Wednesday, November 10, 2010

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, news and notes for Wednesday...
  • Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal engaged in a Q&A exchange with Andrew Santillo of the Troy Record about Friday's Cornell opponent, the Albany Great Danes.
  • SlopeTV’s Sam Aleinikoff sits down with The Robert E. Gallagher ‘44 Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Bill Courtney, to talk about the upcoming season and to preview this Friday’s opener at Albany. Visit the Slope website for the video interview.

  • On the topic of B.C. and Steve Donahue, the Philadelphia Daily News writes, "Though the competition will be much stiffer, new Boston College coach Steve Donahue should enjoy working with a bit of a margin for error. When he was at Cornell, more than one regular-season loss would threaten NCAA Tournament hopes. Donahue's plan for the Eagles is to run, run, run." The Boston Globe noted, "Donahue guided Cornell to a 29-5 record last season, the Big Red’s up-tempo offensive style contradicting Ivy League stereotypes." The Charlseton Post and Courier quoted Donahue as saying, "I was a mid-major coach and to get anywhere at that level, you can't just be good, you have to be great, and that's what we were able to do," Donahue told reporters. "But Cornell was a 10-year project, and there is way more pressure to win earlier in the ACC. You have to be good a lot faster." The Milford Daily News writes, "After 13 years of Al Skinner's methodic flex offense, BC is going in a different direction under Donahue, who coached at Cornell the last 10 years, leading the Big Red to the NCAA Tournament the last three years and the Sweet 16 last March. Donahue's teams were known for pushing the ball and shooting 3-pointers, two areas Skinner did not emphasize. Cornell led the Ivy League in points per game and 3-pointers both made and attempted last season, and it's been a learning process for the Eagles... [A] player who could benefit from Donahue's system is 6-foot-8 senior Joe Trapani, a power forward who likes to play on the perimeter. Trapani, who led BC with 14.2 points a game last year, has made 116 3's in his two years at BC and could play a similar role to the one 6-foot-7 Ryan Wittman played at Cornell. Wittman made 109 3's last year and averaged 17.5 points a game."

Several media outlets chose Princeton as the preseason pick for the Ivy League title, including Athlon Sports,, and a poll of Ivy League media representatives. The Ivy League’s reputation is higher than it has been recently, largely due to Cornell’s run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament last year and former Harvard guard Jeremy Lin’s play for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. However, the graduation of Cornell’s three best players and the introduction of four new coaches to other teams in the league leave a wide-open spot at the top that the Tigers will try to take for their own. Harvard, Penn, and Cornell, the three-time defending champion, are expected to be the other top contenders in the league.

As in past years, Princeton will play the other Ancient Eight teams twice, once home and once away. The thick of the Ivy League schedule occurs in February, when the Tigers twice play Cornell and also host Penn and Harvard. Princeton will also participate in two in-season tournaments, the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic and the University of Central Florida Holiday Classic.

[Keith] Wright, who experienced inflammation in his Achilles tendon last season, was never 100 percent during conference play—an injury that really hurt the Crimson in home games against Cornell and Princeton.

Junior Andrew Van Nest will likely start alongside Wright until [Kyle] Casey returns, but Van Nest often struggled with his interior defense against stronger big men like Cornell center Jeff Foote last season, and he prefers to spot up as a three-point shooter rather then go inside offensively.

Q Last year the nation was enthralled by Cornell’s run in the NCAA tournament. Does their Sweet Sixteen berth bring more credibility to the strength of all of the Ivy League teams?

A I don’t think Cornell makes every team in the Ivy League appear to be a better team. I think Cornell had an unbelievable season, and I think that the Ivy League as a whole is better. But I don’t think it’s better because Cornell is great. I think it’s better because we’re getting better players. This year, Harvard is tremendous. Last year, Cornell got all the publicity and rightly so. They were by far the best team in the conference. With that being said, Jeremy Lin of Harvard is now in the NBA. So, we have players in the Ivy League who are really good. I think that Cornell going to the Sweet Sixteen has brought more credibility to the Ivy League … Just because Cornell had a great season, that doesn’t mean that the players on any of the Ivy League teams are better … Harvard had Jeremy Lin. Cornell had an unbelievable season. Princeton had a great season last year and they’re all coming back this year. I think last year the Ivy League could have gotten two teams into the tournament. Cornell got in and I think Harvard and Princeton both had good arguments for getting into the tournament. It was exciting to see two teams and three teams potentially getting national recognition.

This year, I think that the league is as wide open in terms of teams that can win as it has been since I’ve been here. Since I’ve been here, every year Cornell has gone to the tournament. It was kind of expected that Cornell was going to go undefeated or lose one games or maybe two games in the Ivy League. So if you lost two games, it didn’t look good for your chances to get into the tournament. This year, in my estimation, the team that’s going to win might have three losses. It’s really exciting that the league is going to be competitive.


Anonymous said...

I think Braswell is right. The conference winner will probably have at least 3 losses this year.

Anonymous said...

I think Braswell is wrong. Neither Princeton nor Harvard had a strong argument for getting into the NCAA tournament in 2009-10. Both their RPIs were right around 100 at the end of the season. That's CBI-land.

Furthermore, given the depth and experience the P's bring into this season, Harvard's thin frontline, and the unknown of Cornell, watch out!

Both Penn and Princeton appear fully capable of completing the season with only two league losses.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention Harvard was routed in the first round of the CBI or CIT.

I think Braswell is right about the UPCOMING season, but quite wrong about the previous one.