Monday, February 14, 2011

News and Notes: Monday Edition

Cornell returns to action on Friday at Newman Arena hosting the Harvard Crimson. Below, some news and note for Monday.

  • Cornell may be tied in the Ivy cellar, but the spectators are still showing up in respectable, albeit not ideal, numbers. Attendance for Cornell's Saturday night game against Princeton in Newman Arena was 4,087. Attendance for Cornell's Friday night game against Penn at Newman Arena was 2,137. Meanwhile, despite arguably the program's best season ever, Harvard pulled in just 1,377 on Saturday night against Brown, which was less than Friday night's game against rival, Yale, which drew just 1,763.
  • Below, a weekend wrap-up from Sam Aleinikoff of SlopeTV:

Courtney, Red Continue Progression

No more than half an hour had passed since his would-be buzzer beater clanged of iron and sent Princeton into a frenzy, but Drew Ferry was back courtside, practice gear on, ball in hand, ready to start shooting once again.

Twenty-seven minutes of game action in the two-point loss to Princeton wasn’t enough to find his stroke as the junior guard, arguably the Red’s top shooter, failed to score for the first time this season.

As he stood by the bleachers, waiting for the court to clear, his coach spotted him and walked over. The two exchanged words, and after a knowing smile from Courtney, a hug.

When he was hired last April, Courtney’s reputation was that of a “player’s coach.” And while it may not have shown for the first two and a half months of the season, it finally seems to be coming across.

Courtney points at the narrow loss to Yale last Friday as an important step for the team. “I thought it was something to build on,” he said on Saturday thinking back to the previous weekend.

Perhaps the more telling moment came a week earlier though, after a 21-point drubbing in Cambridge.

With just four wins on the year and an 0-4 start to league play, Cornell was all but eliminated from the championship race after one full Ivy weekend. The team that was picked to finish third in the Ancient Eight before the season began was alone in dead last. Something clicked that night on the court though. Somehow, the blowout loss wasn’t quite as devastating as it seemed it should have been.

“I’m real proud of my guys,” Courtney said at the time referring to the way the Red fought against Harvard’s ultra-talented roster.

The admiration at this point is clearly mutual. After Friday night’s overtime thriller, senior guard Max Groebe credited Courtney with instilling in the group a sense of confidence heading into the extra period.

At this point Courtney seems to have reason for his confidence.

Between Mark Coury and Eitan Chemerinski, he’s gotten double-digit scoring outputs from a post player in three of the last four games. Johnny Gray has strung together his top four performances since the season opener at Albany, including a career-high 13 points at Brown and Max Groebe was en route to a personal best with 20.

Most notably though, Courtney’s finally established a rotation. The same 12 guys have played in the last four games, each settling into a unique but consistent role. Until last weekend, Courtney had not used the same group of players in back-to-back games all season.

Beginning at Yale though, he sent out Josh Figini, Errick Peck, Jake Matthews, Miles Asafo-Adjei and Chris Wroblewski as the starting five. Over the last four games that group has played together for the first three to five minutes of each half before Figini, Matthews and Asafo-Adjei are subbed out.

“They give us energy to start the game,” Courtney said of his new starters. “And that’s what we need, energy.”

Coury and Chemerinski split the rest of the time at center while Adam Wire and Peck share minutes at the four. Manny Sahota steps in at forward as foul trouble dictates.

Along with the bigs, Courtney inserts three guards. Defensively, Wroblewski and Gray spend time guarding the three. Offensively, they take turns running the point. Ferry and Groebe play the other two guard spots with Gray also getting in the mix on the wings.

As a tri-captain, Wroblewski sees a different team now than he saw earlier in the year.

“We’re playing much better as a unit, as a team, getting much more comfortable with each other on the offensive end,” he said. “Towards the beginning of the year, we weren’t on the same page and now were sort of clicking.”

After eeking out a win over the Red on Saturday night, Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson sees the progression as well.

“The last three or four games they’ve been playing obviously better ball,” Johnson said of Cornell. “They’re starting to put it all together. And it’s interesting because they graduated three All-Ivy kids so I think it takes some time to replace that and it seems to me that the time is now.”

The biggest replacement made after last season may have been on the bench though, and that transition seems take the longest of all. The jump from assistant to head coach is no small task and the new game management responsibilities that came with it appeared most difficult for Courtney. Criticisms of his substitutions, offensive strategies, matchups, etc. may have been legitimate, but judgments of Courtney’s general coaching ability are already proving to be shortsighted.

Two wins in two Ivy weekends is no sign that Cornell is back, or even that Coach Courtney will be able to have the Red back in the league championship conversation any time soon. In fact, as early as next weekend Princeton could mathematically eliminate the Red from Ivy title contention this year. Still, this weekend was a definite clue that Courtney has his group on the right track.

“We got to continue to work one day at a time, one game at a time, one week at a time. What I told the kids all week is build on last weekend, and I think we did that,” Courtney said on Saturday. “We played a game against the best team in the league, where we didn’t make shots and we’re still right there with a chance to win it, so I’m definitely proud of our kids tonight.”

Courtney should be proud of himself as well. The transformation that he has made so far this year is huge. In game one against Albany he stood almost motionless on the sidelines for the first several minutes of action, looking more like an assistant than a head coach. After an embarrassing loss at Dartmouth, Courtney was the first guy on the bus. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, much less console a player.

