Monday, January 4, 2021

Welcome To 2021

Happy 2021 everyone.

TigerBlog hopes you had a great New Year's. For his part, he texted his children at midnight to wish them Happy New Year. 

Miss TigerBlog responded at 12:14. TigerBlog Jr? He texted at 1:16 - the next afternoon.

Oh well. Hopefully 2021 is a great one for them, and for all of you.

Do you make resolutions? Do you know anyone who does? 

TB doesn't make resolutions based on the flip of the calendar. If there's something that needs to be resolved in, say, April, that's fine too. 

If you do make New Year's resolutions, do you follow through on them? TB wonders what the stats on that are.  

TB did make one resolution about 10 years ago or so. He resolved to give up the third person persona he enjoys here and shift simply to first person, but he never tried it. 

Maybe one day he will. 

Anyyway, today is Monday right? When you go through the holidays, it's very easy to lose track of what day it is. It never seems like it's the actual day that it is, and this was really true Saturday, which certainly felt like a Sunday.

So where to start for the new year? Well, where else would the Princeton Athletics blog begin this year.

With Colorado State-San Diego State men's basketball of course.

If you missed this one, Colorado State defeated San Diego State 70-67 Saturday. What does that have to do with Princeton?

TB didn't even know that the game was played, and he has no interest at all in who wins between Colorado State and San Diego State. He was taken in, though, by a headline that included the words "record comeback."

When he saw that, his first instinct was to check what record it exactly was. As it turned out, it was the Mountain West record.

It was also from 26 points down. As any Princeton fan knows, that's nothing.

Princeton, just short of 22 years ago, came from 27 points back, at the Palestra, to beat Penn. If you don't remember (and TB has a hunch that if you were there, you do remember), Princeton led 3-0 before a 29-0 Penn run.

It was 33-7 Quakers at the half and then 40-13 Penn with just under 16 minutes to go. Then the comeback happened. 

Final score: Princeton 50, Penn 49. 

So where does that comeback rank all time?

According to the NCAA record book, Princeton's 27-point rally that 1999 night in February is tied for the sixth-best comeback ever. The record belongs to Drexel, who in 2018 came from 34 points down to defeat Delaware. 

The Colorado State-San Diego State game marked the 26th time team has rallied from at least 25 points down to win the game. So why is Princeton's comeback the most impressive of them?

Well, for one reason, it's because this is TB who is writing and he gets to decide what's the most impressive. Beyond that, though, there are some statistical reasons that support his claim.

Start with how much time was left. Princeton trailed by 27 with 15:11 to play. Only five of those other 25-plus point comebacks started later.

Couple that with the fact that Princeton had to rally from that 27-point deficit in a game that had fewer than 100 combined points is extraordinary. In none of the other games did the winning team even score fewer than 60, let alone alone 50, and in only five did the winning team score fewer than 70.

In other words, most of those great comebacks came in very high scoring games where the team who was down fell behind early. In the Princeton comeback, it happened on a night where there were so many fewer possessions, which put so much more pressure on every one of them as the Tigers needed to execute nearly flawlessly in the second half. 

Whether or not that was actually the most impressive comeback in college basketball history is a matter of speculation. What it was, without question, was one of the most special nights TB has been a part of in all his years with Princeton.

He has so many incredibly vivid memories of that game, both during the surreal first half, when the Quaker fans were merciless, and then the equally surreal second half, when the building was almost eerily silent at times.

Remembering back to that game is a pretty good way to start out 2021. 

Hopefully this is a great year for everyone.

Happy New Year, everyone.

No comments: