Thursday, April 30, 2015

Breathing In The Water

TigerBlog hopes that the whole Snapple cap thing won't become a daily update or anything.

He did want to share yesterday's with you. One day after reading about how tigers have stripes on their skin, not just their fur, TB learned that dolphins sleep with one eye open.

Maybe the dolphin in the wildly underrated "Shark Tale" should sleep with his eye open. He wasn't really a dolphin though. He was a shark who crossed the big boss of the reef.

If you never saw "Shark Tale" but like "Goodfellas" or "The Godfather," make sure you see "Shark Tale." It's up there with "Toy Story" and is way better than "Finding Nemo."

Anyway, why would dolphins sleep with one eye open? TigerBlog was intrigued, so he went to Google and learned this: When dolphins sleep, only half of their brains shut down, which enables them to remain vigilant to the threat of predators and to regulate their breathing to avoid drowning.

Dolphins can drown? Who knew? 

So back to Google TB went ,where he learned this (from the website ""): For a dolphin to breathe it must come to the surface of the water and inhale oxygen through its blowhole.

And this: Unlike humans dolphins are unable to breathe from their mouth, which is very important because as dolphins dive underwater to hunt for food they need to be able to consume their prey while they are submerged without the fear of accidentally inhaling water and getting it in their lungs.

This, of course, makes TigerBlog wonder where Dolphins sleep. They're underwater, no? Then how do they breathe? They're mammals, so they can't get air through the water. They need to breath into their lungs.

Sigh. This is too confusing. Back to Google, for this: Dolphins have two basic methods of sleeping: they either rest quietly in the water, vertically or horizontally, or sleep while swimming slowly next to another animal. Individual dolphins also enter a deeper form of sleep, mostly at night. It is called logging because in this state, a dolphin resembles a log floating at the water's surface. 

And that's today's lesson on dolphins.

And now here comes an all-time easy segue:

Speaking of needing to breath in the water, the women's water polo team hosts Wagner in an NCAA tournament play-in game Saturday at 1 at DeNunzio Pool.

That was too easy. 

The women's water polo team won the CWPA championship this past weekend with a thrilling 7-6 win over Indiana. There aren't too many teams at Princeton whose biggest in-league rival is Indiana, but it's the case in women's water polo.

Princeton had lost to Indiana seven straight times, including twice this year, both by a goal. The championship game saw Princeton play from ahead and hold off the Hoosiers at the end.

Princeton is led by the two Ashleys, or two Ashleighs, or one of each of them. Ashley Hatcher is the team's leading scorer, the fifth-ranked scorer in program history for that matter. 

Ashleigh Johnson is the goalie. She is an extraordinary, international-level goalie. 

TigerBlog has asked the question before of who is the greatest female athlete in Princeton history. It's possible that it's Johnson. 

If you've never seen her, she is incredible. TigerBlog didn't even need to see her play live to figure this out. He knew it from looking at some of the still pictures of her.

TigerBlog has great respect for those who play water polo. It's a brutal sport, one that requires its athletes to be in sick shape. It's hardest, TB supposes, on the goalies. They have to tread water and tread water and then explode to the ball when it's come at them.

And it comes at them hard. And fast. TB doesn't know how they ever make a save.

Princeton and Wagner are meeting in one play-in game. The other matches Whittier College and UC-San Diego. It seems like the NCAA committee had a rather easy choice in setting the matchups.

The winner of Princeton-Wagner will have to go to California, to take on Stanford. The Cardinal are the second-seed in the 10-team field.

The eight teams that advance to Stanford will play three games each. Princeton's best finish ever has been fifth.

There are 10 teams in the field. There are seven teams from California. Hawaii is in it. 

The other two are Princeton and Wagner, two eastern schools located an hour apart.

That means that no team is in the NCAA tournament for a 3,000-mile stretch between here and California. Can any other sport ever say that?

Princeton made sure of the geographical anomaly by knocking out Indiana. Now it's NCAA tournament time.

Admission to the play-in game is free. Ashleigh Johson, and admission is free.

That's going to be hard to beat.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Virginia Is For Tigers

TigerBlog is a fan of diet peach Snapple.

Way back when, he used to drink a lot of soda. And eat a lot of cookies. He's drawn the line with both of those.

Now, his snack of choice is apples and grapes. Still, he does drink the Snapple. The diet kind, anyway.

It probably isn't any better for him than diet soda, so maybe he should just go back to that. Or maybe not.

Anyway, if you've ever had Snapple, you know that there are little fun facts under the cap. This is always an exciting part of drinking one.

Last week, TigerBlog had one that said that 1,111,111,111 times 1,111,111,111 equals 12345678987654321. Or something like that. Whatever, it's pretty interesting.

He got his favorite one ever yesterday though.

He popped open the bottle, and there it was. Tigers, it said, have orange and black stripes on their skin, not just their fur.

That's pretty cool. Any cap that mentions Tigers and orange and black seems to be trying to get the attention of Princeton Athletics. Maybe it's a sign. All Princeton teams will win every game until TigerBlog gets another sign from the Snapple cap?

That might be asking a lot.

Anyway, it makes TB think of FieldTurf fields. Tigers have their stripes sewn on, not painted on.

The Snapple cap was one of two highlights of yesterday. The other was when TigerBlog got to the event meeting yesterday morning and saw that there, on the new TV in the conference room, was a classic of American culture, led by an iconic figure in American character acting.

It was Bugs Bunny. The one where he gets drafted into the Army.

How can you beat that? If the Snapple cap was a sign of the coming of good fortune for the Tigers, what's that a sign of?

TB has no answer to that.

It was at the event meeting that Brendan Van Ackeren, who is a mainstay in the business office and the husband of softball coach Lisa Van Ackeren, said that the women's and men's tennis teams would both be heading to Virginia for the NCAA tournament.

Given that the men didn't have an automatic bid, it was hardly a certainty.

Then, several hours later, that's exactly what happened.

It'll be the Ivy League champion Princeton women in Virginia to take on South Carolina in the opening round. That match will be Saturday at 9 a.m., which, when TigerBlog was a kid (and probably adult) was always prime Bugs Bunny time.

The men will also be in Charlottesville, they to take on Minnesota Friday at 10 a.m.

If the women win, they play the winner of Virginia-VCU Sunday at noon. If they men win, they would take on the winner of Virginia-St. John's Saturday at 3.

The women are looking for a repeat of last year, when they won the first round match against Arizona State and then scared second-ranked Alabama before falling short.

As for the men, it's their first NCAA appearance since 1998. 

It was a good night for Ivy League tennis, as Dartmouth got an at-large bid to the women's tournament and three teams were in the men's draw - Princeton, Harvard and Columbia.

Princeton is the only school in the league in both tournaments.

TigerBlog jumped on the women's tennis bandwagon when he saw the Tigers win at Dartmouth. He also went to the match against Cornell at home, where Princeton closed out an outright championship and cemented the automatic bid.

As for the men, TB hasn't seen any of their matches this year. He has played squash against Billy Pate, who likes to pass himself off as a nice guy but who turns ultra-competitive when competition begins.

Actually, he is a really nice guy. He just also happens to be super-competitive. It's a good combination for a coach.

Last night was a big night for Princeton tennis, both teams.

TB doesn't really think all of Princeton's teams will win all of their games until he gets another sign from the Snapple cap.

Hey, he can still root for it to happen.

Hopefully that magic can work this weekend in Virginia. For both teams.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Get Well Gooch

TigerBlog Jr. was no more than three or four years old when he met Gooch Arcamone.

Gooch - "Goocher," as TigerBlog always has called him - has been a fixture in these parts for a long, long time. TB has no idea quite how long exactly.

There have been many more meetings between TBJ and Gooch through the years.

TBJ would come to games at Jadwin back when he was a ball boy for men's basketball, and he would see Gooch here, in his familiar post with the event staff. Each time, Gooch would stop the boy and engage him in conversation, the kind that your grandfather would, or perhaps an old teacher.

Eventually, TBJ stopped coming around as often. It didn't stop Gooch from asking TigerBlog about how his son was doing.

Every single time TB saw Gooch, he'd ask. "How's your son? Tell him I said hi."

Gooch is in his mid-’80s now. TigerBlog would see him often still when he would work a shift at the desk monitor in Jadwin.

TigerBlog was struck and saddened by the news that Gooch had suffered a stroke recently. He wishes him all the best to a quick, full recovery.

Gooch is an old-timer, of course. He's old-time in age, but also in civility and manners. He's just a nice guy, one who takes the time to get to know the people who walk by him day after day here.

The Department of Athletics is this wonderful mix of faces that change all the time with others that endure for decades. It's a real melting pot, with people from all over the country, from all different backgrounds, at all different stages of their lives, careers and everything else.

It's a great combination of young and old, with some in the middle, like TigerBlog, who leans more to the old than the young side.

When TB sees the new generations come through, it's hard to keep all of their names straight sometimes. He wonders what they know about Princeton Athletics, its history, who all these "old" people are who've been here.

Not everyone is looking to stay here very long. How will they remember their time here?

It's the people, right? 

People like Gooch are very much a part of the fabric of the department. People like Gooch bring a great deal of character to the place while asking very little back.

When TigerBlog heard that Gooch had his stroke, he thought about how kind he's always been to TBJ. He thought of all the football games where TigerBlog was the PA announcer and Gooch was the monitor by the door outside the PA booth.

TB can't count the number of games he and Gooch were stationed near each other. It's always been good to see him, and TB's wishes are that it isn't long until Gooch is back to be part of it again.

