Monday, April 2, 2018

Home Opener

TigerBlog was driving yesterday when he saw a sign that said "Caution. Winter Weather Tomorrow."

What a great April Fools' Day joke, TB thought. After all, it was 60 degrees at the time. And it's April.

Snow? No way. TigerBlog isn't interested in any more snow.

Then he saw a story on that said that the Princeton area could get three or four inches of snow today. How? Enough already.

It's springtime. At least it's supposed to be.

The snow that may or may not come today kindly stayed away this weekend, allowing Clarke Field to be usable for the baseball team for its home opener.

This is Year 1 of the new format, with three games each weekend for seven weekends, as opposed to having two divisions. Princeton already had one three-game set, last weekend's against Harvard, cancelled by wintry weather. That means that at some point, those games will have to be made up, and that means bunching up games during the week one week if possible.

This time it was spring-like, and Princeton and Cornell were able to get in their three games. Cornell took Game 1 5-2, but the Tigers bounced back to take the next two, getting to 2-1 on the young Ivy season.

Because this is the first time doing this, it's hard to say how many wins it'll take to get into the Ivy championship series, where the top two teams in the standings will play for the NCAA tournament bid. Whatever that answer is, every game is huge in the league.

Will winning two of three each weekend be good enough? That's a 14-7 record. TigerBlog would say probably to that.

When you lose Game 1 in a weekend, then, you don't have a lot of time to get down. Princeton did exactly what it needed to do after losing the first, coming back to win 10-4 in Saturday's game two and then 7-6 yesterday.

One of the more intriguing stories for Princeton baseball this spring is the play of Jesper Horsted, who had a six-hit weekend for the three games. Horsted, of course, set the Princeton records for receptions and receiving touchdowns in a season this past fall. Horsted is a strong prospect for both sports.

Next up for Princeton is a home game against Monmouth Wednesday (weather permitting of course) and then the next three-game series, at Brown. This early in the season it's about bunching together some early wins and getting some momentum, which is what the Tigers did this weekend.

Oh, and indulge TigerBlog for some non-Princeton stuff.

The NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments reached their national semifinals this weekend. As TigerBlog has repeatedly said, the tournament gets less exciting with each passing round. This year's tournament is no different.

The big news out of the women's side is that UConn lost, in overtime to Notre Dame. TigerBlog didn't realize this until he saw The College of New Jersey women's basketball coach Chessie Jackson's tweet. Chessie, by the way, is a former Princeton assistant under Courtney Banghart.

Here was her tweet:

At first, TigerBlog didn't realize what game Chessie meant. Then he figured it out.

Anytime UConn loses it's a big deal. Is it good for the sport?

TigerBlog and Courtney Banghart talked about this on one of the podcasts they did all winter. TB's point is that it's not UConn's fault for being so dominant, but it's not necessarily good for the popularity of the game.

Perhaps UConn isn't great at executing in tough spots because it never finds itself in a tough spot. The Huskies only played one reasonably close game all year, a 55-51 win over Texas on Jan. 15.

On the men's side, there was Sister Jean and then, TB supposes, a basketball tournament. You know. Sister Jean, from Loyola (Ill.), who made a great run to the Final Four.

As intriguing as she is, it's hard to imagine that a story has been overplayed more than the story of Sister Jean.

It's nice and all, but how about the players? They never got their due, because all the attention was focused on Sister Jean. Hint - this is not always true: If some is good, more must be better.

The championship game tonight matches Michigan (whom TigerBlog picked in the not-for-money office pool) and Villanova (whom he would have picked had he not gone with sentimentality and chosen Purdue after his trip there earlier this year).

TigerBlog senses Villanova will win tonight, relatively easily.

TB said it's a non-Princeton story.

But hey, there's always next year. Or the year after.

Why not dream big?

1 comment:

Glenn Adams '63 said...

How much more exciting can NCAA basketball Final Four games be than the two women's semifinal games which went to OT and then the Championship game which would have also gone to OT if Notre Dame's Ogunbowale hadn't hit her second straight game-winning shot at the buzzer?! It is a shame that you apparently missed seeing those great games.
And men's NCAA late round games such as the Kansas-Duke game could arguably match any game in NCAA history for excitement and a thrilling finish, to say nothing about #11th seed Loyola-Chicago's surprising run, involving many unbelievably tight finishes.