Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Still No. 19

Did you see the score of that high school girls' basketball game in California that got the coach suspended?

The final was 161-2. Yes, one team won by 159 points. And its coach was suspended for two games.

The halftime score was 104-1. The team that won didn't play any of its starters in the second half.

So what to make of this? TigerBlog has heard a lot of opinions. Interestingly, most of them have come from non-sports commentators.

He saw one story that included a poll asking readers to vote on whether or not the coach should have been suspended. What do you think the results were?

They were astonishing to TigerBlog.

The options for voters were 1) No, the opposing team should have played better; 2) Yes, it crosses the line of good sportsmanship or 3) I'm not sure. 

An amazing 75.41 percent voted for "No, the opposing team should have played better."

TigerBlog isn't sure. He knows that he hated to see scores needlessly run up on the youth level, when it's more likely due to more prevalent disparities in skill and experience.

He knows that there is a point on the high school level where it gets unnecessary, but that point is beyond where it is on the youth level. The same is true in college. In the pros? Anything goes.

There's a difference between crushing a team and winning 161-2. To score 161 points in a 32-minute game, a team needs to average basically five points per minute. You can't do that unless you're pushing the pace a bit, and should you be doing that when you're up by that much?

On one show that TB listened to yesterday - he thinks it was the Rich Zeoli show from Philadelphia - the host (yes, it was Zeoli) kept asking this question: If winning by 159 points is too many, how many is okay? 100? 50? Less?

To TigerBlog, the issue isn't so much the score. It's knowing it when he sees it.

TigerBlog knows nothing about the game in California other than the idea that winning 161-2 is insane. TigerBlog would have voted not to suspend the coach, but his logic wouldn't have been "the other team should have played better." It would have been "if a coach wants to be classless, so be it."

Zeoli's point, echoed by several callers and several other commentators that TB heard on the issue, is whether or not there is a culture of, for lack of a better word, wussiness that is preventing people from saying "big deal, if you don't want to lose 161-2, get better."

There is something to that. But not 161-2's worth. Then it's just unneccessary.

Winning by a lot of points doesn't always equate to running up the score. Running up the score comes with not subbing, continuing to pressure the other team, shooting quickly, those kinds of things. No, you can't tell the backups to purposely miss shots or turn it over; you can tell them not to shoot or at least not to shoot until everyone has touched the ball twice or something like that.

Zeoli said that there is no mercy rule in business and when these kids get to the real world, who is going to be there to suspend the other person who beats them in that arena.

TigerBlog thinks this is ludicrous. There are, after all, supposed to be ethics in business. And there is supposed to be civility and class in general society.

These are among the lessons that athletics are supposed to teach young people. Winning a game 161-2? There's no educational value in that for anyone. And it's just classless.

The wussification, by the way, comes in suspending people for stuff like that. The suspension is meant to say "you were mean and hurt their feelings and you need to be punished." Not suspending the coach sends the message that "hey, not everyone has class or is going to be nice, but you need to worry about yourself, how you carry yourself and what you can do to improve, on the court and off."

And that's TigerBlog's take on that.

What else can he talk about today, what with Princeton Athletics still on first semester exam shutdown?

Well, he's definitely rooting for the following teams this week in women's college basketball: Boston College, Louisville, Wisconsin and Ole Miss.


Because those four teams are the next opponents for Duke, Nebraska, Florida State and Mississippi State, of course.

And why do those four matter?

They are the four teams ranked directly above Princeton in the AP Top 25 this week. Princeton was 19th last week and 19th again this week, though the Tigers went from 178 points in last week's poll to 219 in this week's.

Princeton was 93 points away from 18th last week. This week, Princeton is 48 points away.

On the other hand, Princeton did get jumped by Florida State, though the Tigers also passed Georgia.

Princeton did all this without playing, of course. Back in 1998, the Princeton men's team moved up several spots during first semester exams and then reached all the way to No. 7 by not losing after the break.

The Princeton women are the highest-ranked Ivy League team in basketball since the 1998 men and are the highest-ranked Ivy women ever.

What does it mean? Well, it's nice for Jan. 20.

It will matter little if Princeton comes back from the break 10 days from now and stumbles against Harvard and/or Dartmouth on that weekend trip.

And it really will matter little come March if Princeton isn't the Ivy champ.

In the meantime it's very quiet here in at Princeton Athletics for the rest of the week. The 19th-ranked women's basketball team in the country has its workouts when its players can get down here as a break in their academic schedules.

The other 24 teams in the Top 25 are in full conference mode right now.

So go Ole Miss and the others.

Give the Tigers a hand.


Anonymous said...

Rich Zeoli was thin skinned, ill-informed and sophomoric during his interview with you. Rest assured, his base is hardly the Princeton crowd,,,,thus his need to try to put your down. He simply wasn't "Getting" that people go to Princeton for the EDUCATION.

Thank you for maintaining a class that made Rich and his base testy to say the least.

I would try to reinforce the point you were trying to make about the difference between class and winning, but he's pretty thin skinned,,,,,those people just don't get thru.

(Notre Dame is coming to NJ High Schools Schools with a program of sort regarding the importance of Education/Leadership over sports. If you have a way to look into it, my niece a Junior in high School has found it very enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Only an insecure sophomoric adult with NO real Sports Background would think High School Sports should have any time for a coach that runs a game score up like that.

Anonymous said...

Contrast that coach's behavior with Bill Tierney, who would instruct his lacrosse teams not to score a 20th goal unless the game was close.

I agree with you--winning 161-2 is not a suspendable offense but taking the air out of the ball (figuratively, not like Belichick) is the right thing to do once the game is obviously in the bag.