Now that TigerBlog thinks about it, he can't remember when he in fact met Gooch. And he doesn't know what Gooch's career was. Or why they call him Gooch, for that matter.

He does know that Gooch is a really good man, and TB has always enjoyed talking to him.

And now he's not doing well.

TigerBlog joins with everyone else here in wishing him the best.

Get well Gooch.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Busy, Busy

TigerBlog posted his men's lacrosse story to Saturday, after the Tigers fell to Cornell 15-10.

Then he got in his car and drove back from Ithaca, which takes around four hours.

When he got back, he checked his computer to see what was new on the website. And what did he find?

In the time it took him to drive back, had had 10 new stories posted. This doesn't include box scores or stat updates or anything.

TigerBlog is talking about 10 new stories.

That's how it is on a spring Saturday. It gets pretty busy.

TigerBlog gets asked a bunch of times how Princeton's Office of Athletic Communications decides which stories to post at the front of the webpage each day. The answer is that everything is done chronologically.

Whichever story is done first, that's posted. Then the next one. And so on.

The result is that stories like TB's men's lacrosse game cycle through the front page and off relatively quickly. There's really nothing that can be done about that, though obviously the stories stay prominently displayed on the individual sports pages.

The OAC isn't going to make value judgements that one sport is more important than another, or one game trumps another. It's an assembly line of content that gets churned out, especially on the weekends.

This one was busy, that's for sure.

It featured some big wins and a few crushing losses, as well as more smiling softball players in game action shots on the webpage, something that will be among TB's lasting memories of the 2015 spring season at Princeton, along with the awful weather.

The men's lacrosse team lost a tough one against Cornell, who took control of the game with a perfect second quarter, one that started with the Tigers ahead 5-0 and ended with the Big Red up 9-5. Still, the teams will meet again Friday in the Ivy League tournament semifinals at Brown, so the Tigers have another shot at extending their season.

Each game the Tigers do play gives Kip Orban and Mike MacDonald another opportunity to continue their incredible senior years, with the assault that they continue to put on the program's record book. TigerBlog will have way more on that later this week.

The toughest loss of the weekend was the men's golf team's. Princeton led much of the way in the Ivy League tournament, only to fall by one stroke to Penn.

One stroke. One lousy stroke. How close was it? Penn had a four-man score of 885. Princeton? 886.

That's ridiculous. It's also the second time in three years that Princeton golf felt that sting, after the women lost by one back in 2013.

On the bright side for Princeton was sophomore Quinn Prchal, who tied the Ivy record with a final-round 67 to win the individual title by three strokes.

As for those who won big this weekend, there was the women's lacrosse team, which took care of Brown 14-8 to finish off a perfect 7-0 run in the Ivy League. The Tigers will host the women's tournament for the second straight year and will play Harvard in the semifinals; Penn and Cornell meet in the other semifinal.

Princeton has won 13 straight regular-season Ivy League games, since an opening day loss to Brown a year ago. This time Erin McMunn had five goals, Erin Slifer had three and sophomore Olivia Hompe reached the 100-point mark for her career - in just 34 games.

Princeton finished the regular season at 12-3, led by the same three who led the team against Brown. McMunn is Princeton's career leader in assists, while Slifer and Hompe are 1-2 on the team in points this season with 55 and 54.

The other team who won a championship this weekend was the women's water polo team, who defeated Indiana 7-6 in the College Water Polo Association championship game.

The incredible Ashleigh Johnson broke the school record for saves in a career with the 17 she made in the title game, giving her 1,003 for her career and making her the first Tiger to go past 1,000.

Princeton had lost seven straight times to Indiana, including twice this year by one goal each.

This time, in the championship game, Ashley Hatcher scored four goals, three of which came in the second half, after Princeton had trailed 4-3 at the break. She also put in two straight after the score was tied at 5-5, giving Princeton a 7-5 lead in the fourth quarter.

Indiana got one back to make it 7-6 but would not get the tying goal. The win, and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, belonged to Princeton.

And with that, a very long and very busy weekend came to a close.

If TigerBlog is correct, then the only remaining home events for 2014-15 are the women's lacrosse tournament and rowing and track and field.

TB will be back on the road this weekend, heading to Brown for the men's lacrosse tournament. It to would have been in Princeton had the Tigers defeated Cornell, but it wasn't meant to be.

Sometimes that happens. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don't.

There were both ends of that spectrum for Princeton on this busy, busy spring weekend. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

That's Cold

TigerBlog was doing the PA at a high school girls' lacrosse game last night, and he can tell you first hand that it was beyond freezing.

The temperature was 39. The wind chill was probably half that. And this was late April?

What's up with that?

If you consider a nice spring day to be something between, say, 62 and 72 degrees with perhaps a gentle breeze and sunshine, then the greater Princeton metropolitan area has had exactly none of those yet. Okay, maybe one or two. Maybe three at the most.

There have been a few where it's been near 80 already. Just nothing spring-like.

TigerBlog grew up an hour east of Princeton. He remembers great springs, with great spring weather.

One of his best memories of his old house was the window in the kitchen. It had a long metal rod that slid out, pushing the window back. With the rod was pulled in as much as it would go, it had to be turned to the right to be secured and locked.

He used to love when that window was open in the spring and the fresh air would pour inside the house.

There was a line of trees that started at the end of his block and ended in TigerBlog's backyard, which was the halfway point of his street. The edge of the treeline always formed a great blend of green leaves against the blue sky on the nicest spring days.

He can almost see it now, looking up and out of that window.

Anyway, as TigerBlog was at the girls lacrosse game shivering, he thought about the Penn Relays. So he texted Mike Henderson, Princeton's Director of Track Operations and an honorary member of the Office of Athletic Communications - he is a former SID and his desk is in this office.

"Warm?" TB asked. "So cold" was the response.

Princeton had a good start to the Penn Relays.

Julia Ratcliffe won the hammer throw. The 4x400 men's relay advanced to the Championship of America final for tomorrow, defeating such notables as LSU and Texas A&M. All three women in the 5K - Kathrn Fluehr, Kathryn Little and Erika Fluehr all ran personal bests. In the steeplechase championship, junior Emily de La Bruyere ran 10:38.03 to finish in sixth place.

Princeton did well on a cold night.

You want really cold?

The Tewaaraton Trophy nominees were announced this morning. The top 25 players in Division I, for men and women.

Well, supposedly top 25.

You can't tell TigerBlog that Kip Orban and Mike MacDonald don't belong on the list. At least one of them.

There were six offensive middies nominated. None of them is Orban.

Of course, none of them have as many goals as Orban, who has 36. None of them have a shooting percentage anywhere near that of Orban's .429 (none is better than .350, actually).

MacDonald? He's fourth in Division I in points per game and sixth in goals per game. Neither was nominated.

TigerBlog will never figure out why Orban doesn't get his due. He wasn't even honorable mention All-Ivy last year, let alone All-America. He wasn't a preseason All-America this year.

Each game now he seems to pass someone on Princeton's season or career scoring list who regular earned both of those honors. The same is true with MacDonald.

Oh well. It doesn't really matter, TB supposes. Orban and the Tigers have more important things to worry about now.

What matters is tomorrow's game at Cornell. Princeton-Cornell men's lacrosse is one of the best events on the Ivy League athletic calendar each year. Cornell has won 28 Ivy titles. Princeton has won 27. Nobody else has won more than eight. They are by far the dominant teams in Ivy men's lacrosse history.

Princeton has already assured itself a share of the league title and a spot in next week's Ivy tournament. A win over Cornell would mean an outright championship and that the men's tournament would join the women's tournament in Princeton. Princeton's women have already sewn that up, though those Tigers need a win over Brown tomorrow or a Penn loss tomorrow to get the outright Ivy championship.

Back at the men, a Cornell win would mean that the tournament would be in Providence if coupled with a Brown win over Dartmouth or in Ithaca should Brown lose.

Princeton is also playing to get into the NCAA tournament. If the Tigers don't get the automatic bid from the league, then they will find themselves as probably either the last team in or first team out. Every game is huge now, especially in an Ivy League that could get four teams into the NCAAs.

Still, TigerBlog can't help but be a bit, well, pissed off about the way Orban has been consistently overlooked.

Back when TB first started doing radio for Princeton basketball, he was often part of a three-man radio crew with David Brody and Rich Simkus. One night, as halftime came, TigerBlog said that Pete Carril looked "pissed off" as he left the court.

Brody and Simkus then looked at him without speaking, at which TB said "what, you can't say 'pissed off' on the radio?"

At that point, Brody said: "I guess you can, because you just did. Twice."

The same applies here. Can TB say "pissed off?" He must be able to do, since he's said it a bunch of times.

But it applies in this case.

Orban deserves better. So does MacDonald.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Marathon, The Relays, And Softball Smiles

Kelly Widener was late for the weekly staff events meeting Tuesday.

Widener works on the compliance staff and also has event management responsibilities. She's also an Ohio State grad, undergrad and law school.

TigerBlog saw her shortly after the meeting. She looked like she was just running late, typical stuff. She has two little kids. Maybe one them was the cause.

Then TB found out why.

It was because she ran the Boston Marathon the day before. Her time, TB thinks, was a little below 3:30. That's pretty strong.

For Widener, it was her seventh completed marathon. That's seven more than TB will ever run.

The day after the marathon? She hardly seemed fazed by it at all.

So congrats to Kelly for her accomplishment.

The Boston Marathon started the week in track and field. The end brings the Penn Relays.

TigerBlog goes to Peter Farrell, the only head coach of women's track and field that Princeton has ever had, for all things track and field. And what was his take on the Relays?

