Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Making HIstory, With John Lovett And Bella Alarie

TigerBlog and Miss TigerBlog walked up to the house the other day to find a box next to the front door.

As TB went to unlock the door, MTB stood there and waited to go inside, which led to this question from father to daughter: Are you actually going to pretend that you don't see the package sitting there?

TigerBlog is about 99 percent sure that had he not said anything, she would not have taken the package inside.

As for TB's other child, TigerBlog Jr. has had TB's car at college, since TB had to take TBJ's car in to get inspected by the end of November. TigerBlog saw his son over the weekend, so they were able to switch cars back.

TB asked his son if the car was clean, and TBJ assured him it was. Then he paused and added two words "sort of."

The final count: six empty water bottles, a box of Fiber One bars, a bunch of Hershey's Kisses wrappers, one unwrapped Life Saver, a few empty random supermarket bags, nearly $3 in change and a few gas receipts. Oh, and four Sacred Heart University parking violations.

So, yeah, sort of.

Actually, though, it could have been worse, TB supposes. 

Meanwhile back at Princeton Athletics, TigerBlog would like to talk about two athletes who have made some history lately.

Yesterday was the day for the Bushnell Cup presentations for the Ivy League offensive and defensive Players of the Year, held as always as the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. The Bushnell Cup used to be given to just one player (or in a few cases, co-players) before it was split to have a winner on each side of the ball in 2011.

For the first five years of the award, no school had produced the two winners. TigerBlog went into yesterday's announcement hoping for a Princeton sweep, as John Lovett and Penn's Justin Watson were the offensive finalists and Kurt Holuba and Dartmouth's Folarin Orimolade were the defensive finalists. 

As it turned out, Princeton would get only one, Lovett, who along with Orimolade were named the winners. This takes nothing away from Holuba, who is up there with any defensive lineman TigerBlog has seen at Princeton.

Lovett had an incredible season for the Tigers, who went 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the league to earn the 11th Ivy League championship in program history. Among his many accomplishments are the school record for

There are not too many players who can do the things that Lovett can. His numbers are insane, and they don't really measure the impact he has on the field.

But hey, let's consider them anyway. Lovett had at least one rushing touchdown, one pass completion and one pass reception in every game this year. In five of Princeton's 10 games, he rushed for at least two touchdowns and threw at least one TD pass.

He finished the year with a school-record 20 rushing touchdowns, while adding a receiving touchdown and throwing 10 touchdown passes.

TigerBlog looked up how many Division I football players this season have at least 20 rushing touchdowns and at least 10 passing touchdowns.

The answer is two.

One is Lovett, who had 20 rushing touchdowns (and one receiving touchdown just for fun) as well as 10 touchdown passes.

The other is Louisville's Lamar Jackson, who has thrown for 30 touchdowns and run for 21.

And that's the whole list. Jackson, by the way, has been the Heisman Trophy favorite for most of the year.

Also, no player in Division II has done it. Tyler Johnson of Alfred (24 passing TDs, 20 rushing TDs) is the only Division III player who has done it.

Beyond that, what Lovett does is 

In addition, with some help from his colleagues Warren Croxton and Andrew Borders, TigerBlog did a little research about women's basketball freshman Bella Alarie's numbers from the Tigers' last game.

Alarie, a freshman on the women's basketball team, put up 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in the 94-67 win over the Pirates last Wednesday. The question? When was the last time a Princeton player had at least 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in a game.

The answers?

For the men, the answer is never.

At no point in Princeton's prestigious men's basketball history has a player ever had a game with at least 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Not once. It took Alarie seven games of her freshman year.

Impressive, no?

What about the women's side? Well, there it's a little murkier, since the records aren't complete. It's impossible to say with complete certainty that it's never happened before, but no record of such a performance exists.

There's never been a "triple-double" in Princeton basketball history. Ellen Devoe came the closest, with 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks against Rider on Feb. 25, 1984. She didn't have six assists though. She did have 26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists against Lehigh earlier that season. That's one rebound short.

CB Tomasiewicz and Margaret Meier each had a game with at least 20 points and at least 20 rebounds in the 1970s. They didn't have six assists, but those are still wild numbers.

Meanwhile, back at Alarie, that a ridiculous stat line, especially for a freshman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to John Lovett, Kurt Holuba, Coach Surace and the entire team for a fantastic performance this championship season. It was a joy to watch the players and coaches sustain excellence from game to game, including maintaining their focus after the Harvard loss through the final gun against Dartmouth. They should wear their rings with pride and satisfaction from a job well done. Bravo.

I'd like to suggest that Coach Surace have a lengthy chat with Chris Ayres about what it was like working with the Rutgers administration to prepare for and then hold "The Battle at The Birthplace." Was it easy to deal with the Rutgers athletics staff and operations personnel? Were they creative and energetic in planning this unusual competition? Why did you feel it was valuable to have Princeton and your program involved in what appeared to be an event held for marketing purposes? Despite the loss, do you feel that The Battle at The Birthplace was a success? Do you take away from the experience what you had hoped?

Getting these answers from Coach Ayres will be highly relevant to Coach Surace in critically evaluating whether the football program has much to gain from playing Rutgers on August 31, 2019 to celebrate the sesquicentennial of college football.

Further to any evaluation of the risks and rewards of playing Rutgers in three years is the following data:

(a) At the end of the 2016 regular season, according to most computer rankings, 8-2 Princeton would have been roughly a 3-point favorite against 2-10 Rutgers on a neutral field. As a visitor at High Point Solutions Stadium, Princeton would have been a 0.5-point favorite against the Scarlet Knights.

(b) Although Princeton was the strongest program in the Ivy League according to the computers, we did play a stronger team this year, namely, Patriot League champion Lehigh, which would have been 2.5-point favorite against us on a neutral field.

So if we are concerned about any increased risk of injury from playing a program from a Power 5 conference, we should at least consider that the 2016 Rutgers team was not automatically better than we were simply because they are a member of the Big Ten. Furthermore, we already faced a better team than Rutgers in the form of Lehigh.

One could argue that the risk of playing Rutgers in 2016 would have been comparable to the risk of competing against Lehigh, which we obviously find acceptable.

Perhaps Rutgers will improve dramatically over the next three seasons. Sure, that's possible but that's a big assumption to make. And more importantly, if we can use in *OUR* recruiting the prospect of playing in a nationally celebrated season kickoff game in 2019, maybe we will actually improve just as much as the Scarlet Knights do, if not more.

Life is all about accurately assessing risks and rewards. Coach Ayres made a decision for his program. Coach Surace should talk to him about whether he's happy with his decision.