- Hoopville.net was not impressed with Harvard's student section. Hoopville noted via Twitter, "Ah yes. I’ve just been reminded that Harvard’s so-called 'fans' don’t actually cheer their team on as they’re just ridiculing Cornell."
- The Cornell Daily Sun writes, "Newman Arena was filled to capacity with thousands of screaming fans, President Skorton and his wife and ten athletes ready to prove themselves. To the surprise of many, the boisterous crowd was not there for a basketball game, but instead to watch the Cornell wrestling squad. Yesterday afternoon over 4,000 came out to support No. 2 Cornell wrestling as it faced No. 15 Iowa State."
- The Columbia Spectator implies that the Lions' defeat to Harvard on Friday was a "flop" after Columbia "was coming off two thrilling victories against Cornell, last year’s league champion."
- A Harvard sophomore blogs for the College Hoops Journal and writes about his experience watching the Columbia and Cornell games at Harvard this weekend. The author notes of the rise of Harvard's basketball program, but makes no reference to the NCAA recruiting infractions assessed against Harvard just this past July, which we discussed in one of our recent posts. On a related point which has not been discussed to much extent here, neither Harvard nor the Ivy League ever disclosed the specific nature of the penalty imposed upon Harvard. To this day, the penalty is not a matter of public knowledge.
- Sam Aleinikoff of Slope TV recapped Cornell's weekend as follows:
A pair of losses in Hanover and Cambridge – it’s been a while since a Cornell coach has had to give a pep talk after that type of Ivy League weekend. Ten years to be exact.
The last time Cornell was swept by Dartmouth and Harvard came during former head coach Steve Donahue’s first season (2000-2001). The last time the Red was swept by their travel partner, Columbia, was during Donahue’s second year. The last time both happened in the same season was B.D. (Before Donahue).
In year 1 A.D., Cornell (4-14, 0-4 Ivy) seems to be finding it’s way into the school’s record books for all the wrong reasons. Coming off a weekend with a pair of league losses by a combined 28 points, it should be tough to be optimistic. Somehow though, the future does not seem so bleak for the Red on the other end of one of the worst league weekends for Cornell Basketball in recent memory.
Sure, there are still gaping holes in this year’s squad. A consistent post presence has yet to be established. Leading scorer Chris Wroblewski is banged up, as is most of the roster. In the second half at Harvard, freshman guard Jake Matthews even took an elbow to the face from a referee. At times the Red seems lost on offense, lacking a go-to scorer who can create for himself. Defensively, Cornell has trouble fighting through screens and hedging effectively without giving up open jumpers or the smooth pick-and-roll.
Any 14-loss team has deficiencies. But this 14-loss team seems to have hope too.
“Effort” and “focus,” two areas in which Courtney thought his squad struggled during the first game of the weekend were not problems at Harvard. The Red played as hard as they have all year. Errick Peck, who hadn’t been able to keep food down for 24 hours leading up to the game and was winded after one trip down the court due to a stomach bug, managed to grit out 15 points and three well-earned offensive boards. Any questions of his heart and maturity were answered on Saturday.
On the glass, the Red won the rebound battle for just the second time this year despite going up against one of the Ivy’s best frontcourts.
Matthews played the best ball of his young career, posting a personal best 6 points and 3 rebounds while playing 24 minutes in his first collegiate start. The freshman played tough defense on the 6-foot-5, 205 pound Christian Webster for long stretches despite giving up three inches and 65 pounds to the Harvard wing.
Miles Asafo-Adjei often struggles to find his shot, but against the Crimson his aggressive play earned him 7 points. While he was just 3-for-9 from the field he pulled down two of his own misses on the offensive glass.
Eitan Chemerinski played just five minutes, but logged a career-high five points in the limited action and provided some timely interior scoring for the Red.