Well, he said that he went to a food truck outside of Franklin Field and got a cheesesteak, pretzel and soda - all for $6.

Actually, TigerBlog's conversation with Farrell actually started with last weekend's meet, the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton. TigerBlog wondered if a meet like that, a huge track and field meet, which means a huge administrative undertaking, still got his juices flowing.

Clearly it does. You can talk to Farrell for two seconds to get that answer.

The Penn Relays is one of his favorite events of any year. TigerBlog went once, when he was at Penn. It's certainly entertaining.

If you're a track guy, then yes, it's about as good as it gets.

One event after another, for three days. High schools kids in one event. Olympians in the next.

Princeton has been competing in the Penn Relays since before it was the Penn Relays. In fact, the Penn Relays began in 1895 as an offshoot of an annual relay competition between Princeton and Penn.

At least that's what it says on the website:
When the University Track Committee, chaired by Frank B. Ellis ‘93, looked for ways of adding interest to their 1893 spring handicap meet, they struck on the idea of a relay, four men each running a quarter mile in succession. The idea created enough interest that a team from Princeton was invited to contest the event. Held at the end of the meet on May 12, the Princeton team of J.A. Chapman, George McCampbell, Isaac Brokow and Theodore Turner pulled away in the homestretch to beat Penn by eight yards with a time of 3:34.0.
The following year Penn exacted its revenge against the Princeton team on the University Field track, located at 37th and Spruce Streets, where the Quad Dormitory is now. Interest in the first two years’ races was such that the committee decided to sponsor a relay meet in 1895 with hopes of reviving sagging interest in Penn track. The first Penn Relays also served as the dedication for Franklin Field, built on the same ground it occupies today, but under a different guise. The only grandstand at the time was a wooden single-tiered bleacher on the South side of the field, along what is now the sprint straightaway.

TigerBlog never knew there was a track at 37th and Spruce, though he did live there for two years back as an undergraduate.

The Relays started with the decathlon and heptathlons. They get into full swing today and run through Saturday.

TigerBlog has seen a lot of football games in Franklin Field, but the most crowded he ever saw the old stadium was that one time he went to the Penn Relays.

In other news, there was supposed to be an epic thunderstorm yesterday afternoon. It was supposed to be absurd wind and rain and hail and all of that biblical stuff.

It certainly looked like that was going to be the case around 2:30 or so. And yes, a storm came, but it was hardly epic.

It was nasty enough to cancel the baseball game and wipe out the second game of the softball doubleheader.

Earlier, when it was 70 and perfect sunshine around 10:15 of so, TigerBlog went off to the PVC weight room to work out. When he walked out of the door in Caldwell that goes into the men's locker room, he walked smack into the middle of the softball team, in uniform, ready to head over the to field.

Every player on the team looked up at the stranger who walked into their circle. TB said "go get 'em" and kept walking.

Shanna Christian took his words seriously. The junior came within one out of throwing a no-hitter against Yale in the opener. She had two outs in the seventh and got a ground ball that the Yale batter barely beat to first. Then she got the last out for the one-hitter and the win.

Game 2 made it to the fifth inning with Yale ahead 5-0 before the rains came. The Tigers will be at Cornell for four games this weekend.

The Tigers are 8-7 in the league, with five games to play - the remainder of the Yale game and the four against Cornell. Penn is in first place in the division, at 10-6, with four against Columbia.

One thing that TigerBlog has noticed about softball pictures on is that all of the players seem to be smiling. Not in their posed pictures. In their game pictures.

There are five action shots of Princeton softball players on the softball page of the website, and in three of them - with four players - there are wide smiles in the middle of games. TB has never seen anything like it.

Hey, it's fun to play softball at Princeton. What other conclusion can be drawn?

Either that, or they have a great sense of where the camera is.

 Nah. TB will stay with the though that they're having fun.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Strength And Conditioning

TigerBlog is looking pretty ripped these days.

Okay, maybe not ripped. How about more ripped than he was four months or so ago, when he started his new exercise regimen.

TigerBlog was forced to abandon squash awhile back because of a knee issue. After surgery and physical therapy, he found himself mostly walking last fall. Lots and lots of walking.

As it got into the heart of the brutal winter, he found taking walks around Princeton's campus less than appealing. So he started riding the exercise bike.

One day, he decided to add weights to the routine. This was in January, he thinks.

Since then, he's lifted three times a week and been on the bike six or seven times a week.

This is TigerBlog's second go-round with weightlifting. The first time was back in college - back when Ronald Reagan was President.

He began to lift with his friends Charlie Frohman and Paul Glazer. They were bigger and way, way stronger than TigerBlog, who was a tad scrawny back then.

At first, TB could hardly bench press the bar, which is just 45 pounds. Well, maybe not quite that weak, but you get the point.

One of the best parts about lifting weights is the ability to set goals and then achieve them, if you put in the work. TigerBlog's first goal was 135 pounds in the bench, which would be the bar and a 45-pound plate on each side. Then he wanted to get to 185 and eventually 225, which was his ultimate goal, two 45-pound plates on each side.

And then he got there. It took maybe two years or so, but he got there. And then he stopped.

Now, basically 30 years later, he's gotten back into it, repeating the same program that Charlie had taught him all those years ago.

When he first did the bench press again, he remembered back to what Charlie had taught him all those years ago. When he attempted to show TB how far apart he should put his hands on the bar, he put two fists together from the end and had TB put his hand next to that. TigerBlog can still hear him as he said the unit of measure he had invented - "two Frohman hands,"  he called them.

So there was TB, with his hands two Frohman hands in from the edge of the bar, or at least what he estimated Frohman hands would be. And off he went.

TigerBlog was actually better than he thought right off the bat. Now, four months later, he is proud to say that he was able to bench 200 pounds the other day.

His goal is to beat 225 pounds and set a personal best. And then? Who knows. He'll get there though.

TB's spot is the Princeton Varsity Club weightroom, on E level in Jadwin Gym. His preferred time to work out is first thing in the morning.

It's not always empty in the weight room then. In fact, he often finds himself there at the same time as Princeton's out-of-season teams are there.

When TB first started at Princeton, there was no strength and conditioning program. He remembers Princeton's first strength and conditioning coach, or at least his self-appointed nickname - "the difference maker."

Today there is a very coordinated, very involved program for strength and conditioning.

The head coach of strength and conditioning at Princeton is Jason Gallucci. His assistants are Angie Brambley, James DeVincenzi and Terry Joria.

Jason spends his time the varsity weight room in the football stadium. TB mostly sees JD and Terry in the PVC weight room.

Oh, and he also sees Jeff Milliron, the volunteer assistant track and field coach. Jeff basically takes all of the weights in the room, puts them on the bar at once, adds big straps and rubber bands to them to make it even more challenging and then then lifts them. 

Actually, he's seen JD and Terry lift too. They bring a certain intensity to the proceedings.

The first thing about the weight room is the music. It's always loud, and it's never TigerBlog's choosing. He's gotten used to the grungy/metal music that seems to be preferred, to the point where he hardly hears it.

The teams that come in are working hard in advance of next year. It is here, in the weightroom, that a huge part of the progress that individual athletes and teams make is done.

How many times have you heard a coach or a commentator remark that so-and-so "needs to get in the weight room?" Well here they are, and they are working hard.

This is far away from any cheering crowds. This is far away from any competition date. This is far away from nice Princeton uniforms. This is far away from any sort of glory.

This is where the work gets done though. JD and Terry are in total control in their weight room.

There's a great sign outside the weight room that says: "This weight room has trained National Champions, All-Ameicas, Ivy League Champions and Olympic Qualifiers. Do not disgrace their efforts by giving anything less 100% when you step through these doors."

Do the athletes take it seriously? Do they appreciate what happens in that room?

Well, TigerBlog was at the women's tennis match Sunday, when the Tigers defeated Cornell to wrap up the outright Ivy League championship. After being awarded the trophy, the Tigers were given their trophy, and now it was time for all of the celebratory pictures.

At this point, Terry was there, standing in the background. Until the players called to him, asking him to join them in the picture. TigerBlog was touched by it, by the way the players were basically saying "hey, you're a part of why we're here now, you helped us get here, come celebrate with us."

Reluctantly, he did.

He's used to being in the background, in a place that isn't about anything other than working hard. It's not a place to be intimidated. It's not a place to cut corners. It's not a place where you can get away with less than maximum effort, because the results will speak for themselves.

For the last few months, it's been one of TB's favorite places on campus.

And he's come to appreciate, like the women's tennis players, just how much the people who work there mean to Princeton's athletic success.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lax and Lax Makes 10

Before TigerBlog gets into the part about how Princeton's two lacrosse championships have given the athletic program 10 Ivy League titles this academic year, he'd like to say that Zach Currier is unlike basically any player he has ever seen play lacrosse at Princeton.

And that takes into account a lot of players.

TB isn't even sure how he would describe Currier. He's an offensive middie, or is he a defensive middie?

Currier is impossible to define through just stats. Yes, he has nine goals and 13 assists as a first-line midfielder. So what? That doesn't tell anything about what he brings to the field each game.

Currier leads Princeton in ground balls with 59, which is 20 more than the next-best total. That sort of gives a hint as to what kind of player he is, more than just his goals and assists anyway.

Basically, Currier makes every little play a player can make, and added together, they make up a huge part of Princeton's success game after game - even if it's really hard to quantify. All you have to know about him is that, as TB wrote after the Tigers defeated Harvard 12-11 Friday night, Currier's fingerprints are usually all over any success Princeton has.

