Friday, February 15, 2019

The Weekend In Hoops

TigerBlog starts your Friday with a congratulations to Sydney Jordan.

A senior on the women's basketball team, Jordan yesterday was named one of the co-winners of the Pyne Prize, the highest undergraduate honor at Princeton. It's an extraordinary recognition of an extraordinary person, one who embodies the very best of being a student and an athlete.

The list of athletes who have won the Pyne Prize is not a long one. Take a few minutes and click HERE to read all about Jordan and why she won.

Jordan was on the bus to Harvard with her Princeton teammates when she found out she had won. TB imagines there was quite a bit of excitement at the news.

Congrats to Sydney Jordan.

Next up TB would like to talk about Pete Hegseth, a former Princeton men's basketball player who went on to a distinguished military career and who is now a noted political commentator. In his current role, Hegseth often takes controversial positions, but he made his biggest stir ever in something that was not political.

TB actually saw that Hegseth was trending on Twitter a few days ago, and he didn't quite understand why until he saw the news story. Hegseth said that he hadn't washed his hands in 10 years because germs are overrated.

Egads, TB thought. He's shaken Hegseth's hand before, and, well, no hand-washing in 10 years? That's something TB can't handle.

Hegseth also made fun of people who carry hand sanitizer with them, people like TigerBlog for instance.

Fortunately, TB didn't take it all that seriously. And neither did Hegseth, who came out later to clarify that he was not serious about the no hand-washing thing.

Hegseth, by the way, is a 2003 grad who was a great three-point shooter and who made some big shots down the stretch of a game against Columbia his senior year. TB liked him from Day 1, and he knew he was kidding around about the germ stuff.

It's a huge weekend for both basketball teams, but then again, every weekend from now on will be. The men are finally playing home Ivy games again, for the first time since they took on Penn way back on Jan. 5.

As is the case for Princeton home games, TB will be on the radio with Patrick McCarthy, and TB would like to also say how happy he is that Patrick will be there this weekend. Why? Because two weekends ago Patrick had a really bad skiing accident that left him with some broken bones and a new appreciation for TB's level of empathy after he asked him if there was video of it.

Both the men and women play Harvard tonight and Dartmouth tomorrow. TB will start with the women.

Princeton is 3-2 in the league, even with Yale and Harvard with two losses each, while Dartmouth is 3-3. It's too early in the league race to call games critical, but it is a good time to start to think about what Hegseth's coach at Princeton, John Thompson III, always would say.

Back when he was the Tiger coach, Thompson would say that the goal was to be in the first place at the end of each weekend. In the days of the Ivy tournament, it might still be the goal to be in first place, but there's also a goal of reaching the postseason, which means being in the top four, which means being in the top four at the end of each weekend.

The men's team is 4-2, which isn't bad considering that five of those six games have been on the road and that the rest of the schedule is loaded with home weekends. The Tigers trail Yale, who is 5-1, and they are tied with Cornell and Harvard, both 4-2.

There's a two-game drop from the top four to the next three, with Penn, Brown and Dartmouth all at 2-4. Do not let that fool you into thinking that the four teams who will meet in New Haven next month are etched in stone.

For starters, Penn is the defending champ and already is the 2019 Big Five champ. For another, Brown beat Princeton a week ago. And for another, Dartmouth has beaten Harvard.

This weekend will do a little more to see if there actually is separation from top to bottom in the league race. Each game is fascinating.

For Princeton, the women play at 7 tonight and 5 tomorrow at Dartmouth. For the men, it's a 7 pm tip both nights.

Another thing that JT3 used to say is to not look at the big picture. Instead, he'd say, look at each possession and then worry about the big picture later.

That's four games this weekend for Princeton basketball. That's a lot of possessions - and a chance to look up Saturday night and see where the big picture is then. 

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