Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's December, Which Starts With D

TigerBlog is a huge fan of Christmas music.

By his count, he has 57 songs on his iTunes that he would count as Christmas songs. This is a pretty high number, especially considering TigerBlog's people don't celebrate Christmas, at least not as a religious holiday.

This, of course, is the heart of Christmas season. Every other commercial is about Christmas (it seems that the other half are about how to treat a cold). The parking lot at the mall is jammed every time TB drives by. The Hallmark channel is wall-to-wall happy, uplifting, true-love-conquers-all, everyone-has-a-cute-dog Christmas movies.

And of course, the music.

TigerBlog had dinner with TigerBlog Jr. the other day and at one point went to the men's room. While he was in there, Christmas music was being piped in. It's literally everywhere.  

TigerBlog's favorite Christmas song? It's no contest - "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band version. Actually, by his count, Santa Claus came to town three times yesterday, as TB heard Bruce's and two others, including one by Frank Sinatra that he'd never heard before.

What are his other favorites? TB also loves "The Christmas Song," with the Nat King Cole version just ahead of the Linda Eder version. Oh, and the Dean Martin rendition of "Silver Bells." And "Merry Christmas Darling" by the Carpenters.

 And apologies to the late Bing Crosby. How could TB forget "White Christmas." And "The Carol of the Bells," Trans-Siberian Orchestra version.

And lots and lots of others. 

There are radio stations that are in 24-hour holiday music mode. One even goes commercial free from Thanksgiving to Christmas, playing nothing but Christmas music.

This got TigerBlog to thinking. As he said, he has 57 songs on his iTunes that he would consider to be Christmas songs, and he figured out that the average length of those 57 songs is 2:20. It might not be completely scientific, but maybe it is - the average Christmas song is does seem to be shorter than most regular songs.

So let's go with 2:20 per song. If you play a different song every 2:20 or so for one day, then your station will be playing 617 songs in those 24 hours.

How many Christmas songs are there? How many versions of each?

No wonder TB heard "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" so many times (it was actually four times in a little more than 24 hours). If you need to get 617 songs out there each day, there are bound to be repeats.

Today is December 8, which means that Christmas is just 17 days away. It's a slow time of the athletic year around here, and there are a total of 20 Princeton events between now and then, of which seven are basketball games and five are men's hockey games, four of which are at Baker Rink.

The women's basketball team has only one more home game between now and Christmas. That'll be on Dec. 21, against Wagner. That's another Wednesday evening game, with another 6 pm start. TigerBlog loves the 6 pm start.

Princeton played one of its mid-week 6 pm games last night and defeated Lafayette 65-27.

It was Princeton's first game in December, and it continued the late November defensive push for the Tigers.The numbers tell most of the story.

The Tigers started the season at 0-4, as opponents averaged 63.5 points per game. Since then, Princeton has gone 4-0, which, if TB's math is correct, leaves the Tigers back at .500.

And in the four-game winning streak?

Princeton's four opponents have averaged 46.5 points per game during the winning streak. The math on this one is a little tougher, but TB thinks that's a 17-point reduction from the first four games.

And opposing shooting percentages? Here they are:
Rutgers - 20.4
UMBC - 41.5
Seton Hall - 36.5
Lafayette - 21.2

Princeton's defense was great against Lafayette last night. The 27 points the Tigers gave up equals the fewest Princeton has allowed in the Courtney Banghart era, along with a 78-27 win over Penn in 2011.

Princeton allowed nine points in the first quarter, nine points in the second quarter and then just nine more points in the entire second half. TB wonders if a team has ever held an opponent to fewer single digits in all four quarters since women's basketball went to four quarters last year.

Had it not been for an off-balance leaner from just inside the three-point line as time expired, Princeton would have shut Lafayette out in the third quarter. For the second half Princeton held Lafayette to 15.4 percent shooting.

The Tigers also had three players in double figures, led by Tia Weledji's 20 points in 25 minutes. Taylor Brown had 14, and Vanessa Smith had 11.

Up next for Princeton are a pair of teams that are a combined 15-3, both on the road, as the Tigers head to Fordham Saturday and then unbeaten Kansas State next Sunday. Those will be big-time challenges.
 For Princeton, the key is to be ready to be playing its best come March, and the first Ivy League tournament.

Banghart and top assistant Milena Flores have taken Princeton to the NCAA tournament in six of the last seven years. The list of 1,000-point scorers in that time is a long one, but the real common denominator has been defensive effort.

At one point during the third quarter last night, Princeton got yet another a stop and brought the ball up the court. As the play went past the Princeton bench, TB looked over at Banghart to see if she was smiling.

She wasn't. Not outwardly anyway, but it didn't matter.

TigerBlog knows that a defensive performance like the one her team was giving makes Banghart very, very happy.

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