Princeton led Harvard 12-7 after three quarters, but with 35 seconds left, the Crimson had pulled within one. The face-off would be huge, right?

Currier went out to take it for Princeton. It would have been easy to simply win it. Instead, Harvard's Keegan Michael won it.

So what did Currier do? He caught Michael before he reached the box and took it away from him. Harvard never touched the ball again.

Currier brings a degree of tenacity that TB has rarely seen matched at Princeton. The world of college lacrosse saw that with his epic performance against Johns Hopkins, one that earned him national Player of the Week honors.

But really, he does those sorts of things each week. He does tenacious things. Winning things. He does a lot of everything, basically.

Oh, and in Friday's game, he came within an inch or so of scoring as spectacular a goal as TB has ever seen. Currier caught the ball in traffic in the middle and then went behind the back with a ton of velocity, so much velocity that it bounced all the way over the sideline after it rocked off the crossbar. Had it gone in? It would have been incredible.

So that's where TigerBlog wanted to start today, with Currier. He'll get back to the 10 Ivy titles shortly. In the meantime, let's talk Princeton lacrosse. Men's and women's.

He could have started with Kip Orban and Mike MacDonald, who are putting together epic senior seasons. Or he could have started with the women, who are now a game away from a perfect Ivy season, one year after dropping the opener and then winning out from there.

But instead, he started with Currier. Even now, TB doesn't think he did a really good job of describing him. Maybe it's just impossible to do that.

Now, about the Princeton women.

The big game for Princeton was last Tuesday, when the Tigers defeated Penn to take control of the Ivy League race. Princeton then followed that with a win over Columbia this past Saturday and now hosts Brown this Saturday in the regular season finale.

It won't be the end of lacrosse in Princeton though. The Tigers are assured of at least a share of the Ivy League championship, and no matter what happens this weekend, Princeton will be hosting the Ivy League women's tournament in two weeks.

It'll be the second straight year that Princeton will be the host site for the women's tournament. The Tigers will be joined in Princeton by Penn, Cornell and the winner of the Harvard-Yale game.


Olivia Hompe won the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Week Award after her seven-goal week, which included three against Penn and four against Columbia. It was the fourth time this year Princeton had the Ivy Offensive Player of the Week; Erin Slifer won the other three.

Hompe leads Princeton with 33 goals, which is 1.5 times as many as she had last year, when she scored 22 as a freshman. Slifer leads the team in points with 48, on 29 goals and 19 assists.

The Brown game gives Princeton a chance to win the outright league title. Of course, the Bears are the only Ivy team to beat Princeton in the regular season the last two seasons. It was Brown who beat Princeton in the 2014 season opener, before the Tigers ripped off six straight then and six more this year.

And the men?

The Tigers have also clinched at least a share for the Ivy title. Princeton would win the outright title with a win at Cornell Saturday and then would also host the Ivy tournament, which would be a first in the six-year history of the event, one school as the host for both tournaments.

Of course, there's a long way to go until then. Princeton might be in sole possession of first place in the league, but it's also the ranked behind Yale, Brown and Cornell in the national poles.

Oh well. Princeton will get to prove it on the field. The Tigers are in the Ivy tournament for sure, which was Goal No. 1 after missing it a year ago. Goal No. 2 is the Ivy title. Goal No. 3 is getting into the NCAA tournament.

Without the automatic bid that comes with the tournament championship, the Tigers will be right on the bubble, one way or another.

No matter what, Princeton will have won an Ivy League championship.

And the two lacrosse titles bring Princeton to 10 for the year. For the record, that's: field hockey, men's soccer, men's cross country, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, men's indoor track and field, women's basketball, women's tennis and the two lacrosses.

For Princeton, it's the 22nd time the program has reached double figures in Ivy titles. Harvard is the only other school to reach double figures, and the Crimson have done it seven times.

Double figure Ivy titles. That's always a goal each year when the academic year begins.

TigerBlog will never take it for granted that Princeton will get there. Hey, the Tigers didn't do it last year, when there were six.

As for the lacrosse teams, there's a lot left to do in 2015.

It starts this weekend, when the regular season ends.

How far beyond that will the season extend?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Somebody Won

Long before TigerBlog began playing squash, he was a high school tennis player.

He played quite a bit of tennis up through his 20s. He remembers one time when he was at the newspaper, he played against the boyfriend of a woman reporter. She was about five years older than TB, and TB had a huge crush on her.

He refused to let her boyfriend beat him, and they played a grueling three-hour match on a very hot, very humid suffer afternoon before TB finally won. It was the best match TB can ever remember playing - and then she married the other guy anyway a few weeks later.

To that point, he had played squash only once in his life, once in college against BrotherBlog. TB didn't really get the whole point of squash at first.

Then, after a long and dominating career in Jadwin lunchtime basketball, TigerBlog turned to squash one summer, when the court at Jadwin was being remodeled. From that point, it became all squash all the time for TB.

In fact, he's only tried to play tennis once since, and he found that the segue from squash to tennis is nearly impossible.

See, in squash, there's a wall to stop the ball and send it back to you. In tennis, there's a fence beyond the end line, and hitting that fence is not a winning strategy.

TigerBlog found that after all the years of playing squash, hitting a tennis ball into the court - as opposed to off the fence - was quite difficult.

Still, as TigerBlog watched Princeton play Cornell in women's tennis yesterday afternoon, he had to disagree with Executive Associate Athletic Director Anthony Archbald, who said that he doubted TigerBlog could return one serve in the court against Lindsay Graff, Princeton's No. 1 player.

Not win a point. Just return one serve. In a best-of-three-sets match. TigerBlog would have to think he could get one in, no? Just one?

TigerBlog jumped on the Princeton women's tennis bandwagon last weekend in New Hampshire, when he saw the Tigers close out Dartmouth 4-3. Katie Goepel was the difference in that one, as TB saw her win the final match of the day for the deciding point.

Princeton then beat Harvard to find itself assured of at least a tie for the Ivy title. And outright Ivy title and NCAA tournament bid would be Princeton's with a win in either of its remaining matches.

Except Princeton fell to Columbia Friday, which put the pressure on the Tigers yesterday.

When TB got to the match, Princeton was ahead 2-0, having won the doubles point and one of the singles match. It got to 3-0 when Graff won her match, which meant that Princeton needed to win one of the remaining four matches to get the big prizes.

The only problem was that Cornell had won the first set in each of the other four matches. The prevailing wisdom among the large Princeton faithful who watched at the Lenz Center was this: Somebody has to win, right?

For the next hour or so, the "somebody has to win, right" thinking wasn't quite a sure thing.

From TB's vantage point - in the Cordish Family Pavilion - he was closest to the match at No. 2, where Princeton's Amanda Muliawan had dropped her first set and then pulled away to win the second set 6-2.

Now it was the third set. TB thinks Muliawan went up 40-0 in Game 1, only to lose that one and the next one. Now she was down 2-0.

It seemed like the momentum had clearly turned on that court. And as TB looked up at the scoreboard, Cornell had already won one and was up in the third second set in two others. Now it looked like maybe Cornell might make a 4-0 sweep and take the match.

Each point seemed to be huge from that point, and TigerBlog couldn't help but notice that each player on every court who won a point seemed to yell the same thing: "C'mon." Princeton or Cornell. It was one "C'mon" after another.

On Court 2, suddenly it was Muliawan who kept yelling "C'mon." Over and over.

Six straight games worth, as it turned out.

Muliawan went up 5-2 and 40-15, with two match points. On the first one it appeared that Muliawan could have called the ball out and won, but she didn't. And she lost that point.

So now it was 40-30. This time, it was a strong rally between Muliawan and Cornell's Alexandra D'Ascenzo. Then Muliawan hit one that seemed to go in slow motion, tantalizingly deliberate as it approached the net. And then it hit the net and seemed to hang there for an eternity - until it dropped on the other side.

For the Tigers, it was the second straight outright championship and in a few weeks, it'll be the second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

There was no wild celebration. Just a few hugs, especially since there were two matches left on the court. One finished in a second-set tiebreaker to Cornell, and the other was just starting the third set when the players played a 10-point tiebreaker instead. Goepel won that one 10-0.

And then the celebration started. There was the trophy presentation, and there were pictures on the court.

 As it turned out, "somebody" did win. It was hardly easy.

Then again, championships aren't supposed to be easy.

And when "somebody" - in this case Amanda Muliana - won, Princeton had won another one.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Bunch Of Big Events

So this is a fairly big weekend for Princeton sports.

One team is playing for an outright Ivy League title. Another is playing for a share. A third could get a share with a win and some help. Another is playing to get into position to get an Ivy title.

Even some teams that aren't playing for a league championship have huge rivalry games.

And there's also the added benefit of having many of these events on campus.

So where would TigerBlog like to start today? Of course.

With that ESPN reporter who went off on the person where her car was towed. Did you see this?

First of all, TigeBlog had never heard of Britt McHenry before he saw the story yesterday about how she was suspended by ESPN for a week after her awful tirade. You can see for yourself HERE if you haven't seen it yet.

Okay, two things.

First, did she have to touch every stereotype of TV personalities all at once? Admit it. What did you think when you saw her? Typical female TV sportscaster, chosen for her looks and nothing else? And now that she's on ESPN, she feels she's some sort of special class who is several stratospheres above the lowly people who watch her on TV?

Well, did you know this about McHenry: She has a master's degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, after graduating magna cum laude from Stetson, where she played on the soccer team? She actually sounds like someone who could have had a lot of credibility, only to throw it away completely in one ridiculous temper tantrum.

Seriously. Who will ever think of her as legitimate ever again?

