Below, some additional news and notes...
- ESPN's Weekly Watch writes:
Five To Avoid On First Weekend
- Slope TV recaps Cornell's third consecutive Ivy League title clinching win over Penn on Saturday night.
Five To Avoid On First Weekend
Last time out: Zack Rosen scored 27 points, and Penn beat Yale 81-69 at the Palestra on Saturday.
Last time vs. Cornell: Jack Eggleston scored a career-high 24 points; Rosen added 22 and Penn shot a season-high 56 percent from the field in a 79-64 victory on Feb. 12.
Probable starters: Jack Eggleston (6-foot-8, 215 pounds, Junior, Forward), Justin Reilly (6-8, 230, Sr., F), Dan Monckton (6-6, 205, Jr., F), Zack Rosen (6-1, 175, Soph., G), Rob Belcore (6-6, 215, Soph., F).
Key reserves: Darren Smith (6-4, 200, Sr., G), Mike Howlett (6-9, 220, Soph., F), Conor Turley (6-7, 220, Jr., F)
Statistically: In league games only, Rosen is the Ivy's top scorer at 19.1 ppg. He scored 56 total points last weekend against Brown and Yale. ... Monckton had 18 points and 12 rebounds in the Yale win. ... During one sequence against Yale, Penn hit six consecutive 3's.
Outlook: Penn's trip to Newman Arena a season ago ended with the fans storming the court in celebration of Cornell's second straight Ivy League title. The chances are slim that happens again, but the Quakers must find a way to match Cornell's emotional edge. Cornell's eight seniors will be honored before tip-off, and a sold out crowd is sure to make things difficult on the visitors in what is the final regular season home game for Foote, Wittman, Dale and Co.
Princeton at Cornell, 7 p.m.: A win would give Cornell a two-game lead in the Ivy League race and basically lock up the regular-season crown for the Big Red, who will be a trendy pick to win a first-round game if they make the NCAA tournament. A Cornell victory also means the Big Red would finish off season sweeps of Harvard and Princeton, who would be tied for second. Remember that the Ivy League doesn't have a conference tournament, so the regular-season champ would snare the NCAA bid. This would be Cornell's third consecutive NCAA appearance, and you wonder if coach Steve Donahue would be snatched up by a bigger program if that happens.
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 26th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Newman Arena (4,473) -- Ithaca, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Princeton 7-3, Cornell 9-1. Away Record: Princeton 9-4, Cornell 11-3. Neutral Record: Princeton 0-0, Cornell 3-0. Conference Record: Princeton 7-2, Cornell 9-1. Series Record: Princeton leads, 134-77.
GAME NOTES: Ivy League powers collide in Ithaca, New York tonight, as the Cornell Big Red play host to the Princeton Tigers.
Princeton began this season by losing four of its first six games, so the fact that the team is now 16-7 overall is quite impressive. The Tigers did, however, suffer a setback in their most recent outing, a 57-54 loss to Brown last Saturday. They are 7-2 in Ivy action and can draw even with Cornell in the loss column with a victory tonight.
The Big Red have won their last three games and 11 of the last 12 to move to 23-4 overall and 9-1 in league play, good for sole possession of first place. They easily handled Dartmouth last Saturday in an 88-70 final and carry a 9-1 home record into this evening's affair. The club's lone Ivy loss thus far came to Penn by 15 points in what was a true shocker considering the Quakers' struggles this season.
Two weeks ago, Cornell beat Princeton in a defensive battle, 48-45, but the Tigers still own a 134-77 advantage in the all-time series between the rivals.
Princeton has played tremendous defense this season, holding opponents to 52.7 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting from the floor. Offensively, the Tigers are generating 59.4 ppg, and the team possesses two double-digit scorers. Douglas Davis is tops with 12.8 ppg on 42.7 percent shooting from three-point range, and Dan Mavraides checks in with 12.0 ppg. In the three-point loss to Brown on Saturday, Princeton had more than twice as many turnovers as assists and was outscored 18-4 from the foul line. The squad also permitted the Bears to shoot 57.6 percent from the floor. Marcus Schroeder tallied 17 points in the setback to pace the Tigers.
Ryan Wittman continues his quest for Ivy League Player of the Year honors, as the Cornell standout is generating 17.6 ppg on the strength of his 41.6 percent shooting from three-point range. Jeff Foote is often overshadowed by Wittman's scoring prowess, but the big man is posting 12.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg and 2.0 bpg for the Big Red, impressive numbers for sure. Louis Dale has dished out 115 assists for Cornell, and he rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 11.5 ppg. The Big Red are generating 75.7 ppg while allowing 64.0 ppg to opponents. Wittman scored 23 points on the strength of 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range against Dartmouth last Saturday, while both Dale and Errick Peck added 14 points. Foote scored 10 points for Cornell, which connected on 57.1 percent of its field goal attempts.
