Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Another Tuesday With The Quakers

If you want to see something cute, then check out THIS VIDEO.

Yeah, there's more to starting lineups than simply running out to the foul line when your name is called.

Speaking of starting lineups, Bill Bromberg recently celebrated his 500th Princeton event as the public address announcer. That's a lot of events.

At the women's basketball game Friday night, TigerBlog borrowed the mic from Bromberg and read a short announcement celebrating the occasion. It was well-earned on Bromberg's part.

It also got TB wondering about the other people who work on press row for Princeton basketball, men's and women's. They've been the same faces for a long time, doing the same jobs, blending into the background but executing hugely important tasks that are necessary to stage a basketball game.

Take Doug Gildenberg and Bob Nicastro, for instance. They've been doing stats at Princeton basketball and football games for a long time. TB wonders if they've come close to 500 without any lacrosse mixed in; he'll have to ask them when he sees them next.

Think about that. You could go to five home football games and 20 home basketball games a year, and it would take you 20 years to get to 500 and that rate. That's assuming 20 home basketball games a year (there aren't always) and that you don't miss a single one.

In Bromberg's case, he had lacrosse mixed in but almost no football, and he got to 500 in just 19 years.

Anyway TB will ask Gildenberg and Nicastro. See what they say.

As for the women's basketball video, it was a little bit of fun. It was shot one day before practice, and clearly the players were loose and happy.

They were also just about to embark on a huge stretch of five games in eight days. In last week's episode of "The Court Report," Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart said it was a first for her, and so she's not exactly sure how it's doing to play out.

Through the first two games of that run, things have gone just fine. Princeton defeated Harvard and Dartmouth this past weekend at Jadwin Gym by a combined 52 points, which means that the Tigers have now had three relatively easy wins since the loss to Yale in the first game back from first semester exams.

In fact, Princeton is now 6-1 in the Ivy League, and all seven of the games have been decided by at least 14 points.

The drama quotient might just ratchet up a bit tonight, though.

Princeton hosts Penn tonight at 6:30 in the second meeting of the year between the two. The Tigers won the Ivy opener for both back on Jan. 6, that one by a 70-55 count.

That, by the way, was also the last time Penn lost a game. The Quakers have ripped off nine straight, and all six of their Ivy wins have been by at least 15 points.

What does it all mean? It means that tonight's game will have a huge impact on who will be the Ivy League champion.

Right now, Princeton and Penn are tied for first at 6-1 each. Next up is Harvard and Yale, at 5-3 each, followed by 4-4 Dartmouth.

Unlike Princeton, Penn does not have a game remaining on its schedule against a team that it hasn't beaten by at least 15. The Tigers have the home game against Yale, to whom it lost 73-59.

In other words, Princeton can't really count on getting much help should it fall to the Quakers tonight. Yes, TigerBlog would be shocked if the remaining 12 Ivy games involving Princeton and Penn were all decided by double figures. Still, both teams seem to be playing on a championship level right now.

Then there's the matter of the NCAA tournament. The automatic bid will go to the winner of the event, to be held in the Palestra in less than four weeks.

Princeton's current RPI is 34, which would put the Tigers in the conversation for another at-large bid, should the Tigers not win the tournament. That's getting way ahead of things.

In the meantime, there's the game tonight.

Princeton and Penn have developed an extraordinary rivalry in women's basketball. Princeton has won six of the last eight Ivy championships, while Penn has won in the years that Princeton has not. It was the Quakers who won the regular season and Ivy tournament titles a year ago, leaving Princeton to play in the WNIT.

Both teams clearly want an Ivy title and an NCAA bid. Both teams know who the primary challenger to that is.

As has been the case for so many decades on the men's side, the Princeton-Penn women's basketball teams just have a different feel to them. The intensity is greater from the opening tip. The teams know each other so well.

That's tonight at 6:30.

Princeton and Penn women's basketball. It's another big one between the two.

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