And then there's the second thing, and it's a lesson that continues to bite people every day, from small things to career-defining moments to events that rise all the way to defining national attitudes on the biggest of issues.

Assume at all times that the camera is on you. Somewhere, somehow, for whatever reason - assume everything that you do is being videotaped.

Anyway, Britt McHenry, you could not have come across as a worse person if you had set out to try to make yourself look bad, if that was actually your goal.

And now back to the weekend at Princeton.

It starts this evening on Sherrerd Field, where the men's lacrosse team hosts Harvard. If you can't make it, the game is on ESPNU.

Should TigerBlog share that with you? Isn't the goal to get people to the game, not to remind them they can watch it at home? Or does he have a responsibility to share that information?

He's reading too much into it.

Anyway, it's a huge game in the men's lacrosse race. There are two weekends and six Ivy games left. Princeton and Cornell are headed to the Ivy tournament. Harvard, at 1-3, can still get in. In fact, every Ivy team is still mathematically alive, though that cannot be the case after this weekend.

Harvard is out with a loss tonight. Princeton? It is playing for the league championship and home field for the Ivy tournament.

The regular season ends next weekend at Cornell, who like Princeton is 3-1 and with a share of first place. Cornell is at Brown tomorrow.

The other big event on campus tonight is at Dillon Gym and has become one of the best events of the athletic calendar at Princeton. What would that be? Penn State at Princeton men's volleyball.

Last year's match was a classic, one that Princeton won against the power of Eastern volleyball. It was an intense night with a packed house. This year figures to be more of the same, even if Penn State is again a huge favorite.

If you're in New York City this afternoon, you can see the women's tennis team play at Columbia.

Princeton has already won at least a share of the Ivy League championship and needs a win against either the Lions or home Sunday against Cornell to wrap up the outright title and the NCAA tournament bid. Will it be easy? Hardly.

Princeton is ranked 40th this week nationally. Columbia is No. 46. Cornell is No. 75.

Then there is women's lacrosse.

The Tigers have a really quick turnaround after their huge win Wednesday night over Penn, 9-7 in Philadelphia. Up next is Columbia, tomorrow at 1 on Sherrerd Field.

A win in that game would mean that Princeton would definitely host the Ivy League women's tournament and would earn no worse than a share of the Ivy title. Princeton would get an outright title with a win tomorrow and then a win next weekend over Brown, also at home.

Columbia and Brown are both 1-4 in the league. Brown beat Princeton a year ago.

Admission to the women's lacrosse game is free. And it's supposed to be 75 and sunny. So there is no reason not to be there, right?

Well, unless you decided to go to the softball games at Penn.

These are also huge games. Princeton enters the weekend 6-4 in the division. Penn is 7-5. The Tigers have four games in Philadelphia this weekend.

To earn a shot at the division title and a chance to play in the Ivy League championship series, it seems like a split at the very least might be necessary. A team that wins three this weekend would be putting itself in the driver's seat.

Being a spring weekend, there's also water polo (away), baseball (away), rowing (home and away) and a huge track and field meet (the Larry Ellis Invitational).

And, after having started with that ESPN reporter, TigerBlog will finish the day with Larry Ellis.

When TigerBlog first came around Princeton Larry Ellis was the men's track and field coach. He was also the U.S. Olympic Track and Field coach.

One day, TigerBlog was walking down the balcony, when he heard a conversation between Ellis and an athlete, who asked Ellis what he would have to do to achieve his goal of a certain time in his event.

And what did Ellis say?

"Run faster."

There's genius in that answer, by the way.

Enjoy your weekend. Go to at least one Princeton event.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Trying To Win In Philly

TigerBlog wanted to start out writing about the NBA draft lottery situation and then get into the women's lacrosse game against Penn from last night.

He even knew how he was going to segue. Talk about the Sixers. How they played in Philadelphia last night. And then mention how the Princeton-Penn women's lacrosse game was in Philadelphia as well.

Maybe say something about how there were two big games in Philadelphia last night, except in one of them both teams were trying to lose.

Yeah, that's how he was going to do it.

Instead, though, he feels the need to start with something serious. The Aaron Hernandez case.

It wasn't that long ago that Hernandez was considered a better NFL tight end than his New England teammate Rob Gronkowski. And now?

Hernandez is a convicted murderer. He is now serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

Ironically, the prison in which he will serve that sentence is located two miles from Gillette Stadium, the home of the Patriots. As he begins his life sentence after his conviction yesterday, Hernandez is barely past his 25th birthday.

This is an awful story all around. TigerBlog cannot imagine how someone can go from where Hernandez was - a rising NFL star with a contract that was to pay him $40 million - to where he is now. How can anyone make the kinds of decisions he made, with the kinds of outcomes that resulted.

And now look at him. Again, TigerBlog long ago tried to give up on the idea that sports stars are automatically smart, well-adjusted, heroic people. In fact, as he's said before, he knows exactly when that started, back when he found out that Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were hooked on cocaine.

These days, he doesn't put much faith in any athletes. That way he can't be let down.

But this? This is so beyond the pale that he can't even comprehend it. He can't even begin to imagine how something like this is even possible.

And, as he sits in a prison cell having completely flushed his life away, what is Aaron Hernandez thinking?

Anyway, that's enough of that.

As for the NBA draft lottery, TigerBlog's memory is that it began to prevent two teams who were heading to the worst record in the league from tanking. Now? It's all tanking all the time for teams that are out of it. 

Worse, these teams gut their rosters to make it happen. And then they make trades that have picks that are protected under certain circumstances and not under others.

Look at the Knicks. They got hammered the other night by the media and their fans - by winning. 

The result of the lottery last night was a game in Philadelphia between the Heat and Sixers that both teams desperately needed to lose. Of course, the players still go and play hard. It's not like they shoot the ball in the wrong basket or anything.

The easiest solution is to get rid of the lottery. It lessons the incentive to tank, at least for most of the teams.

And that's enough of that.

As for the game that was played in Philadelphia last night that both teams actually tried to win, it was the women's lacrosse game, between No. 13 Princeton and No. 11 Penn. That was, by the way, a pretty good segue.

Princeton and Penn were both 4-0 heading into the women's lacrosse game last night at Franklin Field. The winner had the inside track to winning the Ivy League and hosting the Ivy tournament.

And the winner was Princeton. The Tigers erased a one-goal halftime deficit and pulled away to win 9-7.

It's a huge win for the Tigers.

Princeton is now 5-0, with home games against Columbia and Brown, beginning Saturday at 1 against the Lions. A win in either of those games means that Princeton clinches at least a share of the league title and the host role for the Ivy tournament.

Columbia and Brown are both 1-4 in the Ivy League. Brown did defeat Princeton in the Tigers Ivy opener a year ago.

Since then, Princeton has not lost an Ivy League regular season game, winning the final six last year to earn home field for the Ivy tournament and now winning the first five this year.

Princeton is already in the Ivy tournament. There are four other teams - Penn, Harvard, Cornell and Yale - in the running for the other three spots.

Had Penn won last night, it would be the Quakers who would need one win in the last two to get a share of the title and home field for the ILT. Penn led 5-4 at the break, but Princeton's Olivia Hompe scored twice to start the second half. Penn tied it at 6-6, but a 3-0 Princeton run basically ended matters.

The first of those three goals, by the way, was from Erin McMunn, who became the sixth player in program history to reach 200 career points.

It was a big night in Philadelphia for the Princeton women's lacrosse team, who won the game it needed to win. It was a big night for the Sixers too. They lost when they need to lose.

Both teams went home happy, TB supposes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax Day

Not that you need TigerBlog to remind you of this, but today is Tax Day.

There are very few days on the calendar that are as identifiable with something year after year after year as is today, April 15. What else matches that?

The Fourth of July? December 25? January 1? That's about it, right?

TigerBlog spoke to his friend Todd yesterday, and Todd had to cut the conversation short because he was finishing his taxes. TB would never have pegged him for a procrastinator.

The tax laws in this country are insanely complex. And TigerBlog's own tax situation has evolved radically since he first filed them way back when, using the 1040EZ form, something that took him about three minutes to complete.

The lingering deadline of April 15 always hangs over people. It starts probably in mid-February or so, when people first think about getting their taxes done.

If TigerBlog had to guess, he'd say that more than 90% of people wait until April to actually do anything about filing their taxes, and probably 75% get them done within 72 hours of the deadline.

Back when TB first started filing them, it was a bit tougher, because they actually had to be mailed. On the other hand, it made for good theater, and the news was always filled with those who were mailing their taxes as the midnight deadline closed in.

Now, everything is e-filed. It makes getting the refund a lot easier, that's for sure. Oh, and the refund? That's just your money, not a bonus you get from the government of anything. It's the money you had withheld above what you should have.

You know who probably won't be cheating on his taxes?

Kyle Hagel.

If you happened to stop by yesterday, you might have noticed that, in between the pictures of volleyball, golf, tennis, softball and lacrosse was one lone hockey picture, perhaps somewhat out of place here in the spring.

The picture went with a story about Hagel, a 2008 Princeton alum who won the American Hockey League's Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the Man of the Year. Hagel was given this honor for his service to the local community as a member of the Charlotte Checkers.

Each team in the extremely large AHL has a local winner of the award, and then the league-wide winner is chosen among them. Of the 30 team winners, three were Princeton alums, with Mike Moore of the Hershey Bears) and Mike Sdao of the Binghamton Senators also honored.

