Friday, March 3, 2017

Starting at 3, 5 and 7

TigerBlog will start this morning with a reminder about this afternoon.

The men's basketball game against Harvard is at 5, not at 5:30, even though it says 5:30 on your tickets. It's a 5 tip-off.

Today is a big day for Princeton Athletics and for Princeton Athletics on ESPNU, with a men's lacrosse/men's basketball doubleheader on the network.

It starts at 3, when the men's lacrosse team will host Johns Hopkins. Game 2 of the ESPNU doubleheader is the men's basketball game, which is at 5. Not 5:30.

There's more than just those two games to the day at Princeton, though. The men's hockey team opens its best-of-three ECAC playoff series against Colgate at 7 tonight, and there will be games at 7 tomorrow and if necessary Sunday to see who advances.

So it's like this:

Men's Lacrosse - 3 (ESPNU)
Men's Basketball - 5 (ESPNU)
Men's Hockey - 7 (not on ESPNU, or the Ivy League Digital Network)

Yeah, that's the bad news about the weekend. Because it's an ECAC postseason event, the videostreaming will not be through the ILDN. It'll be through BoxCast, available on the ECAC website, or simply by clicking HERE, and there is a fee to watch the games.

Again, your ILDN subscription will not work for the men's hockey games this weekend. This isn't a Princeton Athletics decision.

TigerBlog wonders how many Princeton fans will be doing the tripleheader. TB will be, he's pretty sure.

He figures he can do all the men's lacrosse postgame stuff from either his office, with the men's basketball game on TV, or from the balcony.

The schedule today reminds TigerBlog of a lot of spring Saturdays when he worked in the newspaper business. Harvey Yavener, whom some of you remember as one of the last old-time sportswriters to cover Princeton, used to send TB out early to cover rowing here, then a lacrosse game and then maybe to Rider or Trenton State (long since the College of New Jersey, but TB's reflex is still after all these years to type Trenton State) for the end of a baseball or softball doubleheader.

The three games are all big.

The men's lacrosse game is the 87th meeting between Johns Hopkins and Princeton. Oh, and have you listened to the Tiger LaxCast, with head coach Matt Madalon? You can hear it each Thursday. Click HERE for this week's.

Princeton is 2-1 on the young season. Hopkins is 4-0, with its most recent win by 13-5 over defending NCAA champ North Carolina.

In the era when conference realignment has destroyed some long-time rivalries, it's great to see that Princeton and Hopkins are still meeting on the first weekend in March. The teams have played each other every year since 1944, and Princeton is 17-13 in the last 30 meetings since a 24-game Hopkins winning streak from 1967-90.

TigerBlog is pretty sure he'll revisit the sport of men's lacrosse at some point the rest of the way, at least once, so for today let him just say three quick things: 1) goalie Tyler Blaisdell is playing the best of his career, 2) Zach Currier is extraordinary (don't believe TB? Read THIS) and 3) if you haven't seen Michael Sowers play yet, you'll love watching him.

Then there's men's basketball.

This is the last weekend of the regular season for Ivy basketball. In any previous year, that would mean looking ahead to the NCAA tournament for the league champ.

This year, with the Ivy tournaments, it means looking ahead to next weekend at the Palestra for four teams.

Princeton will definitely be one of those four teams for both men and women. The women actually have a game Tuesday in Philadelphia to end the regular season, a game that might not mean anything in the standings but no matter what will be a great opportunity to get acquainted with the building in which the tournament will be played.

As for the men, they are currently 12-0 as they prepare to host Harvard tonight and then Dartmouth tomorrow. Harvard is 10-2, and Princeton and Harvard will be the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the tournament. It would take a lot for Princeton not to be the No. 1, but there's no taking anything for granted in sports. The race for the rest of the spots is still really wide open.

Princeton has already assured itself of no worse than a share of the league championship. The Tigers would get an outright title with a win in either game this weekend or by one Harvard loss. Since the Crimson play the Tigers tonight, then Princeton would either need a win over Dartmouth or a Harvard loss to Penn should Harvard win tonight's game.

It's been a great run for the Tigers so far in 2017. There's so much at stake now in the next two weekends and beyond, and this team has worked hard to get itself into the position that it's in currently.

As for men's hockey, who would have thought that the Tigers would be home this weekend? Princeton is playing with the proverbial "house money," but that doesn't mean that it won't sting if the team doesn't advance.

No matter, this will be the last Baker Rink appearance for the senior class, including the remarkable Colton Phinny, the goalie who has been the starter for four years and has an insane 3,377 career saves  - easily the school record.

Princeton is 0-7-1 in its last eight against Colgate, but then again, this team isn't really concerned with its history.

And there you have it. A really busy Friday on this campus. And an exciting one.

The only issue now is where to park. He'll probably park at Jadwin, walk back and forth to lacrosse and then drive over to the rink. Or maybe he'll park near the rink, walk to Jadwin during the day, walk to lacrosse and back to Jadwin and then to the rink? It depends on how ambitious he wants to be.

His instinct would be to park near where he's going to end up at the end of the day, but he can't get into the parking garage by the rink until after 5.

He'll figure it out.

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