More important than individual contributions though was an edge and intensity that the Red found in Cambridge. Strings of close losses seemed to deflate Courtney’s group and perhaps that showed on Friday night at Dartmouth. But on Saturday, we saw a different squad.
There were fewer boneheaded mistakes, fewer missed defensive assignments and noticeably fewer timeouts where Courtney walked into the huddle with his hands in the air and shoulders shrugged as if to say, “What else can I do?”
The talent for Harvard was undeniable. Keith Wright played with the back-to-the-basket strength of a five, the explosiveness of a four and the handles of a three. Kyle Casey was bouncy as usual and provided matchup problems for the Red all night. On the perimeter Brandyn Curry, Laurant Rivard and Christian Webster shot the ball well. In the second half Curry was able to penetrate at will to set up his teammates. Junior captain Oliver McNally played distributor for the night too, matching Curry with seven assists.
The consensus on the Cornell bench was that despite losing an NBA guard in Jeremy Lin, the Crimson are improved this year. And playing what looked like a league-championship caliber team, the Red was dealt its most lopsided loss since falling to Seton Hall by 24 at the Prudential Center in mid-November.
Longtime Cornell Basketball broadcaster Barry Leonard noted a strange feeling after the game though. “I’ve never felt optimistic after a loss before,” he said, with a more hopeful tone this time around.
The feeling seemed to be a common one in the program. Courtney made a point of mentioning the pride he had in the way his team played in Cambridge, just one night after ripping them for a lack of effort at Dartmouth in a seven-point defeat.
Courtney wasn’t the only coach addressing the Big Red after the road sweep though. Donahue was in the stands following a nearby practice with his Boston College Eagles and spoke with his old squad after the game upon Courtney’s request.
Wroblewski described it as a “stick together, play for your teammates” speech that the Red had become accustomed to in recent years under Donahue.
According to Courtney, Donahue “said it perfect.”
After all, Donahue was speaking from experience. Ten years ago, as a rookie head coach, he stood in Lavietes Pavillion facing a similarly downtrodden Cornell squad. In the nine years following that night though, he steered the Red clear of any similar fates.
Young coaches with young systems and young players will struggle. The man largely credited with resurrecting Cornell Basketball did for years. But hindsight tells us that 10 years ago, despite a 7-20 finish with just three league wins2, there was hope for the Red. And leaving the gym on Saturday night, somehow, there seemed to be hope as well.
- Rush The Court checks in on the Ivy League:
A Look Back
Let the Games Begin: For the teams in the power conferences, February is the time when jockeying for position begins. Regular season conference games are used for conference tournament and NCAA seeding purposes. But for the Ivy League, whose season got into high gear this past weekend, these games are precious, for this is a one-bid league with no conference tournament. Only the regular season champ will begin the Road to the Final Four in March.
Poll Position: Last year, Cornell, after some impressive non-conference performances, made an appearance in the Top 25. While an early season conference loss knocked them out, they continued to receive votes each week. And given their NCAA Tournament success, the votes proved to be warranted. Trying to follow in the footsteps of the Big Red, Harvard (15-3, 4-0) received a vote last week in the AP Top 25. What have they done to impress? An eight-game winning streak and opening up 4-0 in conference helps. But it is what they have accomplished outside the Ivy which has swayed the scribes. Their three losses have come at the hands of George Mason (17-5, 9-2, currently second in the CAA) in the opening game without Kyle Casey; Michigan, a young, improving Big Ten team and recent conqueror of MSU; and #5 UConn (17-3, 5-3 in the Big East). And all of those losses came on the road. The Crimson also own wins over Colorado, who themselves have beaten both Missouri and Kansas State in the Big 12; and BC (14-7, 4-3; 4th in the ACC). Can Harvard duplicate Cornell’s tournament run? Perhaps. But first they must find away to get past Princeton and win their first ever Ivy League crown.