Princeton had more representatives than any other college. From the release about Hagel, by the way: A five-time recipient of his team’s Yanick Dupré Award nomination, representing five different AHL cities, Hagel has been the face of the Checkers’ efforts in the Charlotte community this season. He has spent countless hours at school and community appearances delivering toys to patients at a children’s hospital, leading school assemblies to promote healthy living and the importance of hard work, bringing lessons of hockey to both physical education and science classes, and much more. Hagel also implemented the successful “Stick to Reading” program that he created in his previous AHL cities, contacting administrators at a local middle school, laying the groundwork for the program and encouraging his teammates to participate. Hagel captained the Checkers’ efforts during “Movember” to raise funds for men’s health causes, and also remained involved in two endeavors he helped develop earlier in his career: Shnarped, a popular mobile app that directly connects hockey players with fans; and Hockey Players for Kids, a non-profit organization made up of hockey players dedicated to improving the communities they live in.

You know who else is unlikely to cheat come tax time? The woman in the softball picture next to Hagel's on the website.

Last time, it was Skye Jerpbak, the catcher, who was all smiles in an action picture on the website. This time, it's Kelsey Smith, who also has an ear-to-ear grin while getting ready to hit.

Why are all these softball players so happy? Maybe it's because the team is in first place in its division heading into a huge weekend series at Penn.

Princeton is 6-4 in the South Division, while Penn is 7-5. Dartmouth at 11-1, is three games up on Harvard in the North Division.

The two division winners meet, at the home of the team with the better record, in the Ivy League Championship Series. The four games this weekend in Philadelphia could push one of the teams in a big way in the right direction should one get three or even four of them.

On an ominous note, Penn has won at least three from Princeton every year since 2008. Does that impact this year? 

Princeton still has two games with Yale and four with Cornell. After this weekend, Penn will have just four with Columbia, whom Princeton swept last weekend.

Princeton is doing all this is a year when it played its home opener on Saturday and had its senior day on Sunday, due to awful weather and construction on its home field.

Speaking of races between Princeton and Penn, there's a huge one tonight at Franklin Field between the teams in women's lacrosse.

Princeton and Penn are the only unbeatens in the Ivy League, at 4-0 each.

The Tigers have already clinched a spot in the Ivy League tournament. Penn has not, mathematically at least, though that would change with one win its final three league games.

Princeton and Penn are thinking bigger than just getting in the field, though. The winner tonight will have taken a huge step towards winning the championship and hosting the tournament.

On paper, Princeton has the easier schedule for the last two weekends with home games against Brown and Columbia, who are both 1-4 in the league. On the other hand, Brown defeated Princeton a year ago in Providence.

Penn still has to play Harvard - tied with Cornell at 3-2 for second - and Yale, who is 2-3. Yale appears to be in with a pair of wins and can even get in with a 3-4 record if the right things happen.

Princeton's Erin McMunn, already the program's career leader in assists, needs one point to reach 200 for her career, which would make her the sixth player in program history to reach that milestone. Another Erin, Slifer, leads the team with 44 points.

Princeton is ranked 13th. Penn is ranked 11th.

The weather should be perfect in West Philadelphia for this one.

So if you haven't done so yet, e-file and then get to the women's lacrosse game.

TigerBlog's advice is to not mess around on your taxes. After all, that's how they got Al Capone. It wasn't murder or anything like that. It was income tax evasion.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Serving Up Another Championship

TigerBlog was driving back from Dartmouth Saturday afternoon when he had to stop in the Connecticut town of Darien to get gas.

Most of the time that TB gets gas, it's in New Jersey, where he doesn't have to pump it himself. In fact, it's the law in New Jersey. Presumably, the point was to create jobs, TB has always assumed.

In Connecticut, TB had to pump it himself. So he got out of the car and went to put the fuel in his tank.

That's where he noticed something that boggled his mind.

On the gas pump was a TV screen, and it was showing a video. In this case, it was a clip from one of the talk shows on daytime TV.

Is this what the collective attention span of the American consumer has reached?

Nobody can stand there for two minutes to pump gas without having to be entertained? Or is this just another vehicle to squeeze an extra penny or two of advertising?

In protest, TigerBlog refused to look at the video screen.

A few hours earlier, TigerBlog had been in Hanover for the men's lacrosse team's 16-5 win over Dartmouth. The game began at 1 and ended around 3, and TB was done with everything he needed to do shortly thereafter.

Before beginning the long ride home, though, he decided to step into the tennis center to see if Princeton-Dartmouth women's tennis was still going on. As it turned out, he had timed it just perfectly.

First, for those wondering why the match was indoors, the weather in Hanover Saturday didn't quite match the weather in Princeton. Nope, it was in the 30s and windy in the morning, and of course, there is still plenty of snow on the grass up there, well into April.

When TB walked into the tennis building, he could see that there were only two matches going on, one on Court 2 and the other on Court 6. The big scoreboard on the wall said the match score was 3-2 in favor of Princeton and that it was about to become 3-3 when the match on Court 2 ended, which was in the next minute or so.

That put it all on the match on Court 6.

This was not ordinary Ivy women's tennis match, though. This was a huge one, as the undefeated Tigers were playing a Dartmouth team that was ranked above them nationally - actually 16 spots above No. 53 Princeton at No. 37 - and was playing to force a tie at the top of the league standings.

And it all came down to the match on Court 6.

TigerBlog was staring at a long ride home, but he knew he wasn't leaving until the match was completed. It didn't take all that long, either, as Princeton's Katie Goepel went from up 2-1 to winning it at 6-1 in virtually no time.

With her deciding point, the match went to Princeton, 4-3.

TigerBlog has seen a ton of lacrosse. And football and basketball. And more than his share of other sports, like hockey, soccer, field hockey and others.

Princeton prides itself on its broad-based athletic program and fields 38 varsity teams with about 1,000 varsity athletes. Other than the fact that Princeton had just won a huge match, TB was happiest about the chance to see how the Princeton tennis culture played out.

There was a very loyal Princeton contingent in Hanover. TB assumed they were mostly parents.

And it was easy to tell this was a close-knit group. Maybe that's a by-product of winning, or maybe that's part of why a team wins.

And they were a welcoming one. Maybe TB's "Princeton Athletics" shirt was a giveaway that he was on some level one of them, but everyone who saw him had a smile and hello.

With the end of the match, TB wished head coach Laura Granville good luck and then started out for the long drive back. Granville and her team were on their way to Boston, where they would play Harvard the next day.

As it turned out, Princeton had a bigger Sunday than Saturday, with a win over Harvard and a Columbia loss to Brown, which left the Tigers with at least a share of the Ivy League championship. Princeton is at Columbia Friday and home with Cornell Sunday; a win in either match means the outright title and a return to the NCAA tournament.

A year ago, Princeton went 7-0 in the league and defeated Arizona State in the first round of the NCAAs before falling to No. 2 Alabama in a very close match.

The wins this weekend ran Princeton's league winning streak to 12 straight. It also put the Tigers back on the brink of heading back to the postseason.

From TigerBlog's perch above the courts in the gallery Saturday, it was more about offering a little support for the program - and then staying around to see the end of what was a pretty exciting few hours of tennis.

It was a nice end to the day in Hanover, and the start to a great weekend for the Tigers.

A championship weekend. For the second year in a row.

Monday, April 13, 2015

CU77 Says It's True

The Princeton men's lacrosse team has clinched a spot in the Ivy League tournament.

At least TigerBlog has it from a reliable source. Who is the source you ask?

Why it's CU77, of course.

And who is CU77? TigerBlog has no idea.

TB can surmise a few things about him. From the moniker, he's a 1977 Cornell grad. He's either a former Cornell lacrosse player or a huge fan of the program

And, much like TigerBlog, he's fascinated by the permutations of the various scenarios for the Ivy League tournament.

In recent years, today would have been the day that TigerBlog went through all of the remaining possibilities and posted a story about it on This year? Why bother.

CU77 already did it.

CU77 is a poster on the message board. He (for that matter, TB assumes he's a he) went through the last six games - three each for the next two weekends - and came up with the 64 possible outcomes.

All 64 have Princeton and Cornell in the Ivy tournament.

Don't believe TigerBlog? Click HERE and see for yourself. 

Is he right? He is if he interpreted the Ivy League's tiebreakers correctly, which TB assumes he did, since he started out by posting them before he listed all the possibilities.

So instead of doing it himself, TB will simply tip his hat to CU77 and say thanks.

It is, after all, a daunting task. TB wonders how long it actually took him to do.

Still, the lingering question for TB is whether or not he can make the definitive claim that Princeton is in the Ivy tournament. And if so, does he need to give attribution? And if so, to whom? A relatively anonymous person on a message board?

Anyway, TigerBlog does know some things about the upcoming Ivy League tournament. Let's assume Princeton and Cornell are both in, though the Tigers can be anywhere between the outright champion and top seed and tournament host to the No. 4 team.

The winner of the Princeton-Cornell game is guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy League title. That game will be a winner-take-all showdown for the title and top seed if both win this weekend; if one wins this weekend and the other loses, then the winner earns a least a share of the Ivy title before the showdown the following week.

The tournament can only be played in Princeton, Ithaca or Providence, though only 10 of CU77's 64 outcomes result in the tournament at Brown. The only chances for Brown to host involve a win over Cornell this weekend - even TigerBlog could figure that part out.

Princeton hosts Harvard Friday evening at 6 on ESPNU. After that, it's the trip to Cornell for the regular-season finale on April 25.

Princeton's first goal this year was to reach the Ivy League tournament. Goal No. 2 is the NCAA tournament.

That second goal was starting to look like a relatively safe proposition when Princeton was 6-1, but then the Tigers lost three straight - to Brown, Stony Brook and Lehigh. That turned around Saturday, when Princeton sprinted past Dartmouth 16-5.

