Thursday, November 13, 2008

Basketball Already?

The 1999-2000 Princeton men's basketball season began with the NABC Classic at Syracuse. TigerBlog, which didn't know it was TigerBlog back then, has a clear memory of sitting in the sports information office at Syracuse trying to get updates on Princeton-Yale football while watching Rutgers beat Syracuse in football on TV (back then, that was a huge upset).

That weekend stands out because of the newness of having football and basketball overlap.

Now, in 2008, it's taken for granted. The Princeton men's basketball team opens at home tomorrow night against Central Michigan, while the women are at Fordham. These games are hardly the only ones being played; there are 108 games involving Division I men's teams alone Friday night. And that's not even the first night of the season.

Television, of course, has driven this phenomenon. More games, more games on TV, more revenue, more dates, more early dates. More, more, more.

Is that good? For starters, it lessens the amount of preseason practice time. Granted, when teams couldn't play before Dec. 1, they had six weeks of practice time, which was probably too much. Now, you have basically half that amount.

Going back 21 years, Princeton played 26 games in the 1987-88 season, the first of which was on Nov. 28. There was one game in November and then eight games in December. This season, the men play 27 games, with four in November and six in December. It creates longer gaps between games, and could possibly be contributing to the fact that the in-season tournaments don't appear on the schedule as prominently as in year's past. Those games, where Princeton would play games on consecutive nights in two events a season at locations all over the country, are fewer and fewer now. If teams like Princeton did play in those events, the gaps between the remaining games would be even greater.

Still, the 2008-09 season does feature 14 home games - even if the first one is before the Yale football game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't hear as much any more about those pre-season tournaments in Maui, Alaska and Puerto Rico. Have they also fallen victim to the creeping forward into November of regular season games? If programs are starting their normal on-campus games in early November, they may not have the time or inclination to make the long flight to Hawaii or Alaska.