Monday, December 14, 2015

Hoop Report

TigerBlog's cousin Paul - and his wife Maureen - have a very nice little porch out the back door of their house in Montclair, which is a little more than an hour north of Princeton, outside of New York City.

The porch is typical, with a table, some chairs, a nearby grill and some shade. It's a great place to be on a warm afternoon in the summer, or, sometimes, the second weekend of December.

If you live in the general Princeton area, it was easy to forget that Christmas is less than two weeks away. Not with the weather this weekend.

There were convertibles with their top down. There were people eating outside at restaurants. Everywhere TB looked, he saw signs of summer, or at least late spring or early fall. 

TigerBlog himself sat out on his cousin's porch in shorts and a shirt, with no sweater, sweatshirt or jacket, let alone coat. He did this in mid-December.

TB's cousin Janet was there as well. Janet is Paul's sister; their late-father Larry was MotherBlog's brother.

TigerBlog mentioned to BrotherBlog a week ago or so that when he writes about his childhood, he's also writing about BB's, and he wonders if he remembers things the same way his brother does. The same is true of Janet and Paul, who were there were so many holidays, so many special moments, so many get-togethers going back as long as TB can remember.

Janet is two years older than TigerBlog. She has a heart of gold and a great sense of humor, and she sees everyone for exactly who they are. She's impossible to B.S., which means she sees right through anyone who tries.

Like TB, for instance. She's one of the few people TB knows who make him feel like he's still a kid, all with this simple look that she gives him when he's trying to B.S. her. She never falls for it, even if everyone else around does, and that look is her way of saying so.

At the same time, she's fiercely loyal and supportive, and TigerBlog knows she would never let him down. That's a good combination - always there for him while also holding him accountable.

Janet is a regular TigerBlog reader, she says. She's not much of a sports fan, though, so she says that usually tunes out once the parts about Princeton sports begin.

So Janet, if you're reading this - TB has never really taken the time to tell his cousin how special she is to him, and he just wanted to do it now.

And now you can stop reading, because the rest is about Princeton sports. Specifically basketball, for which there are two home games this week, one each for the men and women.

The Princeton women have been outscored in the fourth quarter of its last two games by a combined 39-19, which would be troubling were it not for the fact that Princeton outscored its last two opponents by a combined 123-78 in the first three quarters.

In its most recent game, Princeton defeated Pitt 61-47. Pitt, by the way, plays in the ACC.

The final score hardly tells the story. Princeton started the game on an 18-0 run and pushed it to 28-2 before the end of the first quarter.

Princeton is home tonight at 7 against Fordham. The Tigers are 8-1 this year, which makes them 39-2 in their last 41 games.

Princeton destroyed the Ivy League a year ago with a 14-0 run that included one game closer than 10 points, and 13 that were over basically after the began. This year? Ivy women's basketball might be a bit tougher.

As of right now, five of the eight league teams are above .500 and a sixth is at .500.

Princeton is actually tied for the best record in the league with Brown, who is also 8-1. The Bears have a win over Providence, who is 3-6 but owns a win over Monmouth. This comes a year after Brown was 10-18 overall, 4-10 in the league.

Princeton has been to five NCAA tournaments in the last six years. Penn went to the other, two years ago. So far this year, the Quakers are 5-2, with one of their losses a tight one against Duke.

The Tigers open the Ivy season Jan. 9 against Penn at the Palestra, as part of a women's/men's doubleheader.

As for the men, Princeton defeated Lipscomb 78-64 Saturday in Tennessee to improve to 5-2. Next up for the men is a home game against Liberty Thursday at 7.

In Princeton's five wins, the Tigers have scored 82.4 points per game. In their two losses, that number is 63.5.

As for the rest of the league, there are three teams above .500 and a fourth at .500, with Princeton's 5-2 the best record.

It's hard to draw too many conclusions this early into the season. In fact, it's too hard until teams start to play in the league, and that is still awhile away. Even at this point last year, did anyone realize that Princeton was going to destroy the league the way it did on the women's side?

For now, it's still about figuring things out, who is in the rotation, what offense and defense works, who can be on the court with whom and who cannot be on the court with whom. Things get more intense after the new year.

So enjoy the two games this week.

As a reminder, it's the women tonight at 7 against Fordham and the men Thursday at 7 against Liberty.

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