It's amazing how seasons have their ebbs and flows, and how in a season as short as in lacrosse, how those ebbs and flows can turn on a dime. Princeton left Lehigh Tuesday night in the rain and cold on the short end of a 16-15 score and wondering what was in store for the rest of the season.

And then Saturday in New Hampshire, Princeton played as well as it has all year, on offense and defense. Its third quarter was nearly perfect, as the Tigers outscored Dartmouth 7-1 to break open what had been a 5-3 lead at halftime.

So now the stretch drive begins.

If CU77 is correct, then Princeton has a minimum of three games remaining.

The Tigers have been ravaged by injuries this season and have essentially played the entire year without Will Reynolds, Mark Strabo and Jake Froccaro. In the preseason those three would have been three of Princeton's six or seven best players.

There have been players who have emerged this year to pick up the slack. Ryan Ambler made a jump from freshman year to sophomore year and has made another one this year. Gavin McBride is having a big year in the midfield, going from no points as a freshman to 17 goals and nine assist so far as a sophomore.

Sam Gravitte was supposed to be Reynolds' backup, but he's stepped up to be a solid longstick midfielder who is basically on the field every time the ball is on the defensive end. Shortstick midfield figured to be an issue with the graduation of last year's top three, but Austin deButts, Bobby Weaver and Austin Sims have all been excellent.

There are others too.

Mostly, though, this team is being driven by two seniors having extraordinary years, all-time years at Princeton for that matter. Both of them have great stories.

Mike MacDonald came back from having surgery on both of his hips to have one of the greatest offensive seasons in Princeton history. He already has 38 goals, 22 assists and 60 points, and no player in program history has ever had a season with at least 40 goals and 20 assists.

The other is Kip Orban. TigerBlog told anyone who would listen that they were missing the boat on Orban, who wasn't even an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection a year ago, let alone an All-America or preseason All-America.

So what has he done? So far he's blasted his way to 33 goals, an extraordinary amount for a Princeton middie. Among all-time Princeton greats middies who never put up 33 goals in a season are Tom Schreiber, Lorne Smith and Scott Reinhardt.

TigerBlog has been watching Princeton lacrosse for a long time, and there aren't too many examples he can come up with of players who have been this unstoppable game after game after game. Those who make the list are the very elite of the all-time great players he's seen here.

Led by these two, Princeton has already achieved its first goal, with its second still out there.

The Tigers, after missing out last year, are back in the Ivy League tournament.

At least if CU77 is right.

If nothing else, TB owes him a thank you, for taking care of those scenarios for him. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Prom Night

Depending on whom you ask, tonight is either a huge night for TigerBlog Jr. - or a hugely overrated night.

It's senior prom night for TBJ, another milestone on the way to graduation, college, career and then, hopefully, financially supporting his father.

So what about you? What are your memories of your senior prom? Big deal, or no big deal?

TigerBlog's senior prom date was a young lady named Nancy. He's pretty sure that he saw her only once after graduation, and he has no idea whatever happened to her.

On the other side of the spectrum is his friend Mark. His senior prom date was a young lady named Martha.

Today? They have three kids and a really big dog.

TigerBlog will go out on a limb and suggest that TBJ's prom experience will be something in between.
 If nothing else, this won't be the only prom for the two of them, as TBJ will be taking her to her own prom in a few weeks.

Of course, TBJ is not without prom experience, having attended two a year ago as well, though with two different young ladies, one to his own prom and the other to hers.

TBJ goes to an all-boys high school, and the prom there is a combined junior/senior prom. The athletic communications professional inside TigerBlog wonders how many different high schools will be represented by the girls at the prom for TBJ's school, which has approximately 120 boys in each class.

What's the breakdown of public school versus private school? And, how many reciprocal prom dates will there be?

Proms don't seem to have changed much since TigerBlog went to his. There will be dates, tuxes, formal dresses, pictures, other pictures with the bigger group at a friend's house, a limo to the prom, a post-prom party.

By the way, TigerBlog knows he has his senior prom picture someplace. Maybe he'll dig it out. He can't remember what he was wearing back then, but it was probably pretty stylish.

TigerBlog wishes TBJ - and all high school prom goers this season - a good, and safe, time.

This goes for the more than 200 high school seniors who recently were accepted to Princeton University as recruited athletes.

The first of the stories announcing these classes was posted yesterday, with the announcement of the newcomers of the men's basketball team. The rest will be coming shortly.

It's an interesting time in the lives of these athletes. As recruiting has gotten earlier and earlier, these young men and women have been focused on being part of Princeton Athletics for awhile.

Now that all of their acceptances have been received and the official offers of admission have been accepted, it's much more real to all of them.

They are a few months away from coming to campus as Princeton Tigers. When they get here, they will have the luxury of being part of a a team, giving them a great starting foundation to make the adjustment to college.

TigerBlog knows the names of very few of those who will make up the Princeton Athletics Class of 2019. Within a few months of their arrival, many will already have started to make a name for themselves.

Now? They're still high school seniors. They're looking forward to their own proms, to finishing their high school careers, to graduations, to choosing their classes for college, to enjoying their last summers before they become Princetonians.

Once they do? It'll stay with them forever.

TigerBlog has heard generation after generation of Princeton athletes talk about their earliest days on this campus and how they met friends within the first few hours who became among the best friends they've ever had. The same will happen for the 2019s.

As for the announcement of recruiting classes, they are among the most read pieces that are on TigerBlog likes to see where the new athletes are coming from, if any of them are local, if any of them went to his own high school. TB assumes other people do the same.

Of course, there's no guarantee as to what kind of experience any of those names will have once they get here. They will each have to make their own way once September rolls around, and then moving forward for the four years that follow.

TB hopes they all realize what a great gift they've been given, to compete in the sports that they love beyond their high school days, and to do so at the No. 1 college in the country. When they start college, they'll be doing so in a department that is committed to maximizing their experience, from Day 1 through graduation.

There's no way for them to know that now though. They'll have to wait and experience it for themselves.

All in good time, of course.

In the meantime, have fun being high school seniors, with everything that goes along with it.

Like proms.

They will very shortly become the Class of 2019.

For now, they're still the Class of 2015, wherever they are.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Apple Z

At 10:01 last night, TigerBlog sent an email to four of his Office of Athletic Communications colleagues looking for a specific piece of information.

He didn't say he needed the answer ASAP or anything like that.

He heard back from all four of them by 10:39. That's 38 minutes. Late at night. All four still connected to work.

It just shows how the world - especially the work world - is today. Always connected. Especially when you're in the business of providing information. The demand is always for more, and faster.

Oh, how it has changed through the years. 

For some reason yesterday afternoon, TigerBlog started to think back to when he first started to use a computer.

When he was in college, he had an electric typewriter. It had a built-in correct tape, which meant that he didn't need white out.

It was cutting edge.

That might as well be a million years ago.

His first experience with a computer was actually a word processor, which he used during a summer job in New York City after his freshman year of college. His first actual project was when he had to mail a bunch of books all over the world, and he used the word processor to do the mailing labels.

Again, cutting edge.

It wasn't until he first came to Princeton that he was exposed to the wonders of the Mac. It makes him chuckle to think about how rudimentary the first Macs he had here in the OAC were, how slowly they moved, how much harder simple tasks were than they are now and how wired they were to one specific spot.

And yet, it was cutting edge.

TigerBlog may have exaggerated his computer background a tad on his interview here. Maybe he didn't, actually - he can't remember at this point. And to be honest, the statute of limitations on that has long since expired.

He does know that when he first began at Princeton, he barely knew how to turn his computer on. Actually he probably couldn't turn it on.

Enter, then, Chuck Sullivan.

Back then, Chuck was an intern in the OAC. Today, he is the assistant commissioner for communications for the American Athletic Conference. And one of TB's favorite tweeters.

Anyway, the weekend before TB started at Princeton, Chuck taught TB how to use the computer. He taught him about shortcuts, using the "control" and "alt" and "apple" keys.

TB distinctly remembers learning how to use the "apple-Z" function. This was a stroke of genius from whoever came up with it.

If you've never used a Mac, "apple-Z" enables you to undo the last move the computer made. It's even better than a built-in correct tape.

TB doesn't think he'll ever forget how Chuck taught it to him. It was like, Chuck said, the appeals play in baseball. It had to be done before any other move or else it wouldn't work.

That was the case back then. Today "apple-Z" just takes you back and back and back, undoing move after move.

TigerBlog remembers being a good student. Or more likely, Chuck was just a really good teacher. 

TB has probably "apple-Z'd" more than he's done any other function on the computer, except for copying, cutting, pasting and of course selecting all.

TigerBlog's first Princeton computer had a tiny monitor and made weird noises when it was working right. Every computer in the office was connected to the same printer, and no two people could print at the same time.

Now? TigerBlog can sit on his couch and print to the printer in the office.

It's incredible how much technology has evolved in the time TB has worked here. It's good to remember back every now and then what it used to be like, when the world was just starting to be connected - to the internet - but still moved really, really slowly.

Actually, it was known as the World Wide Web, or, as it was often written, "the information superhighway." When was the last time you used either of those expressions.

TigerBlog can trace the history of every car he's ever had, back to his first car, the 1977 Dodge Diplomat he used to have. Computers? He's not sure how many he's had.

His current version is a MacBook. He thinks it's his third.

He does know that the MacBooks did the most to change the dynamic, since the advent of the MacBook is what enabled the people in the OAC to literally take their work home with them. TigerBlog doubts an evening goes by when the people in his office aren't on their own MacBooks, doing work that used to have to be done in the office.

