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Game #1: Cornell at Albany
Tip off: Friday, Nov.12, at 7:30 p.m.
Site: SEFCU Arena (4,538), Albany, N.Y.
2009-10 Records: Cornell (29-5, 13-1 Ivy League); Albany (7-25, 2-14 America East)
Series Record: Albany leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Albany won 78-75, November 22, 2006 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Game #2: Cornell at Seton Hall
Tip off: Sunday, Nov. 14, at 12:00 p.m.
Site: The Prudential Center (9,900), Newark, N.J.
2009-10 Records: Cornell (29-5, 13-1 Ivy League); Seton Hall (19-13, 9-9 Big East)
Series Record: Seton Hall leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Seton Hall won 89-79, November 20, 2009 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Radio: WVBR 88.3 FM (Barry Leonard)
TV: Albany: None; Seton Hall: SportsNet New York (SETON HALL)
Live Stats: check availability at www.CornellBigRed.com
Live Video: check availability at www.CornellBigRed.com
Tickets: available by calling (607) 254-BEAR
HEAD COACH BILL COURTNEY
Cornell head coach Bill Courtney is in his first season at Cornell (0-0, .000) ... Courtney became the fifth Robert E. Gallagher ‘44 Coach of Men’s Basketball at Cornell on April 23, 2010.
Cornell was the darling of the 2009-10 NCAA tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 as a No. 12 seed with double figure wins over Atlantic 10 champion Temple and a Wisconsin team that ended the contest in the top 25. The Big Red ended the season ranked No. 17 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and won an Ivy League record 29 games.
But the 2010-11 season will be a brand new story, though exciting nonetheless. Gone are the school’s all-time leading scorer (Ryan Wittman) and assist-marker (Louis Dale), as well as a two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year (Jeff Foote) and three additional starters (Jon Jaques, Geoff Reeves and Alex Tyler) among eight graduated seniors.
With the greatest season in school history now in the rearview mirror, Courtney will start to put his stamp on the Big Red program beginning with a pair of road contests.
Returning to the fold is All-Ivy guard Chris Wroblewski (8.9 ppg., 3.1 apg., 2.7 rpg.), the team’s only returning starter. Seniors Mark Coury (2.4 ppg., 2.4 rpg.) and Adam Wire (1.9 ppg., 2.6 rpg) are also expected to provide leadership in the post, while sophomore forward Errick Peck (3.3 ppg., 1.5 rpg.) is poised for a breakout year.
• 2009-10 Record: 7-25 (2-14 America East).
• Conference: America East.
• Head Coach: Will Brown (Dowling ‘95), 113-149, 10th season at Albany.
• Albany returns eight letter winners and three starters from last season’s team.
• Tim Ambrose, a 6-0 senior guard, is the squad’s top returning scorer at 12.4 ppg. He has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career.
• Also returning is sophomore guard Mike Black, an America East all-rookie team member in 2009-10. Black averaged 7.2 points and 2.4 assists as a freshman.
• The Great Danes are looking to get off to a fast start after losing 12 of its final 13 games a season ago. Albany also has a six-game home losing streak it is looking to rid itself of
• Albany won America East championships in both 2006 and 2007 under head coach Will Brown.
CORNELL VS. THE AMERICA EAST: Cornell is 14-17 all-time against current members of the America East. The Big Red is 0-3 against Albany and has also faced Binghamton (5-1), Boston University (1-0), Hartford (0-3), Maine (0-1), New Hampshire (1-2), Stony Brook (3-1) and Vermont (5-6).
• The Big Red has never played UMBC.
• This is the first of five contests against America East teams in 2010-11, with Cornell also facing Boston University on Nov. 27 and Binghamton on Dec. 18, both on the road, as well as New Hampshire in Richmond, Va. on Dec. 29 and Stony Brook at home on Jan. 8.
THE SERIES: Albany leads the all-time series 3-0, including a 78-75 victory over the Big Red on Dec. 22, 2006, in the last meeting between the squads. Cornell has visited SEFCU Arena one other time, with the eventual America East champion Great Danes earning a 68-59 victory on Jan. 9, 2006 in Albany. Only three other schools have more wins against Cornell without a loss. North Carolina State is 5-0 all-time against Cornell, while Air Force, Duke and Williams College are all 4-0 all-time against the Big Red. Sunday’s opponent, Seton Hall, is also 3-0 all-time against the Big Red.
ABOUT SETON HALL
• 2009-10 Record: 19-13 (9-9 Big East).
• Conference: Big East.
