Friday, January 21, 2022

Conversation With Maddie

TigerBlog's starts your Friday with a trivia question, the answer to which will be at the end: 

The Princeton men's basketball team currently has three players averaging at least 14 points per game (Jaelin Llewellyn at 15.9, Tosan Evbuomwan at 14.7 and Ethan Wright at 14.4). When was the last time the men's basketball team had three players average at least 14 points per game for an entire season?

Meanwhile, TB's weekly "Conversation With Carla" had a different look to it this week.

Or do podcasts not have "looks?" Would that be "sound?"

The different sound this week was the inclusion of the voice of a player. TB will be adding a player each week for the rest of the season, which hopefully extends well into March. 

For this week, TB spoke with Maddie Plank, who missed her freshman season due to injury and then didn't get to play last year due to the Covid pandemic. This year she is starting to get more playing time and more confidence as the year goes along.

Plank speaks about her experiences of being injured, what she learned while being on the sideline and how she spent her Covid year. She also talks about her cross country bicycle ride with men's basketball player Charlie Bagin from this past summer.

From the conversation with Maddie, you can see (hear, actually) how much energy she has and how much zest she has, for basketball and for life in general. It's not surprising that she dove into the cross country bike ride the way she did. It takes physical stamina of course to do something like that, but if you don't have the right attitude, you won't make it past Pennsylvania.

TB wanted Plank to be the first player guest on the podcast, largely because of how much interest he took in that bike ride, something he wished he'd done 35 or 40 years ago. You can hear Plank (and of course, head coach Carla Berube) on this week's conversation HERE.

In the new world of Ivy League basketball, each team in the league has only one game this weekend. In the case of Princeton, that means that the women are home and the men are away against Dartmouth, with tip-off in Jadwin and in Leede Arena both at 2, both on ESPN+.

There is also only one game apiece on the schedule next weekend, when Princeton plays Yale (women away, men home) on Saturday. The Ivy schedule this year is spread over 10 weeks, as opposed to the six or eight it has in the past, with the travel-partner format.

As part of the podcast, Plank spoke about the difference it makes, in terms of preparations, both physical and mental. You can go to the 22-minute mark to hear what she has to say about it. If you don't feel like listening, she lays out some plusses and minuses that are interesting coming from a player's point of view.

Also in the new world of Covid, there are a few postponements that will be made up along the way, such as Dartmouth-Yale Sunday and Penn-Columbia Wednesday on the women's side and Columbia-Yale on Tuesday on the men's side Tuesday.

Princeton enters the weekend unbeaten on the men's side and the women's side. They're also both one of two unbeaten teams in the standings.

The women are currently 4-0, followed by Columbia at 3-0 (the Lions are also 12-3 overall). Princeton's first game against Columbia was postponed and will be made up Feb. 23 in New York, which means that the first meeting of the year between the two is still two weeks away at Jadwin.

Yale (3-1) and Penn (2-1) are next up. The other four all have at least three league losses already as the eight teams chase four Ivy tournament slots.

Princeton is also 4-0 on the men's side, and there is also a 2-0 team, in this case Yale. Harvard is 2-1, and then comes Penn and Columbia with two losses each. The chase for the four tournament spots here would appear to be the most competitive top to bottom since the format began in 2017, and there are no easy dates on the schedule.

The game in New Hampshire tomorrow matches the No. 2 scoring offense team in the league (Princeton at 80.8 points per game) against the No. 2 scoring defense team in the league (Dartmouth at 69.3 points per game).

Finally, the answer to the trivia question:

It was in 1968-69, when Geoff Petrie averaged 20.8, John Hummer averaged 15.8 and Chris Thomforde averaged 14.8.

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