Is the Bloom Off the Rose-n?: In 2010, RTC named Zack Rosen of Penn as the Ivy League Player of the Year. It was a somewhat controversial choice, as most gave the award to Jeremy Lin of Harvard. Either way, most observers thought Rosen would run away with the title this season. And he still may. After all, he is second in the league in scoring (15.3 points per game) and is shooting 45% from the field and close to 50% from beyond the arc, as Penn closes in on Harvard and Princeton. However, a closer look at the box score is in order. Penn has played five non-conference foes of note: Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kentucky, Drexel and Temple. Only against ‘Nova did Rosen perform up to par, scoring 20 points on 7-14 shooting. Against the other four combined, he shot 9-25 (36%), including 6-14 from deep (42%) for a total of 37 points (9.1 per game). A disturbing trend? Maybe, but he was facing superior athletes than those he will see in conference games. But when Penn was going to the NCAA Tournament on a regular basis, guys like Onyekwe and Jabber would save their best performances for the biggest games and toughest competition. While it is definitely not yet time to pack the tack on Zack, the jury is still out.
Player of The Week: A difficult choice this time as there are some very worthy candidates, with the nicknames to match. There is Errick (Bushel and A) Peck who seems to be blossoming amidst the Cornell disaster; Jack (Scrambled) Eggleston who has become a stat sheet stuffer for the Quakers; Greg (“The Eater”) Mangano of Yale who leads the league in rebounding and is averaging a double/double. But this week, the rosters were combed to honor an unsung hero; a player who has emerged as a more than a capable running mate for Noruwa Agho at Columbia and is responsible for the Lions rise to first division status. And that is none other than Brian Barbour, who wins the award by a hair. In Columbia’s first four conference games (3-1) the 6’1 sophomore from California has averaged 19 points per game on 45% shooting. Over that span, he has also converted an astounding 27 of 29 free throw attempts. So rise from your chair, Mr. Barbour, and do an Argentine Tango while accepting the trophy.
1. Harvard (15-3, 4-0)–An eight game winning streak; a six-man rotation that is as solid as they come; a mention in the AP Top 25; undefeated so far in conference. It is easy to see why they are # 1. This coming weekend will be a test and Friday at Princeton could be a game for the ages, and for the conference championship.
2. Princeton (14-4, 2-0)—It’s difficult to assess the Tigers as they have only played four games in a month and none of them versus tough competition. Their top six is equal to that of the Crimson and perhaps have the experience edge. Jadwin Gym should be rocking on Friday.
3. Columbia (12-6, 3-1)–Winners of nine of their last 11; an unlucky one-point loss to Elon and a loss at league elite Harvard are the only speed bumps for the Lions. Kyle Smith has to be the front-runner for Coach of the Year and Barbour and Agho clearly the top backcourt in a league full of quality guards.
4. Penn (8-8, 2-0)– The third of the league’s undefeated, the Quakers did what they had to do beating the bottom feeders at home, albeit in overtime over Brown. Two more home games followed by a five-game road trip should go a long way in determining where Penn’s landing will be. The good news is that they get Harvard on the rebound following their titanic clash against in New Jersey.
5. Yale (9-9, 2-2)–Two wins versus travel partner Brown followed by competitive losses in their toughest road trip against Princeton and Penn. Greg Mangano has been a beast, a POY candidate, and with six home games in their next eight, the Bulldogs have a real chance for a top-four finish.
6. Brown (7-11, 0-4)–Two competitive losses versus travel partner Yale and an OT loss at Penn have contributed to their winless record. Sophomore forward Tucker Halperin is one of the bright spots in the league.
7. Dartmouth (5-13, 1-3)–Many thought the Big Green would go winless; the same people thought Cornell would be contenders. However, Friday’s game put an end to both parts of that speculation, as Dartmouth broke a five-game losing streak with a seven-point victory against the Big Red. Unfortunately, Paul Cormier may not get another conference win.
