Friday, March 10, 2017

See The Future

TigerBlog can see the future.

At least he's starting to think he can. If he tells you something is going to be, maybe you should listen.

His long history of poor prognosticating appears to be behind him. It's all starting to be clear.

Oh, and speaking of seeing the future, there is a website called LaxPower that is basically what it sounds like, a lot of lacrosse stuff in a small space. One of the main draws is the LaxPower forum, a series of message boards that includes topics from youth through the pros.

In the Division I men's forum, which TigerBlog views regularly, each team basically has its own section, where its fans with their anonymous pseudonyms discuss their team's fortunes, with varying degrees of accuracy, civility and knowledge. It's all in good fun, right?

Sacred Heart, for whom TigerBlog Jr. plays, has its own page. What's extraordinary is that there is a poster, who goes by the name SHLaxFan, who has correctly predicted on the nose the final score of two of the Pioneers last three games. In advance of the games, SHLaxFan had Sacred Heart over Dartmouth 15-8 (the exact final), Sacred Heart over Lafayette 13-9 (final was 14-10) and Sacred Heart over Providence 10-8 (the exact final).

Extraordinary, no? Even the one that wasn't exact was really, really close. Still no word on what SHLaxFan has for Sacred Heart-Vermont tomorrow.

By the way, a year ago, Princeton and Sacred Heart were a combined 7-22. So far this year, they are a combined 8-2.

Back when TB covered the College of New Jersey (then Trenton State College) football, his colleague at the Trentonian, Jay Dunn, did pregame boxes with predicted final scores. Jay got the first game of that season (1990, TB thinks) exactly correct, and it made TB wonder how many times in a row he'd have to do that to become national news.

So what has TB been right about lately? Well, as you recall, he started the NFL playoffs with a prediction of Atlanta-New England in the Super Bowl, which ended up happening.

Also, back before the Ivy season even began, TigerBlog said on the radio that Myles Stephens would be an All-Ivy League player at some point of his career. You can ask Patrick McCarthy, who did some games with TB. He can vouch for it.

When the All-Ivy team was announced this week, there was Stephens, as prominent as anyone, with a first-team all-league honor and the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He earned both. That's for sure.

Stephens' ability to guard players much larger and much smaller than he is was a huge reason why Princeton was able to do so well with the lineup of Stephens, Spencer Weisz (Ivy Player of the Year), Steven Cook (the third first-team All-Ivy Princeton player) and Devin Cannady (honorable mention, but let's face it, at times the best player in the league).

That's actually the biggest reason Princeton went 14-0 this season. At various times, Princeton could fill in the blank with any of those four players in this sentence: "Right now, ___________ is playing like the best player in the league."

Stephens was dominant on both ends of the court all season. From the All-Ivy release: "Stephens contributed plenty on the other end as well, leading the team in scoring in Ivy games at 15.4 points per game, up from his season-long average of 11.9. Stephens is shooting .521 from the field and .400 from 3-point range on the season overall and shot .564 and .417 in Ivy games."

When the women's All-Ivy teams were announced, TigerBlog's other prediction came true as well. Bella Alarie was the Ivy Rookie of the Year. Okay, that one was easy. She was the Rookie of the Week nine times.

Alarie was also a first-team All-Ivy League selection as a freshman, joining Niveen Rasheed as the only Princeton women ever to be first-team all-league as freshmen. No Princeton men's players have ever done so.

As you well know by now, the Princeton men and women will be playing this weekend in the Ivy League tournament at Penn.

The men play tomorrow at 1:30 against Penn one semifinal (Harvard and Yale meet after in the other), and the Princeton women play Harvard in their semifinal at 6:30. Penn's women play Brown at 11 to start the whole show.

Princeton's men and Penn's women will be the Ivy champs regardless of what happens in Philadelphia this weekend. The winners of the tournament - men's final Sunday at noon; women's at 4 - will get automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.

The men's semifinals are on ESPNU and final is on ESPN2. The women's semis are on ESPN3, and the final is on ESPNU.

Those two are not the only Princeton teams in the playoffs this weekend.

The men's hockey team is at Union in the ECAC quarterfinals, a best-of-three series with games tonight, tomorrow and if necessary Sunday. Face-off each night will be at 7.

Princeton enters this series after its thrilling opening round win over Colgate, one that saw the Tigers lose Game 1 in OT, tie Game 2 with one second left and then win in OT and then win 2-1 in Game 3.

The Tigers appear to be a loose group, at least that's how it seems in THIS video, where three players were mic'd up at a practice. Princeton lost twice this year to Union, but so what. This is a special group, one that is not going to go out quietly. They've been a lot of fun to watch, even for someone like TB who doesn't know much about hockey.

TigerBlog was outside yesterday afternoon, and it was heavenly. He felt the sun against his face. The weather was warm. It was beautiful out.

And yet at the same time, he knew that the forecast was for snow, followed by a few pretty cold days. It seemed so unlikely at the time, but yes, it's still winter.

And this is a weekend for the winter playoffs.

TigerBlog can again see the future. There will be big games.

Trust him on this.  

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