Friday, December 1, 2017

Do They Still Make Cyclone Cones?

TigerBlog has been to Ames twice.

That's the Ames that's in Iowa by the way. It's the home of Iowa State University.

Both times it was in December, in 1995 and 1998. Both times it was because the Princeton men's basketball team was playing there.

One of the times the temperature never got above 20 or so. TB started to get frostbite from the five-minute walk to the Hilton Coliseum parking lot.

The other time the temperature was in the 70s or even 80s, setting records for the state for December. It got so warm that it melted all of the frozen lakes and created the absolute worst fog he has ever experienced.

That was the time that TigerBlog and Tom McCarthy flew to Minneapolis, where TB went to see his old friend Laurence Zucker, who has lived in the Twin Cities area for a long time. After meeting up with LZ, TigerBlog and Tom made what was supposed to be the three hour ride to Ames, essentially in a direct straight line down I-35.

Instead, it took forever. And the trip really bogged down in a town called Clear Lake, on the Iowa side of the border with Minnesota. Anyone know the most famous thing that happened there?

If you think about the worst fog you've ever been in, triple it and that's what it was like that night on that ride.

TigerBlog liked Ames. There was absolutely no shortage of places to eat there. The people were all friendly. The arena is great. It had (still has?) "Cyclone Cones," which were ice cream cones with vanilla ice cream that was colored in the red and gold of Iowa State's colors.

Oh, and Clear Lake, Iowa? 

He hasn't been back. He won't be there tonight either, though the Princeton women's volleyball team will be.

The Tigers will be taking on 14th-seeded Iowa State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in the same Hilton Coliseum where TB saw Princeton basketball way back when. He asked his colleague Craig Sachson to see if they still have Cyclone Cones.

Princeton earned its spot in the tournament by tying Yale for the Ivy League championship and then winning the one-match playoff 3-0 in New Haven. The Tigers have won three straight Ivy titles and are making a second-straight NCAA appearance. 

Craig came up with these stats for his pregame story on the match:
Princeton is making its seventh trip to the NCAA tournament, and its second in as many years; last season, the Tigers put a scare in #10 BYU in two sets before ultimately falling 25-22, 25-15, 25-23. That result was hardly a shock when you look at the recent history of Top-16 seeds in the NCAA tournament; since the start of the 2011 national championships, Top-16 seeds are 95-1 in the first round, and they have a 287-20 advantage in sets won.

Daunting task, yes. The match starts at 8 Eastern time, by the way.

As for the rest of the weekend in Princeton sports, there are some big games at Baker Rink. The men's hockey team hosts Dartmouth tonight and Harvard tomorrow night, and Princeton is looking to bounce back with a quick turnaround after its 6-2 loss to Quinnipiac Tuesday night.

These will be Princeton's last two ECAC games until after the New Year, when Princeton is at Cornell and Colgate on Jan. 5 and 6. In fact, after this weekend, Princeton will only have four games until then - two at Arizona State next weekend and then two at home against St. Cloud on Dec. 29 and 30.

The women's basketball team is home tomorrow at 5 against a very good Delaware team. If you want to make that into a basketball doubleheader, you can come to Jadwin to see the women's game and then go watch the men play at Miami at 8 on ESPNU.

Miami, by the way, is ranked 10th in the country. It'll be a really good test for the Tigers, who continue to progress as the season moves along.

As for the women, if you want to see them again at home in 2017, you'll have to come back on Dec. 30, when they will host UMBC. The men are home next on the 12th against Monmouth, in their final home game of the calendar year.

There is also men's and women's swimming and diving at home in the Big Al Invitational, home men's and women's squash, lots of track and field within short drives and women's hockey on the road at Dartmouth and Harvard.

It's a busy December weekend.

Wait. December?

How did that happen?

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