8. Cornell (4-14, 0-4)—I wonder how many that watched Ryan Wittman and company get to the Sweet 16 last year thought the descent would be so rapid. Peck, Ferry, and Wroblewski can play. But can Bill Courtney coach? He’ll have time, but his squad’s four victims? Wofford, Delaware, Stony Brook, and Albany. ‘Nuff said.
A Look Ahead
The loser of this Friday’s clash between league powerhouses Harvard and Princeton will have to wait a month (March 5) for a rematch. It is not unreasonable to assume a head-to head split and an early March playoff to determine league supremacy and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Princeton experience vs. Harvard athleticism. Tommy Amaker vs. Sydney Johnson. Hummer, Maddox, Davis, Mavraides vs. Wright, Casey, Curry, and Webster. Catch it if you can.
- Cornell RPI Watch: The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule. It does not consider the margin of victory, but only whether or not a team won and where the game was played (home/away/neutral court). The formula is 25% team winning percentage (WP), 50% opponents' average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage (OOWP). (See: CollegeRPI.com for a further explanation of the formula.) The RPI may be the most influential factor in NCAA Tournament seeding. Cornell's RPI rank as of January 31 is No. 254 out of 347 total Division I teams. While neither the Ken Pomeroy or Jeff Sagarin rankings are used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, the KenPom.com site ranks Cornell No. 219 in the nation, while the USA Today Sagarin rankings have Cornell at No. 243 Both sites are predominantly used by fans and the media.
- Game Recaps-Below are links to our game recaps from each of Cornell's games this season. Associated press recaps courtesy of Rivals.com/YahooSports.com are always available by clicking on Cornell's schedule/results on the right column of this blog.
- at Albany W 65-61 (video recaps)
- at Seton Hall L 68-92
- vs. Delaware W 75-61 (video recap)
- vs. St. Bonaventure L 54-56
- at Lehigh L 57-60
- at Boston University L 61-66
- at Syracuse L 58-78
- at Minnesota L 66-71 (video recap)
- at Binghamton L 68-69
- vs. Bucknell L 64-75
- vs. New Hampshire (@ VCU) L 66-68
- vs. Wofford (@VCU) W 86-80
- vs. Buffalo L 66-78
- vs. Stony Brook W 60-52
- at Columbia L 75-79
- Columbia L 66-70
- at Dartmouth L 57-64
- at Harvard L 57-78 (video recap)
- Here is a look at Ivy League results and upcoming games. A full Ivy composite schedule may viewed by clicking here.
Friday, November 12
Columbia 71 La Salle 82 Box Score - Recap
Rutgers 73 Princeton 78 OT Box Score - Recap
Cornell 65 Albany 61 Box Score - Recap
Brown 69 Fordham 65 Box Score - Recap
Saturday, November 13
Harvard 53 George Mason 66 Box Score - Recap
Davidson 64 Penn 69 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 52 Providence 87 Box Score - Recap
Yale 75 Quinnipiac 84 Box Score - Recap
Sunday, November 14
Cornell 68 Seton Hall 92 Noon [SNY/ESPN3/ESPN Full Court] Box Score - Recap
Princeton 60 Duke 97 [ESPNU] Box Score - Recap
Monday, November 15
Maryland-Eastern Shore 74 Columbia 108 Box Score - Recap
Yale 55 Providence 58 Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, November 16
Brown 67 Rhode Island 92 Box Score - Recap
New Hampshire 55 Dartmouth 53 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, November 17
