Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Did She Say "Nicole Hung?"

TigerBlog promises not to turn this into a weekly review of the most recent Sunday's episode of "Homeland."

At worst, he figures six "Homeland" reviews for the 12 weeks of Season 3.

This isn't one of those six per se, except for one very intriguing part of Sunday's show.

Okay, he'll sneak in a little review. If the first two weeks of Season 3 were a golf tournament, then Carrie and Dana would be about 15-under each and nobody else would have broken par. That's how far ahead of everyone else they are right now as characters, and that's quite a statement, considering Saul, Peter and the new analyst were all tremendous Sunday night.

In fact, Saul's short, 15-second lecture to the new analyst about her head scarf was about as good as any moment the show has had in its first 26 episodes.

Then there was the moment in this episode that wouldn't have made anyone flinch, except for a fan of Princeton women's basketball.

Carrie, who was thrown to the feeding frenzy of the Senate committee by Saul, decides to enact her revenge by talking to a reporter. It doesn't exactly go as she might have hoped.

When the scene starts out, Carrie introduces herself to the reporter, a young Asian woman. And what does the reporter say?

"Hi, I'm Nicole Hung."

At first, TigerBlog wasn't sure he heard it correctly, so he hit rewind to double check.

Yup. Nicole Hung.

If you don't realize it, Nicole Hung is a senior on the women's basketball team here at Princeton. Her name isn't the most common in the world, so TB was a bit shocked by the coincidence that one of Princeton's women's basketball players would have her name randomly used.

To that end, he reached out to former women's basketball manager Amanda Roman, who is a huge fan of Hung's and "Homeland."

Of course Amanda had the answer. Hung's sister, it turns out, is friends with someone whose father is a writer/producer for "Homeland." This automatically makes him a genius.

TB can't confirm this, but he heard that David E. Kelley, the former Princeton hockey captain, used the names of rivals from Harvard and Yale for the bad guys on series like "Chicago Hope," "Ally McBeal," "The Practice" and the others that he did.

As for the real Nicole Hung, she enters her senior season with the Tigers with exactly 300 career points. That ranks her third among current players, behind Kristen Helmstetter (407) and Blake Dietrick (322).

The 2013-14 season starts for Princeton on Sunday, Nov. 10, with a game at Rutgers. That's little more than a month away.

It used to be that basketball season didn't start until Dec. 1. Now it's getting earlier and earlier. TB actually preferred the old way, unlike now, when Princeton will play six games in November and just seven in the entire month of December.

This is going to be a fascinating year for the Tigers.

Princeton has graduated some of the greatest players the program has ever known in the last two years, including by far the best, Niveen Rasheed. In all, three 1,000-point scorers (Rasheed, Lauren Edwards, Devona Allgood) graduated in the last two years, and four in three years, if you want to add Addie Micir from the year before.

In addition, Princeton also graduated Lauren Polansky, Kate Miller, Meg Bowen and Laura Johnson within the last two years. In many ways, the Tigers are starting over.

And yet, don't think that the streak of four straight Ivy League championships and NCAA tournament appearances is going to end quietly.

Princeton averaged 72 points per game two years ago, when Rasheed, Edwards and Allgood all averaged in double figures.

Last year, without Edwards and Allgood, Princeton had only one player in double figures, Rasheed, whose scoring average was basically the same both years (16.9 as a junior, 16.7 as a senior). So how many points per game did Princeton average last year? 71.2.

This year, Princeton might not have one player who is going to score 16 a game, but it has an army of players who can all score. And you know that they can all defend. That's what the cornerstone of Courtney Banghart's teams is. Constant pressure on the opponent.

The Tigers the last few years have been completely prohibitive Ivy League favorites and steamrolled through the league, going 52-2 the last four years against Ivy opponents.

This year won't be a matter of rolling the balls out and seeing what the final margin will be.

But sleep on these Tigers at your own risk.

They will be fun to watch. And they won't be giving up their title without a fight.

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