The Big Red will make it very clear that they are the class of the Ivy League by trouncing Princeton tonight. Wittman will light it up as usual.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cornell 77, Princeton 60
Another round of Ivy League play for the three locals who call the Ancient Eight home, and there should be no doubt as to which game is the biggest. Princeton visits Cornell (7 PM) sitting one game out in the loss column, and with one of those losses coming to Cornell a couple weeks ago a loss here puts Sydney Johnson's team in dire straits in regards to that automatic bid. Coming off of a stunning loss at Penn two weeks ago the two-time defending Ivy champs bounced back in a way you expect champions to do, gutting out a 48-45 win at Jadwin Gym. Ryan Wittman led the Big Red with 13 points but don't expect the game to be played at the same pace tonight.
That means Princeton will need more from someone other than Douglas Davis, who scored twenty in that defeat. The next in line: Dan Mavraides with eight. The Big Red have a number of scoring options to make up for one guy having an off night; it could be Jeff Foote inside, Louis Dale on the perimeter or even a long-range sharpshooter like Chris Wroblewski. Mavraides and Ian Hummer will be the most likely guys to step up offensively if the Tigers are to have any chance of knocking off Cornell. But just like the first meeting they've got to control tempo; there is really no other way around that. Princeton shot just 33.3% from two in the first meeting and if the tempo is at more of a Cornell-preferred pace a similar night means the game gets out of hand.
7p Penn at Columbia
The Lions won the first meeting thanks to their three-point shooting, making nine of sixteen from distance on their way to the 66-62 result. Nico Scott was the primary culprit, hitting seven of nine three-pointers on his way to a 29 point night. The Quakers must do a better job defensively against Scott while also keeping tabs on Norwua Agho. Four Quakers reached double figures on the night following their upset of Cornell but they'll need better shooting from Zack Rosen (2-8 FG) this time around. Perimeter shooting decided the first meeting and will likely do the same tonight.
7p Yale at Dartmouth
The Bulldogs look to end a two-game skid at Dartmouth, and despite the Big Green sitting in last place this won't be an easy contest. Yale won the first meeting 69-56 behind 20 points from Michael Sands and outscored Dartmouth 40-19 in the second half to win going away. Neither team shot particularly well from the perimeter but it was Yale's ability to get to the basket that decided the game in their favor. Sands and Alex Zampier will have to lead the way for the Bulldogs on the road tonight, where the home team could receive an extra boost due to the snowstorm.
Cornell is looking to complete the three-peat of three consecutive Ivy League titles.
Already two championship banners hang at Newman Arena, and Cornell might be just a couple wins away from a third.
If the Big Red beat Princeton tomorrow and Penn Saturday, they'll clinch a share of the title but NOT the NCAA bid.
They would need the Tigers to lose again and Harvard to also lose once this weekend to win the title outright again.
Throw in the fact it's also senior weekend for Cornell and there's even more at stake.
The Princeton men’s basketball team is having one of their best seasons in recent memory. The Tigers have compiled a 16-7 record while going 7-2 in Ivy League play. With 5 games left in the season, Princeton has a chance to win
20 games for the first time since the 2003-2004 season, which happens to be the last time the Tigers won the Ivy League title and went to the NCAA tournament. Currently the Tigers sit in 2nd place in the Ivy League, 1 ½ games behind league leader Cornell, who are 9-1 in the Ivy League and 23-4 overall.
One would think a team that’s already gone toe-to-toe with No. 1 Kansas and compiled a 14-3 non-conference record would have already cleared its biggest hurdle.
After its second conference loss last weekend, Princeton (16-7 overall, 7-2 Ivy League) sits second in the Ivy League behind Cornell (23-4, 9-1). The Tigers will travel to play the Big Red today and will face Columbia (9-15, 3-7) on Saturday. Victories in both games are necessary to keep the team’s championship dreams alive.
This weekend Cornell’s all-time leading scorer, Ryan Wittman, and all-time assists leader, Louis Dale, will take to the hardwood at Newman Arena for the final time. Nevertheless, this is not the time for sentimental farewell sendoffs. This year’s senior class has attained unparalleled success in program history, but the Red still has some unfinished business left to take care of in its quest to three-peat as Ivy League champions.
Cornell [23-4 (9-1), RPI: 49, SOS: 199] Cornell took a big step toward winning the Ivy League regular-season championship -- and claiming the corresponding NCAA tournament automatic bid -- by beating Harvard 79-70 on the road last week. After defeating Dartmouth 88-70 on the road on Saturday, the Big Red maintained a one-game lead over Princeton in the Ivy League standings, and the teams will play at Cornell on Friday. The Big Red has a couple of so-so victories over teams from BCS conferences, winning 71-67 at Alabama and 71-66 at St. John's. It also lost at Syracuse by 15 points and at Kansas by five. Cornell is 0-2 against RPI top-50 foes and 3-3 against the top 100. Its 11-3 record in true road games will help its chance of earning an at-large bid if it doesn't win the Ivy League crown.
