Friday, May 13, 2022

At Home For The NCAA Tournament

NCAA women's lacrosse tickets
NCAA men's lacrosse tickets

Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, tweeted out his congratulations and best wishes to the Rutgers men's and women's lacrosse teams in the upcoming NCAA tournament Wednesday night.

Yo, Gov, what about Princeton?

Here are two facts about Phil Murphy that are interesting:

1) he went to Harvard undergrad
2) he went to Penn for his MBA 

This might explain why he didn't mention Princeton, no? At the same time, is he rooting for his alma mater or the state university of the state for which he is the chief executive, since Harvard is playing Rutgers in the first round of the men's tournament. 

By the time that game begins Sunday at 5, there will have been four NCAA tournament games played on Sherrerd Field, with two today, one tomorrow and another Sunday. Only two of those games are guaranteed to have Princeton in them.

The whole thing starts this afternoon at 4, when Syracuse and Fairfield kick things off, to be followed at 7 by Princeton and UMass. If you recall, Syracuse would have been the host team, except that there is graduation this weekend on campus.

The men's tournament weekend of eight games begins tomorrow at noon, when fifth-seeded Princeton hosts Boston University. The winners of the games today meet Sunday at noon, and the winner will advance to the quarterfinals this coming Thursday.

Also, remember that there is the Ivy League softball playoff series on campus this weekend as well, as Princeton hosts Harvard in a best of three with two games today, starting at noon.

As for the lacrosse, the Princeton men and women are here under vastly different circumstances. For the women, it's the final season for head coach Chris Sailer, who is making her 27th appearance in the NCAA tournament as Tiger head coach. For the men, this is the first appearance as a head coach for Matt Madalon.

If you want to read more about the women, click HERE. If you want to read more about the men, click HERE.

The Princeton women are coming in after two perfect weekends. There was April 30, when the Tigers defeated Yale 17-14 in a matchup of 6-0 Ivy teams to win the team's seventh-straight Ivy title (Sailer's 16th). That win was followed by a Senior Day recognition of the team's 10 seniors and then a long party honoring Sailer, complete with several hundred alums.

Then, last weekend, Princeton knocked off Harvard 13-6 and Yale 19-9 to win the Ivy League tournament. Records fell everywhere, as Kyla Sears obliterated all existing Princeton scoring records as Marge Donovan did so in draw controls. It was another big Tiger party, one that figured to be the team's last for the year on Sherrerd Field.

Then the selections came out, and suddenly Princeton was home again. 

The Princeton men are home as well, something the team secured by having more wins over seeded teams than anyone else. Princeton is the only team to beat Georgetown. Princeton is the only team to have beaten Rutgers other than No. 1 Maryland. Princeton has a win over Ivy tournament champ Penn and Ivy tournament top seed Brown.

What Princeton also has is a week off after not making the Ivy tournament field. Princeton tied for fourth but lost out way down on the tiebreakers to Penn, who of course then won the tournament. 

There will be six Ivy teams who play in the men's tournament. Princeton is the only Ivy team in the women's tournament.

The Princeton-BU game will be a rematch of a game from April 9, won by the Tigers 12-7. It was a statistically even game in many respects (turnovers were 23-23, shots were 43-43). BU, who won the Patriot League tournament last week, is the No. 1 team in the country in caused turnovers per game. Princeton is second. Princeton is third in the country in ground balls. Boston University is fourth.

TigerBlog wrote this in his postgame story that day:
The final was third-ranked Princeton 12, 13th-ranked BU 7. If the teams are hoping to play in the NCAA tournament next month, they got a sense of what it might feel like in this one.

Now they are in the NCAA tournament. That game in April did have that kind of feel. This time it's the real thing. The same is true for the women.

There are six teams who will be playing on Sherrerd Field this weekend. Four of them will have their seasons end. Two will be playing on.

It's what makes this time of year great. It's what every player on all of these teams has worked for.

It'll be a great weekend of lacrosse.

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