Monday, March 27, 2017

National Champs

TigerBlog received an email from not one, not two but three different people who had the answer to what escaped TigerBlog on Friday - the temperature in New Haven on April 6, 1990.

Turns out it wasn't 80. It was 68. Seemed a lot hotter.

How did they find this? On THIS website. Click on "history" or "calendar" to find out what it was on any given day.

It got TigerBlog thinking about other days and what the temperature might have been. Like, was it really cold in Muncie, Ind., back on Dec. 1, 2000, like he said it was Friday? Yes. It was 28 degrees with snow (he didn't remember the snow).

And how about in 1992, when the Princeton men's lacrosse team won its first NCAA championship. The high Saturday was outrageous, and then the temperature dropped in half for Monday.


Well, the high for the semifinal win over North Carolina was 91. TB got the scalding part right.

It says that Monday the high was 86, but the low was 58. TB just remembers that it was a lot cooler. He doesn't remember that it got anywhere near 86.

So that's the weather.

Also, his prediction that his NCAA tournament predictions weren't going to be good turned out to be accurate. Either that, or he can say that he nailed his pick of Oregon, which is famous for its florescent uniforms and for one of the nicest beaches TB has ever been to, Cannon Beach.

Of his four Final Four picks, Oregon is the only one to have made it. Two others (Florida State, Villanova) got bounced in the second round, though one of them, Florida State, will play in the regional final tonight in the women's tournament. The fourth team, UCLA, reached the Sweet 16.

TigerBlog's new favorite team is South Carolina. For one thing, the Gamecocks beat Duke, which always wins you points. Second, he likes Frank Martin, the coach.

Martin, the son of Cuban exiles and the first American-born member of his family, seems pretty intense, but he also was really nice to a youth reporter from Sports Illustrated For Kids, who asked him about whether technique or attitude was more important while playing defense.

He also had this to say:
"You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids haven't changed. Kids don't anything about anything. We've changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We're the ones that have changed."

It's an interesting Final Four. Gonzaga and South Carolina both are there for the first time, and Oregon is there for the first time since 1939. They're joined by North Carolina, who TB is pretty sure has been there at least once since 1939.

So that's the basketball tournament.

TigerBlog watched some of the NCAA hockey this weekend. The field starts out with 16 and it makes its way to four in the first weekend before waiting two weeks to play its Frozen Four, so as not to compete with the basketball Final Fours.

It's pretty smart, TB supposes, since the average sports fan wouldn't watch it next weekend and might the next. On the other hand, TB isn't sure he'd love it were he a college hockey coach.

He may have to ask Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty what he thinks. TB also is pretty sure that he'll see Fogarty and Princeton in the NCAA tournament one of these years. At least he hopes so, and nothing that happened this year leads him to believe that the program isn't pointed to bigger things.

As for this year, he went into the weekend rooting for Denver, the No. 1 overall seed. It's the Bill Tierney effect.

So that's the hockey tournament.

Basketball and hockey weren't the only NCAA championship events from this weekend. The fencing championships were held in Indianapolis, and Princeton had itself a stellar performance, as the Tigers brought 11 fencers on the trip, and seven came back as All-Americas.

The team title is a co-ed one, with points accrued from the results of men's and women's individual bouts in all three weapons. Princeton would finish fourth nationally, marking the seventh-straight time the program has finished fourth or better.

All of those individual bouts during the team competition also decide the top four in all three weapons for the men and women, and those four in advance to the six different individual semifinal rounds.

Princeton was assured of an NCAA champion when Anna Van Brummen met teammate Katharine Holmes in the épée final, which Van Brummen would win 15-10.

What did Princeton head coach Zoltan Dudas think of what he saw?

"When teammates are fencing, I'm not even going close," Dudas said. "I was watching the bout with the bout committee a little bit. I will watch the bout, of course, later and we will learn from it. I'm not getting involved when teammates are fencing."

The NCAA title was Princeton's first since Julie Ratcliffe won the women's hammer throw at the 2014 track and field championships. Princeton didn't have a national champion in 2014-15 or 2015-16, but Van Brummen changed that.

For Princeton, it's one national championship in the last three years.

Or, if you like, it's at least one national team or individual champion in 44 of the last 46 years.

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