Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Three At Home Against The Crimson

TigerBlog received several emails and texts yesterday about his "Two Truths And A Lie" statements.

The basic summary is this: Nobody believed TB's ability to recite the entire "Cat In The Hat" from memory was a lie. What does this say? Either people who know TB think that there's nothing odd about the fact that he would memorize an entire Dr. Seuss book or that it was just too absurd not to be true. Why would someone make that up, of all random things?

As for the eight time zones in which he's seen Princeton teams compete, they are the four time zones in the Continental US, Hawaii (men's basketball in 1998), the Atlantic time zone (men's basketball played Ohio in Nova Scotia the day of Thanksgiving 1999), Spain (men's lacrosse trip in 2008) and Ireland and Portugal (Ireland in 2008, Portugal in 2016; both in the same time zone).

And yes, he never dunked a basketball. The closest he came was sort of dunking a tennis ball on a basket that was a little bent forward. This doesn't take into account the eight-foot baskets that used to be on a court in Belmar or the adjustable basket that went from six feet to 10 feet in the driveway.

So that's "Two Truths And A Lie" for this week. There won't be an edition this week on the Princeton Stadium video board because the football team is at Harvard Saturday in a huge game. Actually, when you're 5-0 and playing for a championship in the next five weeks, they're all huge.

Because of the schedule change, this will be the second straight year Princeton plays at Harvard. After this, Princeton will have four games to play, three at home and one at Yale.

One thing that will be missing from this new scheduling is the Saturday where there are field hockey and two soccer games on the campus, along with the football game. While football is in Cambridge, those three will be playing at home.

And they're all huge, huge, huge games.

Let's start with the women's soccer team. Princeton got a big win over Columbia Sunday, moving the Tigers to 2-1-1 in the league. 

The Tigers are in third place, behind Penn and Harvard, both tied at 3-0-1. Princeton still has to play Cornell and Penn after Harvard, which means that should Princeton win out, it would be 5-1-1. That would also be the best possible record for Penn and Harvard, who under this scenario would have to lose to the Tigers. Since Penn and Harvard have already tied each other (0-0), then Princeton would have the NCAA tiebreaker against both.

Of course, it's not that simple. Dartmouth, whom Princeton tied 0-0, could also get to 5-1-1, since the Big Green are the same 2-1-1 as Princeton. To get to 5-1-1, Dartmouth would need to beat Harvard, but the Big Green have already lost to Penn. If all that happened, NCAA bid tiebreakers could get a little messy - or even messier if Columbia gets to 5-2.

To keep it very simple, Princeton needs to keep winning.

On the men's side, the race is one week behind the women's, as each team has played three games. Princeton, who had a big win over Columbia Saturday, sits at 2-0-1.

Dartmouth, whom Princeton tied 2-2 after trailing the Big Green 2-0, is also unbeaten at 1-0-2. Columbia and Cornell are 2-1-0.

Princeton is 6-1-1 in its last eight after a 1-3 start. The Tigers are used to playing close games; of their 12 games, one has been a tie, 10 have been one-goal games and the other two have been two-goal games.

It's a little early to start with all of the scenarios on the men's side in standings that are still very much bunched, but Princeton has done itself a lot of favors with its strong start to the league season.

As for the field hockey race, this one could be the simplest of them all.

Here is Princeton, ranked third in the country and 4-0 in the Ivy League after its 8-0 win over Brown. The Tigers have not allowed an Ivy League goal yet while scoring 20 of their own.

And here comes Harvard, ranked ninth in the country with a record of 12-1 that includes only a loss to Maryland. The Crimson are also 4-0 in the league, having outscored their four opponents 19-3. They also come into the game off an 8-0 league win, this one over Cornell.

There will still be two more weeks of the season after the Tigers play Harvard Saturday, and Princeton still has to play Penn, whose only league loss is to Harvard by a 2-1 score. Still, this is obviously a big game.

So that's three games at home Saturday, all against Harvard, all for free.

Don't worry. TigerBlog will remind you about them later in the week.

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