to a higher standard than the authorities?

While TigerBlog ponders all this, the minutes are ticking away to the start of Princeton basketball season. In fact, today is opening day, with the men at Rider at 7 and the women home against American, also at 7.

The women's game will be preceded by a banner raising ceremony, commemorating the greatest season in the history of Ivy league women's basketball. Princeton went 30-0 in the regular season last year and won its first NCAA tournament game before losing to Maryland (TigerBlog still hasn't forgiven the committee for the unforgiveable eighth seed).

It's not easy to turn the page on such a great season. The next year doesn't start out with the same momentum that ended the one before it, even if four starters return, as do some key reserves - and a top freshman class joins in.

The opening night opponent is American, who went 24-9 a year ago, won the Patriot League title and lost to Iowa 75-67 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. American, you probably don't remember, played Princeton to a 63-56 game a year ago in Washington. That was the second-closest game Princeton had all year before its second-round NCAA tournament loss.

 Around here, the soccer and field hockey and lacrosse seasons seem to fly by. The hockey and basketball seasons have a much different life to them.

In fact, the women's soccer season will be in its 78th day when the Tigers take on Boston College tomorrow night in the NCAA tournament opener on Myslik Field. Between opening day tonight and the final game of the regular season in basketball? That's 126 days. In hockey it's two or three weeks longer.

In other words, in basketball you need to pace yourself in some ways. Hey, there are still two months until the first Ivy game and 2.5 months until the first Ivy weekend.

And for the women, they need to adjust back to opening night. The last time they played? There were 7,794 people in attendance, including a pair of Supreme Court Justices. The time before that? The President of the United States was there.

It's not easy to transition back to normalcy. And it's such a long road back to the postseason.  

The men's team opens at Rider. The Tigers are among the favorites in the league race, but that is so far in the future that it's not worth thinking about.

Like the women, the men return the bulk of last year's team and have added some nice looking recruits.

Like the women, the men are going to be a work in progress, readying themselves for the second season, the Ivy season, which isn't until January.

And it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

There was a time when basketball season didn't start til Dec. 1. Now, it's opening day all over college basketball.

Princeton has two teams well worth following this fall into the winter.

It's time for the opening tip.

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