Monday, April 4, 2016

Sweep And Sweep

So Villanova beat Oklahoma by 44 points in the NCAA men's basketball semifinals Saturday?

The final score was 95-51. That's a massive blowout by any standards, let alone the Final Four.

In fact, it broke the record for the largest margin of victory in any Final Four game. The old record was 36, held by what team?

That one was easy. It was Princeton, whose 118-82 win over Wichita State in the 1965 consolation game stood as the record for largest victory margin in a Final Four game for 51 years.

Villanova's win over Oklahoma actually knocked Penn out of the NCAA Final Four record book, in a way that will actually be okay with Penn fans. Until Saturday, Michigan State's 101-67 win over Penn in 1979 was tied (with Cincinnati's 80-46 win over Oregon State in 1963) for the largest margin in a semifinal game.

The NCAA Final Four record book is pretty interesting. And thorough. It has records for basically everything, including points in a Final Four game.

TigerBlog would tell you whose record that is, but you already know.

Here's one that TB thought was interesting. In the entire history of the Final Four, how many one-point games have there been?

The answer is 15. There have been 269 Final Four games to date, and 15 have been by one point. TB would have guessed more than that.

Who has the record for points by a freshman in a Final Four game? Mark Aguirre of DePaul had 34 against Penn in the 1979 third-place game.

The record for field goal percentage in a game is from a legendary performance. If you're TigerBlog's age or older, you'll remember that UCLA's Bill Walton went 21 for 22 against Memphis in the 1973 final.

Rebounds in a game? Bill Russell had 27 of them in the 1956 championship game against Iowa. Russell, by the way, went to San Francisco.

Interestingly, rebounds weren't a stat until 1951. Assists weren't an official stat until 1984. Blocked shots and steals were added in 1986.

The 2016 championship game will be tonight, between Villanova and North Carolina. The last time Villanova won the NCAA championship, TigerBlog rooted hard for them, as did every Philadelphia area college student of that generation.

Now, of course, were it Villanova against Georgetown, TigerBlog would be all in on Georgetown.

As for the game tonight, his feeling is "eh, whatever." Maybe he'll watch. Maybe he won't.

He didn't see one dribble of the semifinal games. He saw a lot of the first round games and then less and less with each passing round.

So you know who holds the record for points in a Final Four game, right? It's Bill Bradley, who had 58 in that Wichita State game.

TigerBlog is fascinated by Bradley's demolition of the Princeton record book. His numbers are insane. He has the top 11 scoring games in program history. The top three single seasons. He never had a game with fewer than 16 points. That's probably the most ridiculous. He never had an off night.

What you might not have known about Bill Bradley is that he was also a very good baseball player. He played on the freshman team at Princeton and hit well over .300 before giving it up.

Princeton's baseball team won seven games total in the 2015 season. Dartmouth's baseball team won more than twice that many in the Ivy League alone, where the Big Green went 16-4.

Princeton had the reverse record, going 4-16 in Ivy games in 2015.

It took one weekend of the 2016 season for Princeton to match that win total. One year removed from that 4-16 record, Princeton opened its Ivy season by sweeping Dartmouth and sweeping Harvard and getting off to a 4-0 start in the league.

Princeton also improved its overall record to 11-10.

The games Saturday against Dartmouth featured high drama, as Princeton won in its last at-bat both times. TigerBlog, by the way, isn't fond of the term "walk-off."

Billy Arendt, who starred in the promo video last week, won Game 1 with a game-winning double, driving in Jesper Horsted for a 2-1 victory.

Princeton had to go 10 innings in Game 2 - and had to come from behind in extra innings as well after Dartmouth scored twice in the top of the 10th. Nick Fernandez, though, tied it with a two-run double, and after an intentional walk freshman Joseph Flynn drove in Fernandez. Final score: 9-8.

Zach Belski hit a two-run home run in Game 1 against Harvard, and Cameron Mingo went all the way for a 4-1 win. The Tigers then had a bit of a breather in the second game, winning 14-5.

It's a great start for Princeton, and not just because of last year. The way Ivy baseball works, it's hard to get to the intra-divisional games later in the season in the position of having to win 3 of 4 in a weekend, so it's important to play from ahead.

Princeton did just that.

Next weekend will be a road trip to Yale and Brown. And then 12 games in the division (Penn, Columbia, Cornell), so yeah, there's a long way to go.

Still, it was a pretty good weekend for Princeton baseball. Matching last year's league win total in one weekend?

Yeah, pretty good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, TigerBlog -

I was at the doubleheader on Saturday vs. Dartmouth. Very exciting games, happy for the Tigers' sweep.

Hadn't been to Clarke Field in a few years...Hoping you can answer a question regarding the dugouts and spectator seats:

Is there a rationale for the dugouts obstructing seated (and even standing) spectators' views of home plate and the first and third base lines? First base line in particular, since it is on the side of the single seat stands built into the hill behind the dugout. Not one seat appears to have a full field view.

I didn't test sitting on the aluminum risers above the Tiger dugout. The ones on the angle next to the press box were mostly filled, so I assume the view ok from there? But standing/sitting at top of hill, same issue.

Some spectators had come over from softball v Harvard and reported similar dugout obstruction there.

Being a constituent, was thinking of asking Gov Christie to look into it. Wanted to see if you could provide any info/insight first... ;-)

Thanks for reading this long comment!