Delaware 61 Cornell 75 Box Score - Recap
Holy Cross 49 Harvard 72 Box Score - Recap
Penn 54 Manhattan 59 Box Score - Recap
Columbia 66 St. John’s 79 Box Score - Recap
Thursday, November 18
Yale 75 Boston College 67 Box Score - Recap
Friday, November 19
St. Bonaventure 56 Cornell 54 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 71 Hartford 57 Box Score - Recap
Saturday, November 20
Harvard 75 Mercer 69 Box Score - Recap
Sacred Heart 67 Brown 81 Box Score - Recap
Columbia 76 Longwood 95 Box Score - Recap
Drexel 77 Penn 56 Box Score - Recap
Sunday, November 21
Dartmouth 59 Loyola (Md.) 73 Box Score - Recap
Monday, November 22
Cornell 57 Lehigh 60 Box Score - Recap
Princeton 64 James Madison 65 Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, November 23
Bucknell 55 Princeton 66 [at JMU] Box Score - Recap
Colgate 63 Columbia 76 Box Score - Recap
Quinnipiac 69 Dartmouth 52 Box Score - Recap
Lafayette 65 Penn 74 Box Score - Recap
Yale 47 Illinois 73 [ESPNU] Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, November 24
St. Francis (N.Y.) 63 Brown 67 Box Score - Recap
Harvard 69 Bryant 66 Box Score - Recap
Presbyterian 69 Princeton 67 [at JMU] Box Score - Recap
Saturday, November 27
Brown 66 New Hampshire 70 Box Score - Recap
Army 79 Yale 87 Box Score - Recap
Colgate 63 Dartmouth 80 Box Score - Recap
Cornell 61 Boston University 66 Box Score - Recap
Penn 58 Pittsburgh 82 [ESPN3.com] Box Score - Recap
Sunday, November 28
Colorado 66 Harvard 82 Box Score - Recap
Columbia 64 American 62 Box Score - Recap
Siena 77 Princeton 86 Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, November 30
Cornell 58 Syracuse 78 [ESPN3.com/Big East Sports Network] Box Score - Recap
Maryland-Baltimore County 59 Penn 71 Box Score - Recap
Princeton 82 Lafayette 64 [Lafayette Sports Network] Box Score - Recap
Hartford 76 Yale 81 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, December 1
Columbia 68 Bucknell 73 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 53 Vermont 80 Box Score - Recap
Fordham 57 Harvard 80 Box Score - Recap
Thursday, December 2
Brown 46 Hartford 58 [Connecticut Sports Network] Box Score - Recap
Saturday, December 4
Army 52 vs. Penn, 68 Box Score - Recap
Harvard 62 Michigan 65 [Big Ten Network] Box Score - Recap
Yale 78 Vermont 82 Box Score - Recap
Brown 62 Maine 54 Box Score - Recap
Stony Brook 72 Columbia 73 Box Score - Recap
Cornell 66 Minnesota 71 [Big Ten Network] Box Score - Recap
Sunday, December 5
Saint Joseph’s 65 Princeton 74 Box Score - Recap
Monday, December 6
Brown 64 Providence 91 Box Score - Recap
Albany 53 Yale 74 Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, December 7
WPI 54 Harvard 69 Box Score - Recap
Wagner 71 Columbia 77 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, December 8
Princeton 64 Monmouth 61 Box Score - Recap
Yale 75 Bryant 53 Box Score - Recap
Villanova 65 Penn 53 [The Comcast Network] Box Score - Recap
Saturday, December 11
Boston University 71 Harvard 87 Box Score - Recap
Bryant 72 Columbia 76 Box Score - Recap
Army 68 Dartmouth 71 Box Score - Recap
Sunday, December 12
Princeton 82 Tulsa 78 (2 OT) Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, December 14
Dartmouth 61 St. Francis (N.Y.) 69 Box Score - Recap
Friday, December 17
Princeton 69 Wagner 57 Box Score - Recap
Saturday, December 18
Cornell 68 Binghamton 69 Box Score - Recap