The job didn't used to be a 24/7 sort of enterprise. Well, maybe not 24/7. But way more than 8/5. Back then, it was necessary to do the majority of the work from the office, because the computers weren't portable.

They became portable as reader demand for more and faster content mushroomed. These things happened together. It's how the job works.

Last night's email experience was just the latest confirmation of that.

TigerBlog doesn't have an iPad or any other tablet. He does have an iPhone.

When he was at the men's lacrosse game at Lehigh Tuesday night, TB did the live tweeting on putigers_live from his phone, rather than his computer, because of the rain. He did it standing on the Princeton sideline for much of the first half.

He's seen the commercials for Apple's watch. What else is out there? What else is coming down the tracks?

It's imperative to stay current on technology and to be ready - and open - to what's next.

For TigerBlog, though, it's always fun to think back to the good old days - the 1990s - when all of this started to become part of everyday work.

Hey, his kids and all of their friends seem to know how to use all of these things instinctively.

TigerBlog had to learn it on his own. Well, with a big assist from Chuck Sullivan.

He's not sure why all of this came back to him yesterday afternoon. It was after he an "apple-Z" though, he thinks.

Today, the laptop has knocked down the walls of the office. Figuratively, not literally.

But the office is everywhere, and it's always open.

It's way more fun this way.

Of course, there's no "Apple-Z" in life. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Court Report

When TigerBlog was a kid, anytime he and his family went anywhere, FatherBlog would always count the number of bags that they took with them.

That way, when it came time to get the luggage from baggage claim, he'd know exactly how many pieces the entire family needed to have.

It seemed like a relatively efficient system. In fact, TigerBlog has used it often throughout his life, though he has altered it a bit.

For instance, if he knows he needs a handful of items at supermarket, he'll just remember that he needs five things. Then, when he gets there, he doesn't need a list. He just knows he needs five things, and then he remembers what the five are.

Or maybe he knows he has to do three things before he leaves at the end of a given day. Or remember to feed two children.  

When he leaves for work, he'll use the same system. He knows he needs to take X number of things with him, and it doesn't really matter what they are. When it comes time to go, he figures it out.

This morning, though, he couldn't remember if he brought his lunch with him. It was one of the four things he needed to bring with him.

Then, as he was driving, he couldn't remember if he'd brought his lunch.

TigerBlog likes bringing his lunch in. Leftovers, usually. And fruit. Grapes and an apple. The red grapes, not the green ones. Cantaloupe, when it's in season.

And it's so easy to just get the lunch out of the fridge and pop it in the microwave. No muss, no fuss.

For years, TB went out to lunch. He went through his bagel place phase. And Panera. And Frist. Now? Just get it out of the fridge.

Fortunately, he had it with him. The other items he had to bring? His computer bag, a new pair of shorts for his locker and two extra layers to wear later, when he goes to TigerBlog Jr.'s lacrosse game.

Why two more layers? Because, despite being April 8, it's back to being freezing. Today? Ugly. Cloudy, gray, chance of rain, high in the mid-40s.

It's supposed to warm up again this weekend, with sunshine and temps back in the 60s. And that'll work out just fine for Princeton Athletics, who has some huge events this coming weekend.

The month of April is when the bulk of Ivy League spring competition takes place. And the seasons zoom by.

In fact, it'll only be two more weekends before Ivy League champions are crowned in both men's and women's tennis. Of course, only one full weekend has been played, but already the season is at the midway point.

Imagine soccer or lacrosse or field hockey if they played two games each weekend and one against a travel-partner tucked in. Or basketball if it was only single round-robin, instead of double round-robin.

That's what Ivy League tennis is.

You know what else Ivy tennis is? Loaded.

Anyway, to date, each team has played three league matches and each will play four more by next Sunday, two this weekend and two next.

Princeton is the lone unbeaten on the women's side and is also 3-0 on the men's side, along with Columbia. Both the men and the women play Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend, with the men at home and the women away.

The Princeton women are ranked 53rd, which leaves them third in the league in rankings, behind No. 37 Dartmouth and No. 46 Columbia. Dartmouth lost 6-1 to Columbia, who has a 4-3 loss to Cornell.

Princeton's women went 7-0 in the league last year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where the Tigers almost knocked off the No. 2 team in the country, Alabama. A perfect league record. A first-round NCAA win. A strong showing against a national power in the second round.

Sound familiar? Okay, it didn't get the attention that the women's basketball season just got, but it was still one of the great accomplishments in Princeton Athletics in the last few years.

The Princeton men are 18-4 overall and 3-0 in the league. The program record for wins is 20, set in 1995.

Princeton is ranked 30th nationally, ahead of its two visitors this weekend. Dartmouth ranks 54th, while Harvard is 34th. Princeton and Harvard have split a pair of matches this year, and Princeton defeated the Crimson 4-3 in San Diego in the most recent of the two.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and allow the matches to be played outside at the Lenz Center. If not, they'll be in Jadwin Gym.

Ahead for both teams are matches against Columbia and Cornell. And that'll be that for the Ivy tennis regular season.

 Just in time for the really nice weather.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Or Something Like That

TigerBlog was right. Even if he was rooting for that not to be the case.

Back when the Office of Athletic Communications first was putting together its ONLY-FOR-FUN-NO-MONEY-INVOLVED NCAA tournament pool, TB picked Duke to win the championship. He thought it would be the Blue Devils who knocked off undefeated Kentucky.

Then, last Thursday, he wrote that he was rooting for Wisconsin, though asking the Badgers to beat Kentucky and Duke back-to-back would be tough.

Yesterday's blog had his predicted final of 78-71 Duke, "or something like that." Does 68-63 count as "something like that?"

Close enough.

The NCAA championship game has become quite a spectacle, with packed domed football stadiums that bleed every dollar possible out of a paying public and corporate sponsorship, and shooting sightlines be damned.

To its credit, though, the NCAA has resisted having the obligatory musical act at halftime and making halftime grow to twice its standard length.

TigerBlog has heard enough visiting coaches and players talk about the tough sightlines in Jadwin Gym. He can't imagine how tough it is to shoot from the outside in a dome like that.

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is odd, in that the excitement dwindles as it goes on. The best parts for most people are the selection show - so they can start to fill out their brackets - and then the first two days, when there are wall-to-wall games from morning to night, upsets here and there by smaller schools and incredible moments from players nobody's ever heard of before that game - you know, like Gabe Lewullis.

By the time the Sweet 16 rolls around, it's back to being the big names from the power conferences. By the end, it's the same teams that are always on TV, to the point where it seems like those first few rounds weren't part of the same event.

Anyway,  there were two real losers in this NCAA men's tournament.

The first was Kentucky, who along with Duke, has completely bought into the one-and-done movement. The Wildcats were 38-0 heading into the weekend and then came up short against Wisconsin. After that, there was the Andrew Harrison incident where he didn't realize that the mic was on when he made a reverse racial slur against Frank Kaminsky and a general backlash against the program's unlikeable coach.

The other loser was the officiating. These are the best of the best when it comes to refs?

Jahlil Okafor committed about 10 fouls against Wisconsin, including four or so in the first three minutes that weren't called. There was the missed shot-clock violation against Wisconsin in the Kentucky game.

There was the possession where Duke's Justise Winslow stepped on the end line right in front of one official; the no-call led to a basket by Okafor as Duke erased the Badgers' lead. 

Those are just a few examples. It was actually astonishing to see how poorly officiated the Final Four games were.

Oh, and who can forget the key call in the title game, when the ball appeared to go off of Winslow and change directions, only to have the officials watched the replay for a minute or two and then give the ball to the Blue Devils. That came when it was a five-point game in the final two minutes.

As for replay, just ref the game. The funniest part of that replay was that, in fairness to the Blue Devils, was that Wisconsin clearly fouled Duke before the ball went out of bounds, but of course that's not reviewable. Oh, and there was a clear slap in the face in the Kentucky-Wisconsin game that wasn't called after the video review. What were the refs looking at that the rest of the viewing world couldn't see?

Replay is destroying the game rather than doing what it's intent is, which is to change egregiously incorrect calls. Instead, the limits on what is reviewable and when make that goal impossible in some key moments, while the game slows to a crawl at other times to check on laughably unimportant things.

And why can't replay be used to reverse judgement calls, if it has to be used? Ahhhhhhh. TigerBlog hates replay.

The women's tournament ends tonight as UConn takes on Notre Dame.

It was amazing to watch UConn in the semifinal do to Maryland what Maryland did to Princeton. That's how good the Huskies are.

In some ways, it's a shame for the women's game, because there is such a gap between the top small handful of teams and everyone else and then another big gap between those teams and UConn.

TigerBlog still hears from a lot of people about the Princeton women, what a great season they had, how it would have been great for them to not have to play Maryland at Maryland in Round 2.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Princeton would have done what it did, which is win the opening round game, had it been a four or five seed. Still, it would have been nice to see a few things: 1) the NCAA tournament at Jadwin Gym (sightlines and all), 2) Princeton in the Sweet 16 and 3) a shot at Maryland on a neutral court.

On the other hand, no Ivy women's basketball team has ever been to the Sweet 16 (in fact, Princeton is only the second ever to win a game). TigerBlog doesn't even have to ask the Princeton coaching staff to know that the chance of being the first to do get two rounds in is the program's goal now.

And that's it for college basketball in 2014-15.

Oh, except for a prediction on the women's final. TigerBlog predicts UConn 83, Notre Dame 71.

Or something like that.