Thursday, July 6, 2017

Opening Tip-Off

Were you out of sorts yesterday?

TigerBlog has a hunch why. If you were in the same distorted frame of mind yesterday that he was, then you spent all day thinking it was Monday, when it was really Wednesday.

The reason is obvious. The Fourth of July holiday was Tuesday, which led to a feeling that it was Sunday, which made yesterday feel like Monday. Now, though, it's suddenly Thursday. It's all very confusing.

It didn't help that the first three songs TigerBlog heard yesterday were "Monday, Monday" by the Mama's and the Papa's, "I Don't Like Mondays" with the Jon Bon Jovi version and "Come Monday" by Jimmy Buffett. Or was it "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters?

Okay, he made that part up. In reality, the first song he heard yesterday was a song called "With You," from the musical "Pippin," followed by "When I Look To The Sky," by Train. Neither one of them mentions any days of the week, let alone Monday.

There are a lot of songs about Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. What about the other days? Actually, TB just thought of one, on his iTunes. The song is "Friday I'm In Love" by the wildly underrated British group "The Cure," the same people who brought you "Just Like Heaven."

Okay, Friday gets top billing in the song. And yeah, it's a little harsh on Wednesday - "Wednesday you can break my heart" - and, a verse later Thursday - "Thursday I don't care about you." But hey, it's better than being ignored.

So where was TB? Oh yeah. It felt like Monday yesterday.

Monday. Wednesday. Thursday. It's July. Does it really make a difference?

Odds are really good that you know someone, or a few someones, who is on vacation. It's what people do in July.

As for today, it's a little more than four months since Princeton defeated Dartmouth to end the regular season in men's basketball.

One week from yesterday - that would be next Monday or Wednesday or something - will be exactly four months since Princeton defeated Yale in the championship game of the first Ivy tournament. That day will also be exactly four months from the opening tip-off of the 2017-18 season for the Tigers.

Princeton will enter the new season knowing that it has no chance to do better in the league than it did a year ago. The win over Dartmouth (in case you forgot, Princeton won 85-48 after leading 52-22 at halftime) left Princeton at a perfect 14-0 in the league.

The wins in the Ivy tournament pushed Princeton to 16-0, making the 2016-17 Tigers the first team ever to have to do that - and to actually do that. The 2017-18 Tigers can do no better than match that, though that would be just fine with everyone here.

The 2017-18 season starts in just over four months, as TigerBlog said. The schedule was released yesterday, and you can read about it HERE.

If you're looking for a few words to describe it, you can start with "ambitious" and throw in "exciting" and "challenging."

The first game, on Nov. 12, will be at Butler, in its famed Hinkle Fieldhouse, so Princeton isn't exactly sticking its toe in the shallow end to get started.

Not that it gets any easier for Game 2, which will be the home opener three days later, on Wednesday, Nov. 15. That would be what looks to be the second Jadwin Gym appearance of BYU.

If TigerBlog is looking at the record book right, then Princeton hosted Brigham Young in the 1981-82 season, the last game of a home stretch that saw St. John's and Duke also come to Jadwin. More recently, Princeton was at BYU a year ago, falling 82-73 in the opening game of the season.

There will also be non-league home games against Lafayette, Lehigh and Monmouth.

Princeton will also be making some pretty good trips, if you consider Hawaii at Christmas time and Miami and Southern California in December to be good trips. There are already some games confirmed on ESPN networks, including the BYU game, and full TV information is not yet available.

Princeton was already 3-0 in the league, having played three home games, before first semester exams. TigerBlog assumes the Penn games, not yet finalized, will include one before exams, but that would be it.

As you know, Princeton will be looking to replace Spencer Weisz and Steven Cook, a pair of first-team All-Ivy League picks and 1,000-point scorers who graduated recently. The Tigers do return another first-team All-Ivy selection, Ivy tournament MVP Myles Stephens, as well as Devin Cannady, Amir Bell and a bunch of other really good players.

It'll be interesting to see what the adjustment will be to losing Weisz and Cook. The last time Princeton graduated two 1,000-point scorers from the same class was 1999, by the way, when Brian Earl and Gabe Lewullis both were in the same class.

Anyway, like the release of the men's hockey schedule a week ago, the news of the coming dates for men's basketball serves as a reminder that the games of the next academic year are not that far away. In just a few months, both teams will be playing.

And with that, you can get back to your summer Tuesday. Or is it Thursday?

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