Monday, December 18, 2017

Flying High

Airports and casinos. Those are two places where the time of day doesn't really seem to matter.

If you've ever been in an airport before dawn, you know what TigerBlog means. They're jammed with activity, as if nobody realizes how early it is.

There are lines. There are people eating decidedly non-breakfast type meals. There are people coming and going to points all over the world.

And all of this is before the sun comes up. And it's no big deal to everyone there.

TigerBlog did the pre-dawn trip to the airport yesterday. He wasn't going anywhere. He was just doing drop off. Still, he couldn't help but notice how crowded it was, especially considering it was before 6 on a Sunday morning.

When TB was a kid, he used to love to check out all the different airlines whenever he'd go to an airport. You know. It says "Terminal A" and then lists all the different airlines. It all sounded so exotic.

Actually, he still thinks that way.

TigerBlog was at the airport early yesterday. This morning it was the women's basketball team's turn.

The Tigers, fresh off of a 58-37 win at Wagner yesterday, were up very early today to head to the airport. Princeton jumped out to a 16-5 first quarter lead and was never really seriously threatened by the Seahawks.

Princeton had three players - Leslie Robinson, Sydney Jordan and Carlie Littlefield - in double figures, with 10 each. A bigger part of the story was Princeton's defense, which held Wagner to 13 for 44 shooting from the field, which equates to less than 30 percent.

Don't look now, but Princeton has held three of its last four opponents - including one who was in the Sweet 16 a year ago - below 50 points. 

The destination for Princeton this week is Gainesville, at the University of Florida's Gator Holiday Classic.

If you're wondering about the weather there, TigerBlog already looked. The forecast, in a word, is "nice." It'll be close to 80 there during the day and then around 60 at night.

Princeton will play St. Joe's Wednesday and Chattanooga Thursday. Those matchups are set.

Chattanooga, by the way, has wins over Indiana, Georgetown, Auburn and Northwestern, among others. The Mocs also played in the NCAA tournament last year after winning the Southern Conference.

The men's basketball team is also spending some time in airports this week. Lots of it, actually.

The Tigers are also doing the good-weather thing too. 

Princeton had its early-morning airport trip Friday, for a flight to Los Angeles. This was the start of a five-game, 12-day road trip, one that got off to a good start Saturday night with an 80-60 win over Cal Poly.

Airplanes aren't the only form of transportation for Princeton this week. The game at Cal Poly was four hours north of Los Angeles, so it was on the bus after the flight. It could be a bit grueling, or could have been, but the Tigers looked anything but sluggish against the Mustangs.

In fact, Princeton hit 16 three-pointers in the game, on 24 attempts. Princeton will lose no game ever when it shoots 16 for 24 from three-point range, regardless of the opponent.

Such shooting would come in helpful tomorrow night, when Princeton plays at Southern Cal. Good news - the game can be seen on the Pac 12 Network. Bad news - it starts at 11 Eastern time.

Princeton and USC have played once, back in 1972. They could possibly meet twice this week, should they both either win or lose their first games at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Friday. That would be fairly interesting.

TigerBlog assumed that Princeton and USC must have played more than once, by the way.

Also, beating the first opponent in Hawaii won't be easy, since it's against Middle Tennessee State. How good are the Blue Raiders?

They're 7-2 this year, with wins over Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. They also went 31-5 last year, beating fifth-seed Minnesota in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Princeton will fly from Los Angeles to Honolulu for that tournament. That's a lot of flying.

It's even more for radio play-by-play man Derek Jones, who had to come back to New Jersey in between for a meeting he couldn't get out of. That means his 12-day itinerary is New Jersey to LA to New Jersey to LA to Honolulu and back.

That's a lot of miles.

TigerBlog has spent a lot of Decembers in a lot of airports with Princeton basketball. The travel is part of the overall experience.

So is playing a challenging schedule. Both teams are obviously doing just that.

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