• Head Coach: Kevin Willard (Pittsburgh ‘97), 0-0, first season at SHU; 45-49, fourth season overall.
• Kevin Willard is in his first season as head coach at Seton Hall and will be directing a team picked to finish 11th in the 16-team Big East Conference. Four starters and eight letter winners return from last season’s NIT squad.
• Senior All-America candidate Jeremy Hazell was picked to the preseason Big East first team after averaging 20.4 points per game a season ago.
• Two other double figure scorers return, starting with the Big East’s leading rebounder Herb Pope (11.5 ppg., 10.7 rpg.). Senior forward Jeff Robinson (12.2 ppg., 5.8 rpg.) also hit for double figures in 2009-10.
• Ole Miss transfer Eniel Polynice is eligible immediately and will see time at guard. Polynice averaged 7.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest in 102 career games, including 65 starts. He can play immediately after graduating from Mississippi because Seton Hall offers a graduate program that Ole Miss does not.
CORNELL VS. THE BIG EAST: Cornell is 48-117 all-time against current members of the Big East. The Big Red is 0-3 against Seton Hall and has also faced Cincinnati (1-0), Connecticut (1-1), Georgetown (1-0), Marquette (0-1), Notre Dame (1-7), Pittsburgh (5-11), Providence (0-1), Rutgers (1-1), St. John’s (1-1), Syracuse (31-86), Villanova (2-2) and West Virginia (3-3). Cornell has never played DePaul, Louisville or South Florida. This is the first of two contests against Big East teams in 2010-11, with Cornell also visiting Syracuse on Nov. 30 in the Carrier Dome.
THE SERIES: Seton Hall leads the all-time series 3-0. The two teams had their first meeting in 1942-43, a 29-28 Pirate victory. Seton Hall also claimed a 75-59 win in 1992-93 in the first round game of the Seton Hall/Meadowlands Tournament. The Big Red would go on to upset California in the consolation game. The Pirates snapped a 21-game home win streak by the Big Red a season ago with an 89-79 victory last season in Cornell’s home opener behind Jeremy Hazell’s 33 points on Nov. 20, 2009.
THE STORY LINES
• Head coach Bill Courtney will make his collegiate coaching debut by leading the three-time defending Ivy League champion Big Red into the 2010-11 season with games at Albany and Seton Hall.
• Cornell is coming off the greatest season in school history, setting an Ivy League record for wins (29) en route to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, the conference’s first since 1979.
• Gone are eight seniors who made their mark on the program with a school-record 88 wins in their four seasons. Ivy League Player of the Year selections Louis Dale (2007-08) and Ryan Wittman (2009-10) are both gone, as is two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Jeff Foote. Three other players who started during long stretches (Jon Jaques, Geoff Reeves and Alex Tyler), as well as key reserves Pete Reynolds and Andre Wilkins, means the 2010-11 Big Red will open a brand new chapter of Cornell basketball.
• Also gone is head coach Steve Donahue, who led Cornell to three straight Ivy titles and whose 146 wins on the Big Red sidelines ranked third all-time.
• Cornell is 72-21 in the last three seasons.
• The Big Red is 38-4 in its last 42 Ivy League contests over the last three years.
• The team is 20-5 in its last 25 games away from Newman Arena and 15-4 in its last 19 true road games.
• Cornell is 41-3 over its last 44 home games and 24-1 in the last two seasons and 36-2 in the last three years.
• The Big Red has won its last five season openers.
• In non-conference games, the Big Red is 34-17 over the last three seasons.
SEASON OPENERS: The Big Red has posted a 72-41 all-time record in its previous 113 season openers. Cornell has won five consecutive openers, including a 71-67 win at Alabama in 2009-10, and is now 11-19 on the road to open a year, 53-16 at home and 8-6 in neutral site/unknown site games.
2009-10 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS — THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE BIG RED:
• The 2009-10 Ivy League champion (automatic bid).
• School and Ivy record 29 wins.
• Earned its first two postseason wins in school history, topping higher seeded Temple (No. 5, 78-65) and Wisconsin (No. 4, 87-69) to become the first Ivy school to reach the Sweet 16 since 1979.
• The Big Red became just the ninth double-digit seed to win its first two NCAA tournament games by double figures and the first seeded No. 13 or below to do so.
• Its 16 non-conference wins was an Ivy record for a season.
• Its 18 wins away from home (13-3 road, 5-1 neutral) were the most in the country.
• Cornell’s 12 non-league victories away from home (7-2 road, 5-1 neutral) were the most of any Division I school.
• First team in Ivy League history other than Penn or Princeton to win three consecutive outright conference crowns.
