Thursday, May 28, 2015

Winding Down

Okay, this really isn't about lacrosse, even if it starts with the final lacrosse top 20 poll of the season.

TigerBlog saw it yesterday. Princeton was 15th.

That's not what stood out though. The poll had 20 teams in it, with their rankings, record and last game. And there it was, national champion Denver first and then 19 teams who all lost their last game.

TigerBlog isn't sure what that's surprising to him. Most teams lose their last game. They have to, or else they'd be the one that won the championship.

It's just that TigerBlog never really noticed it in black and white like that before. One winner, and 19 others who lost their last game.

It seems pretty harsh. Unforgiving.

Not every team loses its last game, of course. Some teams win but don't reach the postseason.

In college basketball, basically everyone loses at the end, because basically everyone is in a conference tournament. Only the Ivy League doesn't have a conference tournament.

TB isn't going to look it up, though he assumes not every team in every conference reaches the conference tournament, meaning it's possible that there are a handful that win their last game.

There was one Ivy League men's basketball team that won its last game of the 2014-15 season. Care to guess which of the eight?

Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Yale and Penn all lost their last regular season game. Yale also lost the league play-off game for the automatic bid.

Dartmouth lost in the first round of the CIT. Harvard lost in the first round of the NCAAs.

That leaves Princeton, who defeated Penn in its last regular season game to end the season. That means that Princeton and Duke, at a minimum, won their last game of the season.

What other Princeton teams won their last games? 

He remembered that men's soccer did, getting a share of the Ivy League title with its 1-0 win over Yale.

Women's volleyball did. So did softball. And that's it.

TigerBlog is talking about games here. Head-to-head, someone won, someone lost.

It's not so bad losing the last game, though. In most cases, it means that at least that team got to the postseason. Even the women's basketball team, who won its first 30, lost its last one.

There are no more games in 2014-15 for Princeton Athletics. That doesn't mean that there are no more competitions.

There are six teams who are still competing, all four rowing teams and both outdoor track and field teams. This is a huge weekend for all six.

For the rowing teams, this weekend is the national championship weekend.

For the women's open crew, that means a trip to Sacramento for the NCAA championships. Princeton is one of three schools to have reached all 19 NCAA women's rowing championships, along with Brown and Washington.

The men's heavyweights and lightweights and the women's lightweights will be much closer to home, competing at the IRA championships in West Windsor. That's the next town from Princeton, which is good, because both men's teams could have big weekends.

Then there's the NCAA track and field regionals. Those are taking place in Jacksonville.

At stake is a trip to the final athletic events of the year, the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., in two weeks.

Princeton will have 22 athletes competing in Florida this weekend.

And that will be it for the 2014-15 season for Princeton Athletics.

Oh, there's also the little matter of the senior athlete banquet tonight. It's official name is the Gary Walters ’67 Princeton Varsity Club Senior Award Banquet.

Among the highlights will be the appearance by Dallas Cowboys' head coach - and former Princeton quarterback - Jason Garrett, who is accepting the Citizen Athlete Award for contribution to sport and society, and the announcing of the Roper Trophy and von Kienbusch Award for the top senior male and female athletes.

This year, finalists for both have been announced. For the Roper, it's between five athletes: Quinn Epperly of the football team, Sammy Kang of the squash team, Cody Kessel of the volleyball team, Mike MacDonald of the lacrosse team and Cameron Porter of the soccer team. For the von Kienbusch, it's between Blake Dietrick of the basketball team, Lindsay Graff of the tennis team, Lauren Lazo of the soccer team and Erin McMunn of the lacrosse team.

More on that tomorrow.

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