This weekend will be the last home weekend for the Big Red seniors. They hope, however, that there is still a lot more excitement to come. Cornell can clinch an outright birth to the NCAA tournament this weekend by sweeping Princeton and Penn, getting a Columbia win over Princeton on Saturday, and a Harvard loss in one of their two home games to Brown or Yale.
Cornell will graduate eight seniors on Saturday versus Penn, but the real excitement will come on Friday versus Princeton. Princeton is currently one game behind Cornell in the loss column, and a Princeton win would put them within one half of a game of first place. However, Princeton has one more additional game than Cornell and can make up that half game difference with a win there.
Ultimately, a Cornell win all but gives the Big Red another Ivy League Championship.
With Cornell seniors Jeff Foote and Ryan Wittman both being invited to an NBA draft camp in Portsmouth, Virginia, there should be a buzz around Newman Arena, knowing that this might their last game they see their stars before they're on the biggest stage, the NBA. In addition, Jeremy Lin of Harvard was also invited.
A factor in this weekends Ivy League games might be something totally out of any team's control. The weather for the northeast this weekend is expecting snow, snow, and more snow. More than a foot will drop on Cornell's home, Ithaca, New York, with just a little less expected for Columbia's home in New York City. Travel for Penn and Princeton might be hard.
Princeton will have a matchup with a struggling Columbia team on the Lions' senior night on Saturday, before returning home for their last three games against Dartmouth, Harvard, and Penn. If they win out, they will clinch at least a play-in game with possibly Cornell, or a very unlikely three-way tie with Harvard included. They also have a chance to clinch a birth to the tournament.
Cornell has an easier path if they win their next three games.
Harvard will basically need to win out, and hope for at least two Cornell losses and one Princeton loss.
As nice as it would be for the king to be dethroned, I predict a final of 86-66 in favor of Cornell.
For the Big Red, it all starts in the frontcourt. 6-6 senior Ryan Wittman is one of the best three-point shooters in the country, hitting better than 41 percent from behind the arc in each of his four season in college. He can fill it up in a hurry, and has hit at least three three-pointers in 16 games this season. Wittman also doesn’t fall off when going up against good teams – he is averaging 20.0 points against Alabama, Seton Hall, Syracuse, St. John’s and Kansas. He is very efficient from the field and can also score inside the arc. to him is a luxury at the mid-major level – a 7-foot center. Senior Jeff Foote is a go-to big man who is second on the team in scoring, while pacing the squad in rebounding and blocked shots. Foote has racked up eight double-doubles this season, although he hasn’t scored more than 11 points since February 6 and has been somewhat inconsistent in Ivy League play. With that said, Foote is a very effective player from the field who dominates the defensive glass. He is also not afraid of contact down low. Jon Jaques has started 17 games at the other forward position, providing excellent three-point shooting (47 percent) and solid scoring. Off the bench, Cornell has plenty of options. Errick Peck is instant offense in limited minutes, while Alex Tyler has been solid when given the opportunity. Former Kentucky transfer Mark Coury also sees minutes, and Adam Wire is decent on the glass.
Cornell is going to be a team no one wants to see opposite them when the NCAA Tournament brackets are released on Selection Sunday. The Big Red have a host of three-point shooters that can get hot from deep and make life miserable for an opponent. Furthermore, they have something that not many mid-majors – or anyone in general – has: a very good seven-footer. With Foote down low and Wittman filling it up from the outside, Cornell has good inside-outside balance. A team that isn’t comfortable in the half-court and doesn’t have dominant inside players will be the perfect match-up for Cornell. Fortunately, several teams likely to be seeded four through six fit that mold. Look out for the Big Red in a few weeks.
Princeton is 7-2 in the Ivy League (16-7 overall), while Cornell is 9-1 (23-4 overall) and Harvard is 7-3 in the league (18-6 overall). The math still exists for all three to reach 20 wins, which would be a first in Ivy history. The other math is also simple as Princeton is at Cornell Friday night. A Tiger win would leave the teams tied in the loss column; a Cornell win puts the Big Red two games clear of the field.
Like a bunch of teenage girls at a slumber party, we began to play Truth or Dare on Jeff Foote’s iPhone. [...] Truths were revealing, as always, but the Dares proved to be the most entertaining.
Geoff Reeves was picked on early and often: he was dared to simultaneously wear an article of clothing from each participating player until his next turn, then one turn later was required to give himself a toothpaste mustache. I was dared to let a blindfolded Ryan Wittman draw a highlighter mustache on my face. He didn’t do a terrible job either. (The color was green, if you were curious.) The game got old pretty fast, however, and the bus ride sailed along smoothly until we literally hit a bump in the road.