• The first team, men’s or women’s, to clinch an NCAA tournament bid for the third straight year when it earned its bid on March 5, 2010.
• Fifth NCAA tournament appearance in school history.
• Cornell has set team records for points (2,545), field goals made (913), 3-pointers (326), blocked shots (127) and games played (34).
• The Big Red won the 2009-10 Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival tournament title and finished 4-0 at the Legends Classic, joining Florida (4-0) as the only teams to go unbeaten in the 16-team event.
• Cornell earned its first win over a Big East team since 1969 (St. John’s) and its first victory over an SEC team since 1972 (Alabama) .
• Cornell finished first or second in the Ivy League in 13 of 16 team statistical categories and led the conference in eight.
• Ryan Wittman was named Ivy League Player of the Year.
• Wittman was joined on the All-Ivy first team by Louis Dale and Jeff Foote, becoming the seventh trio of teammates to earn first-team All-Ivy accolades in the same season.
• Foote captured his second straight Defensive Player of the Year nod, making him the only player to ever earn the award (started in 2008-09).
• Chris Wroblewski was an honorable mention All-Ivy pick.
WHAT RETURNS: With the mass losses of eight seniors gone, the 2010-11 Big Red basketball team returns 34 percent of its assists (187), 32 percent of its steals (78) and rebounds (366), 26 percent of its scoring (666 points) and 3-point field goals (86) and 16 percent of its blocked shots (20) from last year’s team.
WHAT WAS LOST: Cornell’s eight seniors provided the following career totals in their four seasons: 4213 points, 2225 rebounds, 1092 assists, 309 blocks, 435 steals, 707 3-point field goals, 731 games played, 402 games started and 14416 minutes. The trio led the Big Red to a 88-32 overall record and a 47-9 Ivy League record.
CORNELL BEYOND THE ARC: Entering the 2010-11 season, the Big Red has hit at least one 3-pointer in 598 straight games. Cornell surpassed the 500-game plateau when the Big Red connected on six treys at Princeton on Feb. 16, 2007. The last time Cornell did not hit a 3-pointer was against Denison in the 1988-89 season opener (0-for-2). Since the 3-point shot came into effect in NCAA play during the 1986-87 season, Cornell has hit at least one shot behind the arc in 648 of 652 games, connecting on 3,951 treys, an average of 6.06 per game. Cornell has set records for treys in a season in each of the last three years, going from 228 in 2007-08 to 241 in 2008-09 and to 326 a year ago. The Big Red hit for double figures in 3-pointers 18 times in 2009-10, including an Ivy League single-game record 20 vs. Brown.
NON-CONFERENCE NOTES: The Big Red posted its fourth consecutive non-conference season with at least a .500 record with a 16-4 mark in 2009-10, a school and Ivy League record for wins outside of conference action. The last time the Big Red at least broke even in non-league play in more consecutive years was the 1959-60 to the 1967-68 campaign, a span of nine straight years. The Big Red is 34-17 in non-conference play over the last three years. The Big Red won at least 10 non-conference contests in one season for the fifth time in program history and for just the second time since the 1950-51 season. The Big Red won 11 games out of the league in 1949-50 and also took home 10 decisions in the 1919-20, 1950-51 and 2008-09 campaigns..
YET ANOTHER FIRST: The Cornell basketball team became the first team besides Penn or Princeton to win outright Ivy League championships in three consecutive years with its 2009-10 title.
THREE-TIME WINNERS: In fact, only nine teams outside of perennial champions Penn and Princeton have won outright championships in the 55 years of Ivy basketball, with Cornell capturing the crown four times (1987-88, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10). Other non-P champions include the 1955-56 Dartmouth, 1956-57 Yale, 1957-58 Dartmouth, 1961-62 Yale and 1985-86 Brown squads.
20-20 VISION: The Big Red’s Ivy-record 29-5 season a year ago joined the 1950-51 (20-5), 2007-08 (22-6) and 2008-09 (21-10) teams as the lone Cornell squads to post 20-win seasons in school history. The Big Red has now posted three straight 20-win seasons for the first time in 111 years of Big Red basketball.
PERFECT 10: Cornell claimed its third consecutive 10-win season in Ivy League play in 2009-10, something it hadn’t done since the 1964-65 to the 1966-67 seasons.
A WIN IS A WIN: Cornell recorded its fourth consecutive winning season overall in 2009-10. The Big Red went 21-10 in 2008-09, 22-6 in 2007-08 and 16-12 in 2006-07, giving the team four consecutive winning campaigns for the first time since 1984-85 (14-12), 1985-86 (14-12), 1986-87 (15-11) and 1987-88 (17-10).