This weekend though, Coach Courtney seemed to fill the role more effectively than ever. From his animated and passionate in-game demeanor to his near-paternal interaction with Ferry after the loss, Courtney is clearly finding his way as a head coach.

The Ivy League has clearly taken notice.

“They’re really coming together as a group,” Johnson said. “And we realize it’s going to be a challenge when we see them in two weeks.”

  • 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: 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 February 14 is No. 236 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 site ranks Cornell No. 199 in the nation, while the USA Today Sagarin rankings have Cornell at No. 220. 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 are always available by clicking on Cornell's schedule/results on the right column of this blog.
  1. at Albany W 65-61 (video recaps)
  2. at Seton Hall L 68-92
  3. vs. Delaware W 75-61 (video recap)
  4. vs. St. Bonaventure L 54-56
  5. at Lehigh L 57-60
  6. at Boston University L 61-66
  7. at Syracuse L 58-78
  8. at Minnesota L 66-71 (video recap)
  9. at Binghamton L 68-69
  10. vs. Bucknell L 64-75
  11. vs. New Hampshire (@ VCU) L 66-68
  12. vs. Wofford (@VCU) W 86-80
  13. vs. Buffalo L 66-78
  14. vs. Stony Brook W 60-52
  15. at Columbia L 75-79
  16. Columbia L 66-70
  17. at Dartmouth L 57-64
  18. at Harvard L 57-78 (video recap)
  19. at Yale L 70-71
  20. at Brown W 91-79 (video recap)
  21. vs. Penn W 82-71
  22. vs. Princeton L 55-57 (video recap)

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 [] 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 [ 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 47 Penn 78 Box Score - Recap
*Harvard 61 Princeton 65[ESPNU] [SIRIUS] Box Score - Recap
*Columbia 79 Brown 87 Box Score - Recap
*Cornell 70 Yale 71 Box Score - Recap

Saturday, February 5
*Dartmouth 53 Princeton 68 Box Score - Recap
*Cornell 91 Brown 79 [SIRIUS] Box Score - Recap
*Columbia 67 Yale 72 Box Score - Recap
*Harvard 83 Penn 82 (2OT) Box Score - Recap

Tuesday, February 8
*Penn 59 Princeton 62 OT [Verizon FiOS 1] Box Score - Recap

Friday, February 11
*Brown 75 Dartmouth 66 Box Score - Recap
*Princeton 76 Columbia 46 [SIRIUS] Box Score - Recap
*Penn 71 Cornell 82 OT Box Score - Recap
*Yale 75 Harvard 78 Box Score - Recap

Saturday, February 12
*Brown 78 Harvard 85 Box Score - Recap
*Penn 62 Columbia 75 Box Score - Recap
*Princeton 57 Cornell 55 Box Score - Recap
*Yale 69 Dartmouth 60 [SIRIUS] Box Score - Recap


Anonymous said...

I was extremely moved by the start of Alenikoff's article. This is what Cornellians need to read to feel good about their team and coach. Thanks so much for it.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, that's not really a fair point to make about Harvard as their stadium only holds about 2,000 so it was nearly completely full.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

That is a terrible argument.

So you are saying that because the stadium seats just 2,200 and is a glorified high school gym, it is a good showing? At a 2,200 seating capacity, Lavietes should be sold out every night, with fans getting turned away. A 1,700 showing is PATHETIC for a team that could win the league for the first time in its history. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I was surprised by Harvard's attendance, they were selling out regularly last year what happenend?

just saying said...

Harvard has a combined 28% Asian and international student undergraduate population. A former member of the Harvard team belonging to one of those demographics no longer plays for the team.

Harvard not selling out any more...maybe a few tickets were lost?

Boston has an above average (avg = 5%) Asian population at 8%. Could be less locals as well.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

I don't think losing Lin has anything to do with it, nor does the ethnic breakdown of the school.

Anonymous said...

I do. The team is as good or better than last year. Fully in contention to win the league.

Their former star player, who happens to be an admitted big draw to Asian-Americans, has left the team. I think that is 100% the reason for the loss of a few hundred tickets each game.

So, I'm offering that up as a potential explanation. So far, yours is that the Harvard students are pathetic. I suppose that is an explanation.

Anonymous said...

How does the attendance at Harvard this year compare to last year? We'll probably have to wait until the Ivy season is complete to compare on an apples to apples basis with seven home conference games.

While I have no disagreement with the general statement that Harvard students are pathetic, I find it difficult to believe that they are more pathetic this year than last. Any decrease in attendance this year versus 2010 would tend to weaken the "pathetic" explanation.

Anonymous said...

Last year Harvard's home ivy game's average attendance:
1944 (w/ 3 sellouts, and 1 very close to a sellout; low was 1589)

This year Harvard's home ivy game average attendance through 5 games:
1681 (w/ 1 sellout against Cornell; low was 1377)

-260 on the season

And, selling out is 2195 as an fyi.

Anonymous said...

Aleinikoff is a fine writer. I hope he sticks with it.

Anonymous said...

Sam is great; however, he needs to stop ending sentences with over and across.

Just like I just did....


Anonymous said...

OMG another discussion about attendance? WTF is wrong with you people? Cornell b-ball awoke from the dead this week! Comments? FCS!