Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Tuesday With The Quakers

As TigerBlog predicted Friday, Tom McCarthy did have a special night as he broadcasted a game with his some Patrick for the first time.

You can tell by his tweet:

As for TigerBlog, he was in New Haven at the time. At one point during the Princeton-Yale women's basketball game, he heard the PA announcer go nuts over another Yale three-pointer, and his first thought to himself was "Shut up already."

The he realized the PA announcer was TigerBlog Jr., so he changed his thought to "Shut up already son."

TigerBlog enjoyed being at a game where TBJ was the PA announcer. His approach isn't quite what TB's is, which is to be fairly laid back and not emotional. But he does have very good command of the arena, and the crowd certainly reacted to him.

TB was impressed. He liked how he was prepared, learned Princeton's pronunciations and stayed focused throughout the game.

What he didn't like was how many times he announced Yale baskets. It was a rough night for Princeton, as Yale took the lead after a 9-0 Tiger start and never looked back in the 73-59 win.

Princeton did rebound the next night to easily take care of Brown 77-62, improving to 4-1 on the season. Amazingly, the teams are not even to the midway point of the league schedule.

Princeton is one of three teams with one league loss. The other two are Harvard, at 5-1, and Penn, at 4-1. Princeton will play both of them in the next week, along with Dartmouth, who are 4-2 would be the other team in the Ivy League tournament if it started today.

So yeah, it's a tough stretch.

The same is true for the men's team.

Princeton had an extraordinary weekend at Jadwin, and not just because of the McCarthy pairing on the radio Friday. For the first time (TB is pretty sure) in its history, Princeton played back-to-back overtime games on the same Ivy League weekend.

Oh, and those two games? There were 351 points scored. That's insane.

The game Saturday night was astonishing, a 102-100 Brown win in which Desmond Cambridge hit a wild three-pointer with 4.2 seconds left for the win. It was the 17th time in Princeton basketball history that the Tigers have reached 100 points and the first time to do so in a loss.

If you're wondering, of those 17 100-point games, there have been five since Mitch Henderson became head coach.

So where does it all leave Princeton, other than as one very exciting team to watch? The Tigers are 3-2 in the league. Penn is 5-0. Harvard is 5-1. Princeton plays both of them in a 72-hour span starting tonight, when the Quakers are at Jadwin.

Then it'll be off to Harvard Friday and then Dartmouth Saturday. The women, by the way, don't host Penn until a week from tonight, so they'll go Harvard, Dartmouth, Penn - all at home.

The math isn't really all that hard to figure out for the men as they welcome the Quakers. A Penn win and the Quakers are three games up on Princeton. A Tiger win and that number is just one.

Penn beat Princeton 76-70 in the Ivy opener for both a month ago. In that game, Princeton shot 7 for 21 from three-point range and Penn shot 28-54 overall. Those are winning numbers for the Quakers.

Against Brown, Princeton shot 38 for 69 from the field and 11 for 22 from three-point range. Those are winning numbers for Princeton, assuming that the other team doesn't go equally as nuts offensively.

This is Year 2 of the Ivy League tournament format, so no NCAA bid can be won or lost tonight at Jadwin. Still, this is Princeton-Penn men's basketball, which will always be the biggest rivalry in Ivy League athletics.

TigerBlog has seen a lot of these games, upwards of 50 of them, and they remain special to him. He's an alum of one. He's spent way more time in his life on the campus of the other.

The feel of a Princeton-Penn game is different than any other game Princeton plays. This is the second of the season. Some years have had three, including last year, when Princeton had to beat Penn three times to get to the NCAA tournament. And did.

It'll be interesting to see if Princeton can turn it around so quickly after the two OT games (Penn also went OT with Brown). It'll be interesting to see what the quick turnaround to the trip to New England holds as well. As for Penn, the Quakers are on the road for the first time since Dec. 9 - Princeton has played six road games since, the one at Penn and the five in California and Hawaii. It'll be interesting to see how Penn adjusts to playing away from the Palestra after that much time.

Mostly, though, it's another Princeton-Penn game. And that means it'll just be interesting, regardless of the subplots. 

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