Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

This is the time of year where TigerBlog can never tell what day of the week it is.

This year is a little easier, since Christmas and New Year's are on a Friday. On the other hand, the weekend seemed like it started earlier than a Friday, and now it's a few days later and all.

As such, TB cannot remember what day it was that he watched the Harvard-Oklahoma men's basketball game. It was the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, and the unbeaten Sooners won 83-71.

Harvard led by six late in the first half and two at the break, but Oklahoma came out and built a 20-point lead in fewer than seven minutes of the second half.

TigerBlog sensed that even as Harvard was staying close to Oklahoma that the pace would be too much at some point. And that's how it played out.

There were two parts of the Harvard-Oklahoma telecast that stood out to TigerBlog.

One was Harvard athletic communications colleague Andrew Chesebro, who could be seen at the scorer's table next to the Crimson bench. TigerBlog emailed Chesebro during the game and asked him how much weight he's lost, and the answer was 50 pounds. That's pretty impressive.

The other was the external shots of Diamond Head, and especially of Duke's, a restaurant on Waikiki Beach.

And by on the beach, TigerBlog means on the beach.

Back in 1998 - during this week, so TB doesn't know what days of the week it was - Princeton played men's basketball at the University of Hawaii. That time it was called the Rainbow Classic.

TigerBlog has been doing this for a long time, and there haven't been too many better weeks than that one in Hawaii.

TB and Tom McCarthy (he was then Princeton's play-by-play announcer on the radio; now he does the Phillies on TV and a bunch of other events, including Kentucky-Louisville on CBS the other day) left Newark Airport Christmas afternoon and flew to San Francisco, where they then changed planes and got on a packed 747 to head to Honolulu. They arrived in Hawaii around 10 at night and then got the hotel around 11.

It wasn't until the next morning that they realized that their hotel was an open-air hotel, with the beach out the back of the lobby. And at the rear of the lobby?


It's named for Duke Kahanamoku, the Waikiki native who would be an early Olympic swimming champion. The restaurant looks out over the Pacific Ocean, with Diamond Head to the left.

TigerBlog's time in Honolulu went like this: wake up, go to the University of Hawaii to update game notes for the next game, come back, go to the beach, eat at Duke's, to go to the game. This schedule depended on having Princeton win each night, and the Tigers obliged, defeating Florida State, Texas and Charlotte to win the tournament championship.

As for Duke's, TigerBlog always go the same thing - the fish of the day, which came with two giant scoops of macaroni salad. It remains the best macaroni salad he's ever had. It was incredible.

Has it really been 17 years?

Anyway, it's not easy to beat a Top 25 power conference team when you're an Ivy League team. The way to do it isn't to beat them at their own game or to hope that you shoot 80% from three-point range, though that would help.

No, the way to do it how Princeton did it to UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament. Make them play an imperfect game. Take them out of their comfort zone.

The next chance to prove TigerBlog's theory comes up tonight in another warm-weather venue, as the Princeton men take on Miami. Though the Hurricanes are ranked 13th and 15th and the Sooners are ranked 2nd and 3rd, they're probably fairly similar teams.

Princeton hung tough with No. 4 Maryland earlier this month, also leading by six in the first half and then trailing by only four at the break. The Terps then turned it on after halftime to win 82-61.

Miami is a deadly offensive team, shooting better than 50% overall as a team and better than 41% from three-point range while averaging 86.1 points per game. The defense isn't terrible either, as the Canes actually shoot better from three-point range (41.7%) than it allows its opponents to shoot from the field as a whole (41.3%).

If Miami shoots like it normally does, well, that's not going to be a good recipe for Princeton.

You can watch the game on ESPN3.

Or even better, on the WatchESPN app. From Baker Rink, so you're going to go to the Princeton-Quinnipiac men's hockey game.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TB, what made the macaroni salad so great? Bacon? Olive oil? Unusual cheeses? Flecks of spinach or cilantro?

I once regularly went to a St. Louis restaurant which served the greatest pasta with fresh clams ever, prepared using just the right combination of peppers. When I stopped traveling to St. Louis for business, they were happy to give me the recipe. Sounds like you need to call Duke's.