TALL IVY: Over the last four seasons, Cornell’s 47-9 record is the best among Ivy League teams in conference action. Penn, who claimed the 2006-07 title, is second at 33-23, followed by Yale (31-25), Columbia (26-30) and Brown (25-31). Other Ivy teams include Harvard (24-32), Princeton (24-32) and Dartmouth (15-41).
BIG RED IN THE TOP 25: The Cornell men’s basketball team earned its first national ranking in 59 seasons when it jumped into the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ poll at No. 25 on Feb. 1, then moved to No. 22 the following week before dropping out after its loss at Penn. It was Cornell’s first-ever appearance in the coaches’ poll. Since 1948, Cornell has spent three weeks in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. During the 1950-51 season, the Big Red climbed as high as No. 14 on Jan. 3,1951. The two previous weeks the team was ranked No. 19 (12/19/1950) and No. 18 (12/26/1950). Cornell ended the season ranked No. 17 in the final national poll.
STATING THE STATES: Members of the Cornell basketball team represent 14 states and one Canadian province.
NEWMAN NOTES: Cornell closed out the 2009-10 season with an 11-game home win streak, the second-longest in school history. The Big Red had closed the 2008-09 season with a 21-game win streak at Newman Arena, ranking as the third-longest in Division I. That streak was snapped in its 2009-10 season opener, an 89-79 loss to Seton Hall. The Big Red still holds a 22-game conference home win streak after posting its third straight undefeated home slate in Ivy play. All-time, the Big Red is 156-102 (.605) in Newman Arena since the building opened in 1990 and 37-2 in its last 39 home contests overall.
MID-MAJOR TOP 25: After finishing the 2009-10 season ranked No. 4 in the CollegeInsider.com’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll, Cornell opens the new season receiving votes in the 2010-11 preseason poll. The Big Red received 26 points, good for 47th overall. Possible opponents Wofford (No. 6) and VCU (No. 14) will be at the VCU Tournament in December. Other Cornell opponents receiving votes in the poll are Princeton, Stony Brook, Boston University, Harvard and Lehigh. The Mid-Major poll is made up of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt and West Coast.
PRESEASON HONORS: Big Red players have earned multiple preseason accolades. Junior guard Chris Wroblewski is a preseason first-team pick by Lindy’s Sports Annuals, while sophomore forward Errick Peck was a second-team pick. Wroblewski was also named the league’s top shooter. Rivals.com named senior center Mark Coury a preseason second-team selection, while junior guard Andrew Ferry is the preseason Newcomer of the Year. The Sporting News, which picked Cornell to four-peat atop the Ivy standings, named Wroblewski the league’s preseason Player of the Year.
RED-WHITE SCRIMMAGE: Senior guard Max Groebe exploded for 25 points, including hitting on 6-of-7 from 3-point range, to lead the White team to a 69-65 victory in the annual Red-White Scrimmage on Oct. 29 at Newman Arena. His White team shot 50 percent from the floor overall and hit 11 3-pointers. Adam Wire connected for 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Miles Asafo-Adjei posted 11 points, four assists and two steals. Dwight Tarwater scored eight points, while Mark Coury chipped in six points, seven rebounds and four assists. For the Red team, Errick Peck notched 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Josh Figini recorded 13 points and six rebounds and Andrew Ferry tallied 11 points. Manny Sahota registered nine points and six rebounds in the loss.
HOW TO FOLLOW CORNELL
• Men’s basketball games return to 93.5 WVBR-FM for the 2010-11 season. Longtime voice of the Big Red Barry Leonard returns on the call with the play-by-play. A half-hour pregame show and postgame analysis will enable Big Red fans to follow Coach Bill Courtney’s team throughout the season. The audio of all games will also be available as part of the RedCast subscription service.
• The Big Red’s home contests will all be broadcast live with streaming video as part of the RedCast subscription service. Visit www.CornellBigRed.com for all the latest information on Cornell broadcasts.
• Cornell will use SIDEARM Live Stats for each of the Big Red’s home games in 2010-11. Visit www.CornellBigRed.com for all of the official statistics.
• You can follow the team on both YouTube and Facebook. Highlights, interviews and features on all 36 of Cornell’s varsity sports can be found at www.youtube.com/cornellathletics or www.facebook.com/cornellathletics.
NEXT UP: The Big Red will return home to play in front of its Newman Arena fans for the first time in 2010-11 when it hosts Delaware on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., then battles St. Bonaventure on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.