Monday, December 8, 2014

An 11-0 Saturday

TigerBlog received  text message yesterday morning that pointed out that the eight Ivy League men's basketball teams had all won this weekend, beginning with Yale's 45-44 win over UConn Friday and then continuing with a 7-0 Saturday that included Princeton's 77-64 win over Stony Brook.

The text that TB received suggested that this must be a record. TB's response? It had to at least tie a record.

A little later yesterday, TB saw a commercial for the iPhone 6 that mentioned how easy it was now to record voice tags and text them, so that subtle humor and sarcasm aren't lost in the straightforward words of the text.

For instance, had someone texted TB the fact that he can now easily text his voice, his returned text might be "you mean people can now have their voices go through their phones?"

This, of course, is true. It also got TB to thinking about how it could be seen as blasphemy in the current world, where about 10 billion text messages are sent each day.

And now you can send your voice? Hey, just call someone then if that's what you want to do?

Let's use TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog as an example. In any given month, they send and receive about 5,000 text messages between them. They also spend about 20 minutes per month actually talking on the phone, and TB assumes this is almost all to him.

Now they can text their voices to their friends? What a world. PICK UP THE PHONE AND DIAL IT? Nah. Never.

That of course requires actually engagement and human interaction, as opposed to the quick back-and-forth of texting. Of course, TB is as guilty of it as anyone else, so who is he to point this out.

He's pretty sure that had the text message been invented before the ability to speak on the phone, texting would be obsolete right now.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, Ivy basketball.

The nice weekend started with the Yale win, which has to be the first win for a league team over the defending NCAA champion since Princeton's 1996 win over UCLA. At least TB assumes so. If he's missing another one, then he apologizes.

Interestingly, Princeton's win over UCLA came when both teams scored in the 40s as well, with a final of 43-41. Maybe that's the way to do it? Play a really ugly game and then make the big shots when you need them.

Oh, want to know a game that wasn't ugly at all? Did you see NJIT's 72-70 win over Michigan Saturday?

On the one hand, NJIT was swept by UMass-Lowell. On the other hand, NJIT did lose by five at Marquette. Of course, on yet another hand, Michigan had just knocked off Syracuse before it lost to NJIT.

Can any team have to go through what NJIT does? It's the lone independent in Division I, and so it has to schedule anyone it can at any time. As a result, the Highlanders play only seven games after Jan. 25, and only five of those are against Division I teams.

And yet, there they were, taking it to Michigan Saturday. Even when Michigan took the lead more than once in the second half, NJIT answered every time, hitting big shot after big shot - all while running a pretty nice version of the Princeton offense.

Meanwhile, back at the Ivy League, Yale beat UConn Friday and then the rest of the league went 7-0 Saturday.

Princeton trailed by nine midway through the second half before outscoring Stony Brook by 22 the rest of the way. Steven Cook led Princeton with 28. Spencer Weisz showed how valuable he is by playing 39 minutes despite shooting 1 for 8; you don't stay on the court that long if you're not doing a lot of other things really well.

In the league standings, Harvard is currently 6-1.

If you like to play such games, you can do this: Harvard lost to Holy Cross who lost to Sacred Heart who lost to UMass-Lowell who lost to Cornell who lost to Drexel who lost to University of the Sciences who lost to Indiana University of Pennsylvania who lost to Mercyhurst who lost to Gannon who lost to Glenville State.

Every team is 0-0 in league games, so it doesn't really matter yet whose record is what. Princeton has one league game between now and Jan. 30, and that's the Jan. 10 game here against Penn.

A year ago, Princeton lost its league opener at Penn and had to sit on that fact for three weeks during exams before playing at Harvard. This year, Princeton hosts Penn and then Harvard again in its second game, three weeks later, after exams. This only difference is that those games are home this year.

In addition to a 7-0 Saturday for the men, the Ivy women went 4-0 Saturday, making it 11-0 overall.

The most impressive win of the bunch? Princeton's 29-point win over Georgetown's women.

Princeton is now 8-0 in the league as it heads to the airport to take on Michigan tomorrow. Princeton has two wins over ACC schools and now one over the Big East. 

Princeton has excelled offensively and defensively. It has won seven of its eight games by at least 16 points. It has depth. It has experience. It has toughness.

It also has a chip on its shoulder after last season didn't end the way the Tigers would have hoped, as the four-year Ivy championship run ended at Jadwin with a lopsided loss to Penn.

This year, like the men, Princeton opens its Ivy season against the Quakers, also on Jan. 10. And, like the men, the women will then have three weeks before it plays again, this time at Harvard.

Those first two league games will be huge.

They're also more than a month away.

For now, it's early in basketball season. And that's what Saturday was all about. A nice early-season showing by the Ivy League.

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