Sunday, December 19
Dartmouth 42 Iowa State 71 Box Score - Recap
Sacred Heart 71 Yale 62 Box Score - Recap
Monday, December 20
Bucknell 75 Cornell 64 Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, December 21
Army 88 Brown 86 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 67 Drake 59 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, December 22
Princeton 75 Towson 65 Box Score - Recap
Harvard 52 Connecticut 81 [SNY] Box Score - Recap
Penn 78 Delaware 68 Box Score - Recap
Tuesday, December 28
Yale 44 Stanford 60 [Comcast SportsNet Bay Area] Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, December 29
New Hampshire 68 Cornell 66 [at VCU] Box Score - Recap
Monmouth 69 Harvard 74 Box Score - Recap
Brown 51 Central Connecticut State 67 Box Score - Recap
Penn 57 Marist 66 Box Score - Recap
Princeton 65 Northeastern 63 [at UCF] Box Score - Recap
Thursday, December 30
Cornell 86 Wofford 80 [at VCU] Box Score - Recap
Princeton vs. Furman/Central Florida, 5/7:30 pm [at UCF]
Columbia 74 Maine 71 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 57 Bucknell 74 Box Score - Recap
Friday, December 31
Bryant 71 Brown 84 Box Score - Recap
Lehigh 62 Yale 57 Box Score - Recap
MIT 58 Harvard 84 Box Score - Recap
Sunday, January 2
Elon 70 Columbia 69 Box Score - Recap
Monday, January 3
Buffalo 78 Cornell 66 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 47 Army 67 Box Score - Recap
Penn 62 Kentucky 86 [ESPNU] Box Score - Recap
Brown 67 American 77 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, January 5
Columbia 76 Lafayette 73 Box Score - Recap
Harvard 78 Boston College 69 Box Score - Recap
Marist 57 Princeton 68 Box Score - Recap
Yale 77 Holy Cross 76 OT Box Score - Recap
Saturday, January 8
Stony Brook 52 Cornell 60 Box Score - Recap
Baruch 57 Yale 85 Box Score - Recap
*Harvard 68 Dartmouth 53 Box Score - Recap
Lyndon State 55 Brown 88 Box Score - Recap
Union (N.Y.) 59 Columbia 64 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, January 12
Penn 83 La Salle 89 OT [The Comcast Network] Box Score - Recap
Saturday, January 15
*Yale 69 Brown 64 Box Score - Recap
Harvard 67 George Washington 62 Box Score - Recap
*Cornell 75 Columbia 79 Box Score - Recap
Monday, January 17
Quinnipiac 78 Brown 87 Box Score - Recap
Dartmouth 64 Colgate 67 Box Score - Recap
Wednesday, January 19
Penn 56 Temple 73 Box Score - Recap
Saturday, January 22
*Brown 51 Yale 59 Box Score - Recap
*Dartmouth 50 Harvard 59 Box Score - Recap
*Columbia 70 Cornell 66 [Time Warner] Box Score - Recap
Saint Joseph’s 61 Penn 73 [The Comcast Network] Box Score - Recap
Sunday, January 23
College of New Jersey 40 Princeton 73 Box Score - Recap
Friday, January 28
*Brown 60 Princeton 78 [Verizon FiOS 1] Box Score - Recap
*Cornell 57 Dartmouth 64 Box Score - Recap
*Columbia 66 Harvard 77 Box Score - Recap
*Yale 58 Penn 66 [The Comcast Network] [SIRIUS] Box Score - Recap
Saturday, January 29
*Cornell 57 Harvard 78 Box Score - Recap
*Yale 63 Princeton 67 Box Score - Recap
*Brown 78 Penn 80 OT Box Score - Recap
*Columbia 66 Dartmouth 45 [SIRIUS] Box Score - Recap
Friday, February 4
*Dartmouth at Penn, 7 pm
*Harvard at Princeton, 7 pm [ESPNU] [SIRIUS]
*Columbia at Brown, 7 pm
*Cornell at Yale, 7 pm
Saturday, February 5
*Dartmouth at Princeton, 6 pm
*Cornell at Brown, 6 pm [SIRIUS]
*Columbia at Yale, 6 pm
*Harvard at Penn, 7 pm